Institute of Marriage
Research & Studies
Calling Something a Marriage Does Not Make It a Marriage
Can the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage be reversed; or otherwise can same-sex-marriage be abolished?
For starters, three-fourths votes by state legislators can amendment the Constitution that would reverse the court’s ruling. That is how Prohibition was repealed in 1933.
Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court can overrule itself. It happened in 2003 when Congress passed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, in response to the court in Stenberg v. Carhart ruling that the partial-birth abortion ban in Nebraska had been ruled unconstitutional.
Likewise in 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed itself in Gonzales v. Carhart to uphold Congress’s Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
Another scenario of what could happen with same-sex marriage is Congress pass a law banning it, which, of course, would be unconstitutional and challenged in the courts.
In that scenario eventually it would reach the higher court, which would then revisit arguments against same-sex marriage and depending on the Justices, reach a different ruling than the past one.
Steps to Abolishing
There steps to abolishing same-sex marriage:
Step 1: Weaken the protections of same-sex marriage (in various states there are subtler efforts already underway);
Step 2: Strategically appointing Republicans in key positions (already done); and
Step 3: Set up constitutional conflicts in the states, forcing the issue before the courts to again be heard (the easiest of the three steps).
According to Matt Braume contributor to The Huffington Post, referencing the National Organization for Marriage. See, Could Republicans Undo Marriage Equality? Yes—And Here’s How, The Huffington Post, December 19, 2016.
See also, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court
Won’t Just Overturn Gay Marriage and Abortion Cases, The Daily Beast, November 9, 2016.
Court Next Time
In 2015 when Obergefell v. Hodges was decided, three out of the five Justices who voted in favor of same-sex marriage were in their 80’s and a third 79 years old not in the best of health.
It is widely believed these Justices will be replaced with others considered to be conservative.
October 6, 2018
On April 10, 2017, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch replaced Justice Scalia who had passed away.
On October 6, 2018, Justice Brett Kavanaugh replaced Justice Kennedy who retired.
Both of the above added
United States Supreme Court Justices
were appointed by
President Donald J. Trump
and confirmed by the
United States Senate.
The Colorado Bakery Case
Repose From Earlier Date
November 9, 2018
Posted January 6, 2020
Probably the most familiar case putting a business and its owner up against religious beliefs verses same-sex marriage, Masterpiece v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission; commonly referred to as the Colorado baker case. 
Jack C. Phillips is owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, a Denver suburb in Colorado. He is also a baker at the store.
In the summer of 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins went to Masterpiece Cakeshop they said to seek a cake for their same-sex marriage. After being sat down at the "consulting table" to discuss with Jack the cakes creation and design:
“They introduced themselves as ‘David’ and ‘Charlie’ and said that they wanted a wedding cake for ‘our wedding.’ Jack informed [them] that he does not create wedding cakes for same-sex weddings. Jack told the men, ‘I’ll make you birthday cakes, shower cakes, sell you cookies and brownies, I just don’t make cakes for same-sex weddings.’” 
Jack repeatedly has said that he does not create wedding cakes for same-sex weddings because of his religious beliefs; that decorating cakes is a form of art through which he can honor God and that it would go against God to create cakes for same-sex marriages.
The gay couple received a free rainbow-themed custom cake from another local business and married in September 2012, in Massachusetts. At the time Colorado law did not recognize same-sex marriage, and did not for another three years following Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriage across the country. , , , 
Following the couple being married, in May 2013 a formal complaint was filed with the Office of Administrative Courts “alleging that [Jack] discriminated against the [gay couple] in a place of public accommodation due to sexual orientation, in violation of § 24-34-601(2), C.R.S.”
In response, Jack did not dispute that he refused to sell the couple a cake for their same-sex wedding, but maintained that the “refusal was based solely upon a deeply held religious conviction that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and was not due to bias against [the couple’s] sexual orientation.” 
Eventually, the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court on two legal questions: "Whether applying Colorado’s public-accommodation law to compel artists to create expression that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage violates the Free Speech or Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment."
The Supreme Court in June 2018, in a 7-2 decision, held that the Free Exercise Clause requires governmental neutrality when adjudicating disputes involving free exercise claims. The Court then identified statements made by members of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission during the hearings indicating hostility towards the Jack's religious beliefs. 
