Prior to Tuesday, six states (New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Iowa) and the District of Columbia had full marriage equality.
As a result of Tuesday’s historic election, three additional states will now have marriage equality as well. Those states are Maine, Maryland, and Washington. (Technically, at the time of this post, Washington’s results are still coming in, but its referendum on the matter looks almost certain to pass.)
Quick post here: The Minnesotans United for All Families Campaign put out a great video today featuring former Governor Ventura and his wife, Terry, speaking about the amendment on the ballot this November that seeks to prohibit gay and lesbian partners from marrying. Ventura points out that one of the issues at stake — in addition to equality — is whether government should have the power to restrict individual liberty in this manner.
The rights, privileges, and responsibilities afforded to married individuals in the United States are vast and varied. As a matter of clear public policy, federal, state, and local governments grant married individuals everything from tax breaks to survivorship rights. Gay and lesbian couples across the country have sought to be included in these benefits and obligations. They have seen success in recent years in various state courts and legislatures, including being granted inclusion in marriage in a few, civil unions in some, and domestic partnerships in others. Despite such gains for these couples, 31 states have recently amended their constitutions to specifically deny such recognition. In these states, gay and lesbians are left with no other option than to attempt to contract around their inability to obtain governmental recognition of their unions; Minnesota is currently considering whether to pass a similar amendment.
As published in the Harvard Law & Policy Review, Kevin M. Clermont & Stewart J. Schwab observed that from 1979-2006, plaintiffs bringing employment law matters (discrimination, wrongful termination, etc) in federal court won only 15% of the time. When paired with the observation that plaintiffs in non job-related matters won 51% of the time, that 15% figure is stunning. Questions as to why there is such an imbalance in employment law compared to other areas of law have been the focus of many journalists, lawyers and academics. But for attorneys who represent plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases, there is one key factor worth focusing on: properly preparing a case to survive motions for dismissal, particularly summary judgement motions.
Andrew Cohen, contributing editor at The Atlantic, discusses in Supreme Court Review: The Tyranny of the Majority how four of this week’s controversial decisions from the nation’s highest Court were decided by one vote. Cohen’s piece is a solid reminder that, despite the complexity and nuance of constitutional law, it is the ballot box during presidential-election years that remains the most powerful force in the determination of Supreme Court decisions.
Tuesday’s decision in Perry v. Brown (the “Prop 8” case) means that roughly one year from now, it is likely that the United States Supreme Court will be giving its opinion on the now infamous 2008 ballot proposition that resulted in barring Californian gay couples from joining in marriage. Justice Anthony Kennedy will ultimately decide the fate of millions of gay people who wish to join in the civil institution of marriage, and his opinion will likely have a significantly broader impact on cases involving sexual orientation discrimination.
It’s been 3 years since Madia Law opened and I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to represent so many good and decent people going through tough times. I hope and believe that we’ve changed many lives for the better.
For our three year anniversary, we’ve expanded and updated the Madia Law website to hopefully provide more information to people looking for help with employment litigation and broader civil rights issues. I hope that the new website will be a strong resource for individuals who need quick information and will encourage them to seek further consultation and actual legal advice.
For nearly three years, Sean Lathrop was a star of the St. Cloud Police Department. Known as the “Golden Boy,” Officer Lathrop earned superlative performance evaluations, garnered high recommendations from community members, and quickly advanced to positions of responsibility.
Officer Lathrop’s ascent within the Department came to an abrupt end on May 12, 2009, when he disclosed his sexual orientation and requested to serve as an openly gay officer at the Minneapolis Gay Pride Parade. Within six months of that date, the Department disciplined Officer Lathrop five times, subjected him to three internal investigations, removed him from multiple positions of responsibility, placed him on a performance improvement plan, and awarded him the lowest possible marks on his performance evaluation. Officer Lathrop ultimately resigned from his position.
Last week, Judge Vaughn Walker issued a highly anticipated ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger striking down California’s Proposition 8 – which amended California’s state constitution to restrict marriage to “a man and a woman” – on the grounds that Proposition 8 violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. This first edition of the Madia Law newsletter seeks to examine the impact of this decision on potential civil rights actions alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The law firm of Madia Law LLC is located in Minneapolis, MN and represents employees throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, including: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Edina, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Eagan, Woodbury, White Bear Lake, Richfield, Minnetonka, Wayzata, Vadnais Heights, Blaine, St. Cloud, Lakeville, Shakopee, Prior Lake, Burnsville, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Carver County, Washington County, Dakota County, Scott County, and Stearns County.