THE US has experienced another momentous week in LGBTI rights, with multiple court rulings addressing gay marriage bans giving advocates reasons to both celebrate and to despair.
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama signed a new executive order that prevents government contractors from discriminating against LGBTI workers, without any religious exemptions.
The US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division has also urged state legislators to strike down HIV criminalisation laws and reduce stigma surrounding HIV-positive people, as reported by Think Progress.
In state news, US District Court Judge Raymond P. Moore struck down Colorado’s same-sex marriage ban on the basis that it violated the US Constitution’s Equal Protection and Due Process clauses, according to The Advocate.
In his ruling, Moore said, “marriage is a fundamental right and that the Challenged Laws impermissibly infringe upon that right.”
The ruling did little to address the inconsistencies between issuances of marriage licences by different counties in the states.
In the neighbouring state of Utah, Huffington Post has reported that the US Supreme Court granted an emergency appeal to stay on a court ruling that ordered the state recognise hundreds of same-sex marriages that had been performed.
Over in Oklahoma, a decade-long fight between two same-sex couples and the state’s courts ended in a victory for marriage equality. LGBTQ Nation reported that a three-judge panel of the US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Oklahoma’s ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional.
In the nation’s deep south, LGBTQ Nation reported that US District Court Judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana has signalled he no longer needed to hear arguments in court that challenge the state’s gay marriage ban and that he was ready to make a ruling on its constitutionality.
Meanwhile, Florida appears to be on the verge of legalising gay marriages after a county judge ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, according to The Dallas Voice.
However, Monroe County Chief Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia issued a stay on his ruling after Attorney-General Pam Bondi announced that the state would launch an appeal. Bondi’s office has since received thousands of signed petitions from marriage equality advocates to not challenge Garcia’s ruling.
The state’s Republican Senator Marco Rubio has also drawn criticism following his remarks accusing marriage equality advocates of being “intolerant”, as reported by Think Progress.
“There is a growing intolerance on this issue, intolerance towards those who continue to support traditional marriage,” the presidential candidate said in a speech at Catholic University.
“This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy.”