Accordingly, the Court concluded that "the Commission's treatment of Jack’s case violated the State's duty under the First Amendment not to base laws or regulations on hostility to a religion or religious viewpoint." The Commission was "obligated under the Free Exercise Clause to proceed in a manner neutral toward and tolerant of Phillips' religious beliefs." 
On the same day which the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would review Masterpiece v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission in June 2017, Jack received a call from attorney Autumn Scardina requesting that Jack make for him a custom cake for his gender transition celebration. Similar calls followed in the weeks and months to come, with requests for cakes featuring sexually explicit messages, marijuana, Satan, sex toys, and more.
Jack declined each of these requests, which he believes came exclusively from Scardina, who then filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (CCRC) for discrimination on the basis of gender identity. 
However, this time Jack went on the offensive and filed his own lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, against the Director and all members of the CCRC, the Colorado Attorney General and Colorado Governor, raising a list of Constitutional violations. 
Following the court’s Order denying a motion to dismiss Jack’s lawsuit, the defendants in that case dropped the complaint filed by attorney Scardina in exchange for Jack dismissing his lawsuit. , 
In response to the above dismissals, attorney Scardina filed in Colorado state court a third action against Jack. This lawsuit claims that Jack discriminated against Scardina and used deceptive and unfair trade practices. 
It remains an active case.
 See, Complaint, Masterpiece v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, U.S. District Court Case 1:18-cv-02074, at www.adfmedia.org/files/MasterpieceCakeshopComplaint.pdf.
 See, Colorado Office of Administrative Courts, Initial Decision…, CR 2013-0008, at www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/initial_decision_case_no._cr_2013-0008.pdf.
 See, “Wedding Cakes v. Religious Beliefs,” Supreme Court Blog, at www.scotusblog.com/2017/09/wedding-cakes-v-religious-beliefs-plain-english/.
 See, “Timeline: Masterpiece Cakeshop, LGBT Rights and the Courts,” The Denver Post, Updated August 15, 2018, at www.denverpost.com/2018/06/04/masterpiece-cakeshop-timeline/.
 See, footnote 2, Colo. Const. art. II, § 31 (“Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state”); § 14-2-104(1), C.R.S. (“[A] marriage is valid in this state if: . . . It is only between one man and one woman.”).
 See, Obergefell v. Hodges, No. 14–556, 576 U.S. ___ (2015), at www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf.
 See, footnote 2.
 See, Masterpiece v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, No. 16-111, 584 U.S. ___ (2018), at www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/16-111_j4el.pdf.
 See, “Colorado Targets Jack Phillips Again For Refusing To Make a 'Gender Transition' Cake,” MRC TV, August 15, 2018, at www.mrctv.org/blog/colorado-continues-target-same-christian-baker-so-he-files-lawsuit.
 See, Complaint, Masterpiece et al v. Aubrey Elenis, et al, U.S. District Court Case 1:18-cv-02074, at www.adfmedia.org/files/MasterpieceCakeshopComplaint.pdf.
 See, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Elenis, Docket, at http://files.eqcf.org/cases/d-colo-118-cv-02074-docket/.
 See, “Jack Wins Again” [video], ADF, at www.facebook.com/AllianceDefendingFreedom/videos/602728863581692/?notif_id=1551815099881759¬if_t=live_video.
 See, Complaint, Autumn Scardina v. Jack Phillips, No. 2019CV32214, at www.courthousenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/ScardinaMasterpiece-COMPLAINT.pdf.
City Punished Farmer Who Denied
Same-Sex Wedding on His Private Property
Repose From Earlier Date
March 12, 2018
Posted January 6, 2020
The case being talked about here, Country Mill Farms and Stephen Tennes v. City of East Lansing, started in 2014 when someone posted on Country Mill Farms’ Facebook page, asking whether they would host a same-sex wedding; followed with the response they would prefer not to, due to the family’s religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman. 
Country Mill Farms is a 120-acre apple orchard farm in Charlotte, Michigan, owned and operated by the Tennes family.
At some point the City of East Lansing some 22 miles away became aware of the Facebook post and response, which had nothing to do with East Lansing or the Farmer’s Market; the latter being a venue in which farmers bring their fruits and vegetables for sale.
Even though the Tennes family for years had been granted a vendor permit to sell their apples at the market, city officials in 2016 at first asked Country Mill Farms to stop selling in the city’s market which the family continued to do.
