gay marriage

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BALTIMORE (AP) - U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are issuing an election-year guide stressing a moral imperative to evaluate candidates according to their positions on marriage and abortion.

The bishops adopted the guide called "Faithful Citizenship" at their national assembly Tuesday in Baltimore. The document was approved overwhelmingly in a vote at the event.

The statement was especially watched for how much it reflected the priorities of Pope Francis, who was elected two years ago.

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As the presidential race heats up 2016 may begin to tell the nation just where the millennial voters will put their mark after overwhelmingly supporting President Barak Obama.

Delmarva Public Radio’s Stephanie Chisley spoke with young voters as they sort out the issues and the candidates.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has declared that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.
Gay and lesbian couples already can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The court's ruling on Friday means the remaining 14 states, in the South and Midwest, will have to stop enforcing their bans on same-sex marriage.
The outcome is the culmination of two decades of Supreme Court litigation over marriage, and gay rights generally.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A Presbyterian church in Wilmington held a joint ordination ceremony this weekend for a lesbian couple.

The joint ordination of Kaci Clark-Porter and Holly Clark-Porter took place Sunday afternoon at First & Central Presbyterian Church.

Church members believe the two women are the first same-sex couple ever to be ordained jointly by the Presbyterian Church USA.

marriage equality virginia website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A state Senate committee isn't ready to take Virginia's overturned gay-marriage ban out of the state constitution.

On an 8-7 party-line vote Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Privileges and Elections Committee rejected a proposal to begin the process of repealing the amendment approved by Virginia voters in 2006 defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The ban was effectively nullified by a series of federal court decisions last year, and same-sex couples have been getting married since October.

equality virginia website

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is delaying the start of same-sex marriage in Virginia.

The court on Wednesday granted a request from a county clerk in northern Virginia to block same-sex marriages across the state while the issue is being appealed to the Supreme Court. The court provided no explanation for its order.

Without court intervention, same-sex couples would have been allowed to wed as of Thursday.

equality virginia

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Virginia officials are preparing for the possibility that gay marriages could soon be legal in Virginia.

The State Registrar of Vital Records is drafting a revised marriage license form that will be used if the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' order ending Virginia's same-sex marriage ban goes into effect Thursday morning.

Equality Virginia website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The plaintiffs in a court case challenging Virginia's same-sex marriage ban have asked a federal appeals court not to stay its ruling striking down the law.

Last week, a county court clerk in northern Virginia sought to delay the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling while it is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. That 2-1 ruling upheld the decision by a lower district court in Norfolk. The appellate court ruling applies throughout the circuit that also includes West Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - An appeals court's decision to strike down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban adds to the growing list of decrees on a hot-button issue that will likely end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond on Monday ruled that state laws barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution.

It's the second federal appellate court to overturn gay marriage bans, after the Denver circuit.

Maryland Equality

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - More than 2,000 same-sex couples have been married in Delaware in the last 12 months, but court clerks in the state expect the pace to slow going forward.

Delaware became the 11th state to legalize same-sex weddings under a law that took effect in July 2013.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that in the 12 months ending June 30, court clerks in the state issued 2,092 marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

equality maryland

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A report by a think tank at UCLA says legalizing gay marriages in Virginia could generate up to $60 million in spending in three years.

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that about 7,000 same-sex couples may choose to get married in Virginia within three years of a change in law. In February, a federal judge in Norfolk struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriages. The decision has been stayed pending an appeal, and a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Richmond on May 13.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The office of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says he's concluded that the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional and he will no longer defend it in federal lawsuits challenging it.

In an email to The Associated Press early Thursday, Herring spokesman Michael Kelly says the state will instead side with the plaintiffs who are seeking to have the ban struck down.

Kelly says the attorney general decided the ban was unconstitutional after a thorough legal review of the matter.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - In a strictly symbolic gesture, Charlottesville City Council members have given preliminary approval to a proposed ordinance that supports extending benefits to the spouses of married city employees - including those in same-sex relationships.

It's symbolic because it's contrary to Virginia state law and the state Constitution.

Two couples from the Shenandoah Valley filed a federal class-action lawsuit challenging Virginia's same-sex marriage ban.

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund

Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage will be challenged in federal court by the state’s American Civil Liberties Union.

The state's voters approved a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that not only bans same-sex marriage but does not allow for recognition of same-sex marriages in other states.

There are now around a dozen such states.

The ACLU is joining the gay rights organization Lambda Legal Defense Fund to claim that the ban violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A state senator and her partner have become the first same-sex couple to be legally wed in Delaware.

Sen. Karen Peterson and her longtime partner, Vikki Bandy, both 63, exchanged vows Monday morning, converting their civil union to marriage in a brief ceremony attended by about 35 friends and supporters.

