Nick Van Sickels (right) with his husband, Andrew Bond, and their daughter, Jules. The couple was legally married in Washington, D.C., but because same-sex marriage is banned in Louisiana, Bond has no parental rights.
The legal battle over gay marriage is moving to the Deep South. Buoyed by federal court victories in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia, gay-rights activists are taking on traditional marriage laws in the very states where those laws enjoy overwhelming public support.
Take Alabama, where Paul Hard is suing the state for violating his constitutional rights to equal protection and due process following the death of his partner, David Fancher, whom he legally married in Massachusetts. Alabama has a constitutional amendment that forbids same-sex marriage.
A federal judge in Virginia struck down that state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage this week. It's just the latest in a string of similar rulings in conservative states, and it indicates that the strategy for winning marriage equality in federal courts is moving faster than many had expected.
In her ruling, U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen said Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional because "core civil rights are at stake." She compared the case to the landmark 1967 Supreme Court ruling recognizing interracial marriage.
Originally published on Sat February 8, 2014 1:04 pm
Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.
On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Carrie Johnson talks about the national implications of the Virginia attorney general's decision.
Virginia's new attorney general has decided to switch sides in an important case that is challenging the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage.
In an interview with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep, Democrat Mark Herring said his office will no longer defend the state's ban on same-sex marriages.
"As attorney general, I cannot and will not defend laws that violate Virginians' rights," Herring said. "The commonwealth will be siding with the plaintiffs in this case and with every other Virginia couple whose right to marry is being denied."
With new momentum for same-sex marriage from the Supreme Court, gays and lesbians are hoping for progress in another sphere: the workplace. In more than half the country, it's still legal to fire people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
On Wednesday, Senate lawmakers will once again debate a bill that would change that.
Gay rights activists celebrated two big victories this week before the U.S. Supreme Court, as justices overturned the Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the way for same-sex marriages in California.
Now gay marriage opponents and supporters are turning their attention to individual states, like New Jersey, where polls show most residents support same-sex marriage. So far, one person, Gov. Chris Christie, has stood in the way.