Then in 2017 the city officials denied Country Mill Farms' vendors application, citing a newly amended vendors policy. The policy included a new stipulation stating vendors must comply with the city's nondiscrimination civil rights ordinances both at the market and as "a general business practice."
With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), in May 2017 a complaint on behalf of the Tennes family was filed in federal court against the City of Lansing stating its new policy, among other things, "violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution as well as state law that prohibits Michigan cities from regulating activities outside city boundaries." 
A motion for preliminary injunction was also filed, to which the court issued a lengthy Opinion and Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction, stating that the complaint and motion established a substantial likelihood that the city’s decision violated rights raised in the complaint. , 
Both parties filed a motion for summary judgment. Also, while this lawsuit was going through its proceedings the City of East Lansing changed some of the wording and enforcement of its ordinance which it had relied on.
On December 18, 2019, the federal court issued its Opinion and Order Granting In Part and Denying In Part Cross Motions for Summary Judgment. 
The court ruled that the city ordinance used to ban Country Mill Farms from vending at the local market was unconstitutional at the time of its adoption.
Other issues raised in this case are headed to trial.
 See, Complaint at www.adfmedia.org/files/CountryMillFarmsComplaint.pdf.
 See, Court Docket at www.courtlistener.com/docket/6076763/country-mill-farms-llc-v-east-lansing-city-of/.
 See, Preliminary Injunction at www.adfmedia.org/files/CountryMillFarmsPI.pdf.
 See, Opinion and Order Granting In Part and Denying In Part Cross Motions for Summary Judgment at www.adfmedia.org/files/CountryMillFarmsDistrictCourtDecision.pdf.
February 15, 2020
Pretrial conference set for August 24, 2020; bench trial set for September 14, 2020. 
 See, Court Docket at www.courtlistener.com/docket/6076763/country-mill-farms-llc-v-east-lansing-city-of/
City of Phoenix Says No To Art Studio:
Christians Must Promote Same-Sex Marriage
October 26, 2017
Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski are the owners of Brush & Nib Studio in Phoenix, Arizona. They believe that God called and equipped them to be artists, that they must glorify God with their artistic talents and artwork, and that they cannot do anything in their art business that violates their religious beliefs or dishonors God.
In that spirit Joanna and Breanna wanted to include on their website for Brush & Nib Studio a statement informing prospective customers of the religious inspiration behind their art, their religious beliefs about art and marriage, and how their beliefs impact the artwork they create and their artistic message.
Also in their statement they wanted it to read that they cannot "create any artwork that violates their vision as defined by their religious and artistic beliefs and identity,” such as art “that demeans others, endorses racism, incites violence, contradicts their Christian faith, or promotes any marriage except marriage between one man and one woman," such as same-sex marriage.
However, city ordinance § 18-4(B), as city officials pointed out, demanded that Joanna and Breanna instead use their artistic talents to promote same-sex wedding ceremonies and also forbid them from publicly communicating the Christian beliefs that require them to create art celebrating only marriages between one man and one woman.
Ironically, while city officials took extra issue with that part of the statement which read "[w]e believe that God created marriage as a life-long union exclusively for one man and one woman"; city officials also acknowledged that businesses were permitted to publish their beliefs supporting same-sex marriage.
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit (Brush & Nib Studio v. City of Phoenix) on behalf Joanna and Breanna in May 2016, based on the First Amendment and other laws violated. The case is pretty simple in that no American, including artists, should have the government force them to create art against their artistic and religious beliefs.
Both the Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CV 2016-052251) and the Arizona Court of Appeals (Case No. 1 CA-CV 16-0602) refused to side with Joanna and Breanna. Their case is again being appealed.
September 16, 2019
Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Phoenix's Brush & Nib Studio, no longer have to make custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples, Arizona’s top court ruled today.
Today in a 4-3 decision, the Arizona Supreme Court declared that the Phoenix nondiscrimination ordinance is in violation of the constitution. It further declared that Brush & Nib Studio is not required under the Phoenix ordinance to design same-sex wedding invitations. 
The court explained, "The rights of free speech and free exercise, so precious to this nation since its founding, are not limited to soft murmurings behind the doors of a person's home or church, or private conversations with like-minded friends and family. These guarantees protect the right of every American to express their beliefs in public. This includes the right to create and sell words, paintings, and art that express a person's sincere religious beliefs.