Following the ceremony, other same-sex couples lined up to get their marriage licenses on the day Delaware's new same=sex marriage law took effect.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are bringing the gavel down on this year's legislative session, a session highlighted by gun control and gay marriage.

Lawmakers faced a relatively quiet final night Sunday, having earlier approved a $3.7 billion operating budget and a $477.8 million capital budget for the fiscal year starting Monday. 

Lawmakers spent Sunday night mostly addressing a series of also-ran measures left unresolved as they began their final working day.

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today the federal government cannot discriminate against married same-sex couples. On his way back from the Maryland Association of Counties meeting, Mayor Jim Ireton told WSCL this decision was part of extending rights to all people.  Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush:

Equality Maryland

Marylanders gave same sex couples to right to marry.

Now those same couples are awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision that open the way to federal benefits.

Maryland News Connection reporter Allison Burns has the story.

BALTIMORE (AP) - Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will officiate a mass wedding for same-sex couples during the Baltimore Pride Festival next month.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland, which organizes the celebration, announced last week that Rawlings-Blake would serve as grand marshal for the event in recognition of her support of gay rights.

equality maryland

The legalization of same-sex marriage in Maryland has one downside for same-sex partnerships.

No new domestic partners will be able to enroll for state health benefits beginning in July and no domestic partners will be covered.

Robin Sabatini with the Department of Budget and Management said that there are around 280 active and retired state workers who are covering a same-sex domestic partner.

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Delaware State Senator Karen Peterson came out publicly on the Senate floor this week just before the vote that approved same-sex marriage.

And she said up to the last minute she wasn’t sure that she would do it.

Peterson told the Wilmington News Journal that family friends and colleague knew she was a lesbian but thought she would only do so if it added something to the debate.

equality maryland

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Same-sex couples in Delaware say they're looking forward to July 1, when Delaware officially becomes the 11th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.

Advocates on Tuesday cheered Democratic Gov. Jack Markell as he signed a gay marriage bill into law just minutes after its passage by the state Senate.

Equality Delaware

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A state Senate committee has sent a bill authorizing same-sex marriage in Delaware to the full Senate for consideration.

The measure cleared the Senate executive committee Wednesday after a 90-minute hearing.

The bill narrowly won passage in the House last week. Supporters and opponents expect another close vote in the Senate.

Gov. Jack Markell supports the measure, which was introduced barely a year after the state began recognizing same-sex civil unions. It would make Delaware the 10th state to authorize same-sex marriage.

A state Senate committee is taking up a bill authorizing same-sex marriage in Delaware.

The measure narrowly won passage in the House last week. Supporters and opponents expect another close vote if the Senate Executive Committee votes Wednesday to send it to the full Senate for consideration.

Gov. Jack Markell supports the measure, which was introduced barely a year after the state began recognizing same-sex civil unions. It would make Delaware the 10th state to authorize same-sex marriage.


DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state House has narrowly approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Delaware.

The House voted 23-to-18 Tuesday for the bill, which now goes to the Senate.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has promised to sign the bill if it passes the legislature, where it was introduced earlier this month, a little more than a year after Delaware began recognizing same-sex civil unions.

Under the proposal, no new civil unions would be performed after July 1. Existing civil unions would be converted to marriages.

DOVER, Del. (AP) — The state House is poised to vote on a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Delaware.

The bill is scheduled for a House vote Tuesday. It was introduced earlier this month, a little more than a year after Delaware began recognizing same-sex civil unions.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has promised to sign the bill if it passes the House and then wins Senate approval.

Under the proposal, no new civil unions would be performed after July 1. Existing civil unions would be converted to marriages over the coming year.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Opponents of a bill legalizing gay marriage in Delaware are making their voices heard.

Hundreds of opponents of same-sex marriage gathered Thursday at Legislative Hall to urge lawmakers to vote against the bill.

The opposition rally came one day after the measure cleared a House committee and was sent to the full House, which is expected to vote next week.

Democratic Gov. Jack Markell has promised to sign the bill if it passes the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are set to begin consideration of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

The legislation, which Gov. Jack Markell has pledged to sign if passed by lawmakers, was scheduled for discussion Wednesday in the House Administration Committee.

The measure comes a little more than a year after Delaware first began recognizing same-sex civil unions.

The US Supreme Court has finished the arguments from two major cases that could have sweeping ramifications for same-sex marriage advocates. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush has reaction to the implications of a Court decision that is expected by the end of June.

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Delaware's attorney general has joined 13 colleagues from other states in urging the U.S. Supreme Court to declare a California ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

Attorney General Beau Biden said Thursday that Delaware joined in a filing a brief with the Supreme Court siding with opponents of California's same-sex marriage ban.