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March could be key month for gay marriage across the nation

Supreme Court

The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two separate same-sex marriage cases in late March.

Arguments on Proposition 8, California’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, are scheduled to be heard March 26, while arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions, will be heard the following day.

“I’m very hopeful that the court will move us forward in our work to end marriage discrimination, but that’s something we can’t control,” Evan Wolfson, founder of Freedom to Marry, told GA Voice.

At issue in the DOMA case is the law’s Section 3, which has been found unconstitutional eight times by federal courts on issues including bankruptcy, public health benefits, estate taxes and immigration.

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Top national news of 2012: Obama says ‘I do’

Barack Obama

In perhaps the biggest year for the LGBT rights movement in history, one story stands out as the most significant: President Obama’s re-election after he publicly endorsed marriage equality.

Obama won re-election by taking 51 percent of the popular vote compared to the 47 percent won by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, paving the way for the pro-LGBT policies of his first term to continue over the next four years. Obama won major swing states, including Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Virginia.

In May, during a TV interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, Obama announced his personal support for same-sex marriage, making him the first sitting U.S. president to take that step.

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U.S. Supreme Court to hear Prop. 8, DOMA cases

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage, as well as Proposition 8, the ballot initiative which ended gay marriage in California.

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No movement yet on marriage before the Supreme Court

Supreme Court of the United States

The United States Supreme Court still has not announced its decision on whether to hear same-sex marriage challenges from any of the six cases before the court.

The court could consider any of five challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that forbids the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. DOMA has been found unconstitutional in eight previous rulings from lower courts.

Also before the court is a challenge to California's Proposition 8, the voter initiative that ended same-sex marriage in the state. It has also been overturned by lower courts, but remains in force during appeals. Prop 8 is being challenged by attorneys Ted Olsen and David Boies, who famously argued one another in 2000's Bush v. Gore case.

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Supreme Court sits on marriage decisions

Supreme Court of the United States

The United States Supreme Court was expected to decide today whether to hear any of several legal challenges involving same-sex marriage, but the court took no action in these cases, the website SCOTUSBlog reports.

The Supreme Court, after taking most of the day to prepare new orders, took no action Friday on the ten same-sex marriage cases now on the docket.

The court could issue a decision on whether to hear the cases as early as Monday, Dec. 3 but multiple media outlets have reported that Dec. 7 is more likely.

Stay tuned for more information.

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HRC president: ‘We have to be smart and strategic moving forward’

HRC President Chad Griffin

As euphoria from the Nov. 6 general election fades, LGBT advocates look forward to continued progress in Congress and an upcoming Supreme Court decision on whether to hear several gay marriage cases.

The Nov. 6 vote was, without a doubt, the “gayest” election in the history of American politics. From four state-level gay marriage victories in Minnesota, Maine, Maryland and Washington to the election of Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) as the country’s first-ever openly gay U.S. senator, equality advocates had much to celebrate.

But there’s plenty of work that remains unfinished. An all-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, universal marriage rights for all of the country’s gay and lesbian couples and working to eradicate bullying of LGBT youth are some of the items that remain on the agenda of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT political group.

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Gay groups react to Supreme Court ruling on ‘Obamacare’

Supreme Court of the United States

National and local LGBT groups are praising today’s Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act. The court, in a 5-4 ruling, found the ACA mostly constitutional and upheld the controversial "individual mandate" portion of the law.

The law, often called Obamacare among politicos and pundits, is a landmark among President Barack Obama's presidential accomplishments. Several national LGBT and HIV groups supported the law, saying it would help those with HIV and other health conditions.

Signed into law in 2010, the ACA will make it easier for low and middle income Americans to purchase health insurance. Republicans have railed against the law, saying that a provision requiring Americans to purchase insurance, under the penalty of fines, is government overreach.

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Religion blog: Reflections on Troy Davis

A few years back, there was a TV show called “In the Heat of the Night.”  It was a spin-off of the movie by the same name. The series starred Carroll O'Connor as Chief William O. 'Bill' Gillespie and Howard E. Rollins Jr. as Chief of Detectives Virgil Tibbs.

The events of last week (the execution of Troy Davis) have unsettled me in a way I did not think was possible.

In one of the shows entitled; “A Trip Upstate” (1989) George Brownlow sends word to Bill Gillespie that he wants to see the Chief at Parchman prison on the day of his execution. George was the driver in a bank holdup. Two bank robbers killed a guard and a customer before Bill killed them in return. As an accomplice, George was sentenced to die.

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Prop 8 battle resumes Sept. 6

Georgians gather to support Prop 8 ruling

The legal battle over California's Proposition 8 will resume in September as the state's high court will take up the issue over whether supporters of a ballot initiative have the authority to fight court rulings if the state's governor and attorney general refuse to do so, according to the Associated Press.

The court will hear arguments on Sept. 6.

U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled in August 2010 that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to challenge Walker's ruling.

Jerry Brown is now the governor of California.