"The City of Phoenix cannot apply its Human Relations Ordinance to force Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski, owners of Brush & Nib Studios, to create custom wedding invitations celebrating same-sex wedding ceremonies in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs. Duka, Koski, and Brush & Nib have the right to refuse to express such messages under Article 2, Section 6 of the Arizona Constitution, as well as Arizona's Free Exercise of Religion Act.”
In other words, the ordinance giving special protection rights to LGBT cannot be used to force artists to create custom wedding invitations for same-sex couples and business owners have the right to choose who they do business with.
“‘Today freedom won,’ ADF Attorney Jonathan Scruggs said. ‘A government that can crush Joanna and Breanna can crush us all.’ Scruggs noted that they're watching similar cases in other parts of the country, and hoping the issue will eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Arizona Supreme Court ruling, www.azcourts.gov/Portals/0/OpinionFiles/Supreme/2019/Brush%20and%20Nib%20Filed.pdf.
Alliance Defending freedom (ADF) article, www.adflegal.org/detailspages/blog-details/allianceedge/2019/09/16/huge-win-for-brush-nib-studio!-arizona-supreme-court-upholds-freedom-of-two-phoenix-artists?fbclid=IwAR1thvCYVJG78tKGXWICEtN8lcgLRQJRl-dyTRHDCpV0TQQZw2YqWNggHvs.
Phoenix Times article, www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/arizona-court-allows-business-to-refuse-lgbt-customers-11359414.
The Bakersfield's Bakery Case
February 8, 2018
In a religion verses same-sex marriage case, Kern County Superior Court Judge David R. Lampe ruled against the State of California, which took legal action against Cathy Miller for her refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage.
Cathy Miller of Tastiest Bakery in Bakersfield, California, for religious reasons refused to create a cake for a same-sex couple — stating she could not create a cake for the couple’s wedding because same-sex marriage clashed with her Christian faith. She instead referred them to another bakery.
Judge Lampe ruled in Cathy’s favor, saying her actions were protected by the First Amendment, because making a cake can be considered an act of artistic expression.
The ruling allows Miller to continue denying wedding cakes to same-sex couples until the case returns to court in June, 2018.
June 14, 2018
This case ended in favor of Tastries Bakery.
After the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop, lawyers in this case issued a statement reading:
“We are pleased the Supreme Court has recognized the long held principle that government cannot show hostility to citizens who live and work according to their most deeply held religious beliefs. As we argued in our defense of Cathy, people of faith should not be persecuted for refusing to use their artistic talents to promote messages that violate their conscience. Cathy loves to serve all people at her bakery, including LGBT persons, but she will not compromise her unwavering belief in God’s design for marriage.
"The Supreme Court ruled that lower courts must balance the rights of religious persons and LGBT persons, and we are confident that on balance Cathy properly exercised her rights by respectfully offering to connect the LGBT couple that came into her shop with a rival baker who would gladly make their wedding cake. The only thing the couple was not offered was the right to force Cathy to violate her religious beliefs—that is not a right to which they are entitled."
Following that statement on June 14, 2018, California dropped its appeal to this case. California Kern County Docket No. BCV-17-102855 (Abandonment of Appeal).
Eyewitness News, FOX 54
Limiting Same-Sex Marriage Benefits
December 4, 2017
Same-sex couples can get married in Texas, but they will not have the same rights that heterosexual couples do.
On January 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the City of Houston’s request to review whether Houston taxpayers may challenge the city’s policy of providing spousal benefits to the homosexual partners of city employees.
At issue was whether after Obergefell v. Hodges same-sex spouses of public employees were entitled to spousal benefits, in Texas.
Petitioners Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks, as taxpayers argued that the City of Houston illegally provided such benefits. In response, the City of Houston asserted “governmental immunity” and "lack of standing" in an effort to get the case dismissed, without having to argue the actual arguments of the case.
On June 30, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court rejected the City of Houston’s effort to dismiss the case and in doing so dug into Obergefell v. Hodges—essentially limiting its scope, especially in how it is applied at the state level. See, Pidgeon v. City of Houston, No. 15-0688 (www.txcourts.gov/media/1438061/150688.pdf).
Justice Boyd writing for the Texas Supreme Court in its 24-page opinion, said there is still room for state courts to explore the "reach and ramifications" of Obergefell v. Hodges, which did not fully address the right to marriage benefits. Id.
