Utah to pay plaintiffs in marriage recognition case $95K for legal fees

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Plaintiffs in Utah's same-sex marriage recognition case will receive $95,000 in attorneys fees from the state of Utah under a stipulated agreement between the parties.

A stipulation and joint motion filed Monday in Utah's U.S. District Court says the state has agreed to pay $95,000 and the plaintiffs agreed to accept the sum as full settlement of motions for attorneys fees filed in the local federal court and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Proposed Texas amendment would protect "religious freedom"

AUSTIN, Texas -- A proposed amendment to the state constitution would ask voters next November to decide whether to expand activity legally protected as an exercise of religious freedom. If approved, SJR 10 by state Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) would add the following text to the Texas Constitution:

Both sides want judge to rule on South Dakota gay marriage

PIERRE, South Dakota – A federal judge presiding over a challenge to South Dakota’s gay marriage ban should bypass a trial and rule on the case, the state Attorney General’s Office argued Tuesday.

The office joined six same-sex couples who are suing the state in petitioning for summary judgment in the case. The state also asked in its filing Tuesday that U.S. District Court Judge Karen Schreier reject the challengers’ July motion that she rule in their favor.

LGBT group calls for immediate dismissal of Atlanta Fire Chief

ATLANTA, Georgia -- A state advocacy group representing LGBT people is calling on Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to sack the city’s fire chief, Kelvin Cochran.

Reed on Monday suspended Cochran for a month without pay after a self-published book surfaced in which Cochran writes homosexuality is a "perversion."

But Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, says Reed isn’t going far enough and says Cochran must go.

“It appears that his language is so extreme, so belittling of gay and transgender people that I don’t see how he could possible lead a diverse workforce,” said Graham.

BREAKING! Mississippi ban on gay marriage is axed

JACKSON, Mississippi -- For the second time today, a Southern red state has seen its ban on gay marriage ruled unconstitutional.

Late Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves overturned the ban on same-sex weddings, but issued a stay on his order for two weeks to give Mississippi state officials time to appeal to the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. The Fifth Circuit will be hearing similar cases involving Louisiana and Texas during the first week of January.

Arkansas' gay marriage ban overturned by federal judge

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas -- The state of Arkansas’ ban on gay marriages was struck down today by U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker.

The ruling came in favor of two same-gender couples who challenged a 2004 constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The ruling was put on hold however, and it is likely that the state will appeal.

Gay marriage remains up in the air in Missouri

Gay marriage in Missouri is moving in fits and starts, allowed in just three areas and refused in others.

Attorney General Chris Koster has yet to appeal the federal court decision striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban. Koster has said he plans to appeal but has yet to do so. He has until Dec. 10.

“Such a challenge to Missouri’s historically-recognized right to define marriage deserves review by a higher court,” Koster’s spokesman, Eric Slusher, wrote in an email on Monday.

Michigan to high court: Let voters decide on gay marriage

WASHINGTON DC -- Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette on Monday took his fight to preserve traditional marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court, telling the nation's highest court that voters – not judges – should decide whether gay marriage is a good idea or not.

"This case comes down to two words: who decides," Schuette wrote in his filing, in which he urged the U.S. Supreme Court to respect the will of Michigan's voters, who decided in 2004 that marriage should only be defined as a union between one man and one woman.

NOM fails again to derail gay marriage in Oregon

SAN FRANCISCO, California – The anti-gay hate group NOM loses again in court, this time failing to score on a Hail Mary pass aimed at overturning the freedom to marry in Oregon.

The National Organization for Marriage tried to intervene in the Oregon gay-marriage case, despite lacking legal standing to do so. Twice rejected before, NOM failed to be satisfied when a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco declined the group’s request to defend Oregon’s overturned ban on same-sex marriage.

Lawyers ask that gay marriage be allowed immediately in Texas

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Lawyers for two Texas gay couples who are challenging the state law barring same sex marriage asked a federal judge in San Antonio today to lift his stay and allow gay marriages to begin immediately, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

Last February, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia ruled that the 2005 Constitutional Amendment which declares marriage as being between 'one man and one woman only' is unconstitutional. But he delayed the enforcement of his ruling, pending an appeal to the appeals court in New Orleans. That appeal is set to be heard Jan. 9.

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