The City of Houston then sought certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court which, as indicated above, was denied. See, Turner v. Pidgeon, No. 17-424 (www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/120417zor_pm02.pdf).
Since this case began, more than 70 elected officials including Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton have weighed-in, lending support for the plaintiffs, Jack Pidgeon and Larry Hicks. See, https://txvalues.org/2017/12/04/victory-u-s-supreme-court-rejects-the-city-of-houstons-request-to-review-same-sex-benefits-case/.
Photographer Can Refuse Same-Sex Wedding Photos
August 1, 2017
A photographer can reject job requests based on religious beliefs against same-sex marriage, says a Wisconsin county court and government officials.
Amy Lynn Lawson, owner of Amy Lynn Photography Studio in Madison, Wisconsin,
filed what is known as a "pre-enforcement challenge" lawsuit against the City of Madison and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
Ms. Lawson, who works out of her home, claimed that the city’s public accommodations ordinance and the state’s public accommodations law prohibit her from conducting her business, according to the dictates of her conscience and beliefs. Ms. Lawson argued the ordinance and law even force her to use her creative expression in support of activities she does not agree with, which includes same-sex marriage.
On August 1, 2017, Judge Richard Niess of the Dane County Circuit Court agreed and said in the coming weeks he would sign an order declaring that Ms. Lawson and her home-based business are not subject to the city’s public accommodations ordinance or the state’s public accommodations law. Both the state and the city agreed to this resolution.
Free Speech Fairness Act
Reversing the Johnson Amendment
May 1, 2017
On May 4, 2017, President Trump signed a Presidential Executive Order effectively telling the IRS not to enforce the Johnson Amendment of 1954 which was a ticket to censor the speech of pastors, churches, and other nonprofit entities on issues related to candidates and elections.
The Johnson Amendment resulted in IRS tax code (501(c)(3) prohibits nonprofit organization including churches from participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
December 14, 2017
A measure within the recent federal tax bill would have took it a step further, with legislation that would have removed altogether the IRS tax code barring churches from endorsing political candidates.
However, the Senate’s parliamentarian struck out the language overturning the Johnson Amendment, stating it "did not meet Senate rules that require elements of the tax bill to have something to do with the budget."
Essentially, the Johnson Amendment which result in Section 501(c)(3) gives tax-exempt status to a church as long as it “does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing for statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
It greatly restricted the free speech of pastors and churches. The words “in opposition to” were added in 1986. Ass’n of the Bar of the City of N.Y. v. Comm’r, 858 F.2d 876, 879 (2d Cir. 1988).
This does not end the push to remove altogether the Johnson Amendment, but is only a minor set back, various Senators say.
A recent Pew Survey of 2,504 adults was conducted June 8-18, 2017, via landline and cellphone, with resulting indicating:
A slim majority of Americans (62%) support same-sex marriage, while 32% oppose it. That is 2% less than a poll by Gallup a month earlier.
A recent Gallup Poll survey of 1,009 adults was conducted May 1-12, 2019, via landline and cellphone, with results indicating:
Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law as valid; lowest percentage the past two years, after peaking in 2018 at sixty-seven percent.
NOTE: Gallup is believed by many to structure polling in favor of liberal views, and frequently accused of inaccurate results. In July 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that Gallup agreed to pay $10.5 million to settle a case that it violated the False Claims Act and the Procurement Integrity Act. That same year the accuracy of Gallup polling on religious faith was also seriously questioned.
Numbers Same-Sex Marriage
Two years after the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing same-sex marriages across the nation, 10.2% of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) adults in the U.S. are married to a same-sex spouse. That is up from 7.9% in the months prior to the Supreme Court decision in 2015, but only marginally higher than the 9.6% measured in the first year after the ruling. Gallup Poll, June 22, 2017.
Lawmakers Again Want to
Change Definition of Marriage
May 10, 2017
Nevada remains one of a number of states which define marriage as between a man and a woman; although the now democrat controlled legislature in that state wants to delete the now-defunct same-sex marriage ban in their state constitution.
As democrat lawmakers point out—seeing in the near future the Supreme Court’s reversal on same-sex marriage—“keeping the ban language means Nevada would automatically reinstate the discriminatory policy should a conservative high court someday overturn the decision that Supreme Court justices approved 5-4.” After Legalization, States Still Debate Gay Marriage, Alison Noon, Associate Press, February 22, 2017.
The earliest the Nevada definition of same-sex marriage would go on a statewide ballot for change is in 2020. In the mean time, due to the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, Nevada’s definition of marriage is non-enforceable.
Florist Sued After Declining Flower Arrangement for
Repose From Earlier Date
November 8, 2018
Posted December 30, 2019
It is a case many are well familiar with. Barronelle Stutzman who has been a florist for more than 30 years is sole owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington. She has served and employed people who identify as LGBT for her entire career.
One such customer and longtime friend of hers, Rob Ingersoll one day asked her to create a flower arrangement for his upcoming marriage to another man. In her own words as read in The Seattle Times, Barronelle acknowledged that she “knew he was in a relationship with a man and he knew [she] was a Christian. But that never clouded the friendship for either of [them] until he asked [her] to design something special to celebrate his upcoming wedding.”
She declined his request because of her religious faith and the two of them talked about it. Rob assured her that he understood. She then suggested three others nearby florists who would be willing to do the flower arrangement for him. Barronelle felt that they parted as friends still.
Word of what happened spread got out via social media resulting in the Washington State attorney general deciding to take matters into his own hands and sued her. On top of that, Rob who she had been friends with for all those years and his partner, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), also sued her.
Eventually the two cases were consolidated. Each of the Washington state court’s hearing the case decided against Barronelle. In July 2017, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) representing Barronelle petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take her case.
On June 25, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the case back to the Washington Supreme Court, after vacating that court’s decision and instructing it to reconsider her lawsuit in light of the decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Arlene’s Flowers Inc. v. Washington, Supreme Court No. 17-108.
The Seattle Times
U.S. Supreme Court Docket
Washington State Court Docket
June 6, 2019
On June 6, 2019, the Washington Supreme Court ruled its state courts did not act with religious animus when they ruled that Arlene's Flowers broke the state's anti-discrimination law by declining on religious grounds to create flower arrangements for a same-sex marriage. It will again be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
September 11, 2019
Petition for a writ of certiorari filed September 11, 2019. (Response due October 15, 2019)
Protecting Freedom of Conscience
from Government Discrimination Act
July 6, 2017
On July 6, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in a 3-0 ruling lift the ban from a lower court that had blocked a Mississippi law titled the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.
The law now enforceable, among other things, allow government clerks to opt out of certifying same-sex marriages(though only if the marriage is not “impeded or delayed” by their decision) and allow businesses to deny wedding-related services to same-sex couples if their marriage contravened “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.”
Opponents had argued aggressively that part of the law they say allows religious organizations to engage in job and housing discrimination against LGBT people; allow public school counselors to refuse to work with LGBT students; and potentially force child-welfare agencies to place LGBT children with non-same-sex parents.
Reportedly it is the broadest religious-objections law enacted by any state. It protects three beliefs: that marriage is only between a man and a woman, sex should only take place in such a marriage, and a person’s gender is determined at birth and cannot be altered.
Opponents say they will seek a full 5th Circuit Court review in hopes of again blocking the law from being enforced.
January 8, 2018
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal by LGBT activist in Campaign for Southern Equality v. Bryant, challenging the "Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act" claiming its religious-liberty protection actually established an official state religion in Mississippi, violating the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause.
Effectively the Legal Right to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage
October 6,, 2017
See on this website Opposition page, "Effectively the Legal Right to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage" article, and much more.
Amendment to Polygamy Laws
July 9, 2017
When one thinks of polygamy relationships, they may in the same thought think Utah or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Actually, the Mormons, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are commonly refered to, in 1890 officially abandoned the practice of polygamy relationships or marriages. But that has not stopped it. Today there are 30,000 polygamists in Utah.
Ironically, polygamy laws in Utah are the strictest of all states because they bar married people from living with a second purported “spiritual spouse” even if the man is legally married to just one woman.
In February 2017 the laws on polygamy in Utah got even stricter or at least the punishment did. The amendment to the already existing laws provide for harsher punishments, if those convicted of the crime of polygamy are also convicted of other crimes such as domestic abuse or fraud.
Even with the new harsher punishment, however, Utah’s Attorney General said the amendment does not change its long-standing policy that they will not go after otherwise law-abiding polygamists.
In the mean time, supporters of polygamy are steadfast on they will continue fighting for a change, arguing that for the same reasons that same-sex marriage is now legal across the country, so should polygamy be legal.
As supporters of polygamy continue their fight, supporters of incestuous marriages wait for their progress saying that a victory for polygamy is another victory for them.
See Opposition page, “The Door Same-Sex Marriage Opened”
Dismissed: Lawsuit Challenging Law Magistrates
Not Required to Perform Same-Sex Marriages
June 28, 2017
On June 28, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in a 3-0 ruling dismissed a lawsuit angering same-sex couples.
The lawsuit was filed against North Carolina’s bill SB2, also known as the Marriage Recusal law. The law specifically gives magistrates the right to refuse to perform same-sex marriages if doing so would violate “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Clerks also have the right to refuse to issue marriage licenses under this law.
Any magistrate who files a refusal under this law, however, cannot perform any marriages for six months afterward. Also, the law requires counties to make other magistrates or staffers available to handle marriage licenses and same-sex weddings in the event of recusals.
The three judge panel from the 4th Circuit unanimously dismissed the couples’ lawsuit, saying that SB2 clearly had not hurt their ability to get married, and for that reason stated that the defendants did not have standing for the lawsuit.
Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, for the Court, wrote: “At the heart of this lawsuit is a debate over the extent to which religious accommodations can coexist with the constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”
July 21, 2017
An update and replacement to the original posting April 10, 2017, pertaining to the Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act.
After Tennessee lawmakers passed House Bill 1111 (also called Senate Bill 1085), Governor Bill Haslam signed the legislation into law on May 5, 2017, to take effect immediately. 
The new law requires that words in Tennessee laws to be interpreted as having their "natural and ordinary meaning." 
The new law does not explicitly cite "husband," "wife," "mother," and "father" as having natural and ordinary meanings based on the biological distinctions between men and women. However, it does state that any word undefined in state law must be used according to its "natural and ordinary meaning. The intent being undefined words mean what they meant at the time lawmakers put them into law."
Some, including those in the LGBT community, see it as a way of denying same-sex couples the legal rights and protections granted to a "husband," a "wife," a "father" or "mother."
Two lesbian couples, each pregnant via artificial insemination, on May 10, 2017, filed a lawsuit. In it they claim the law interpreting words such as "mother" and "husband" in lesbian relations and marriages will interfere with nonbiological parents’ rights. 
Specifically, the two lesbian couples claim "a child born as a result of artificial insemination, with the consent of a married woman’s husband, is deemed to be the legitimate child of the husband and wife. Tennessee courts have interpreted the laws reference to 'husband' to include spouses of lesbians."
The new law, the two lesbian couples say, "would change that interpretation and they are asking a court to give them the same protection given to male husbands." 
Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss which the Court on July 21, 2017, granted. 
 See e.g., https://apnews.com/8b2b110cb04f484c8c99b4d82032fbca.
Texas Senate passed its bill (SB 522) allowing religious clerks to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples and on May 9, 2017 referred to State Affairs.
Under the new bill most couples would undergo the same process. But if any clerk has "a sincerely held religious belief" that prevents them from issuing a license, they will not be made to issue the license.
Instead, counties will be required to designate a county employee to serve as the "certifying official" when nobody else is willing to issue a license. If no county employee volunteers, the commissioner’s court can contract with somebody else to do issue the license—even if issued over the phone.
Bill to Make Same-Sex Marriage
February 15, 2019
North Carolina 2019-20 Legislative Session: House Bill 65, the Marriage Amendment Reaffirmation Act.
In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court in deciding Obergefell v. Hodges effectively legalized “same-sex marriage” and invalidated state constitutional amendments banning it, including North Carolina’s.
HB 65 (see link below) seeks to nullify the Supreme Court’s decision in North Carolina and challenge its constitutionality nationwide.
It would declare same-sex marriage illegal in defiance of the Supreme Court; defining any marriage that is not between a man and a woman as a “parody marriage” and opposed to the "nature of the human species."
HB 65 comes in the wake of another, similar piece of legislation from the 2017-2018 legislative session, House Bill 780. While they both would make same-sex marriage illegal again in North Carolina, their methods are different. The latter did not make it out of committees before the end of the Session.
House Bill 65
Obergefell v. Hodges