Earlier this week the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal made by Virgina’s bigoted Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the case of McDonald v. Moose, which involved Virginia’s sodomy law ending The Cooch’s puritan reign f sexual terror in that sate once and for all. Also this week SCOTUS refused to hear the appeal of a University of Toledo Human Resources staffer Crystal Dixon who was fired for writing an an op-ed that condemned the term “civil-rights” and distaste for comparisons between civil rights struggles of gay people and those of African Americans.
Two major wins for the LGBT community. But that’s not the end of the line for gay rights cases and the Supreme Court—several cases with important consequences are still under consideration.
Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock
New Mexico photographer Elaine Huguein refused to shoot the wedding of a lesbian couple, and in doing so violated the state’s law banning discrimination in public accommodations. Huguein maintained her religious beliefs should trump local ordinances, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled in August that her First Amendment rights weren’t violated and that “[businesses that] choose to be public accommodations must comply” with law. The court stated Huguein’s company could still “post a disclaimer on their website or in their studio advertising that they oppose same-sex marriage.”
If SCOTUS hears Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock, the case could seriously impact anti-discrimination laws nationwide.
Pickup v. Brown
The notoriously anti-gay legal hate group the Liberty Counsel is appealing California’s new ban on reparative therapy for minors. In late August, a U.S. Court of Appeals panel reversed an injunction against instituting the ban until the appeal had been reviews, stating that the law “is neither vague nor overbroad, and does not violate parents’ fundamental rights.” Right now, Liberty Counsel is requesting a review of the panel’s decision, but Pickup v. Brown could find its way to the Supremes soon enough.
If it does, it could impact similar efforts to ban conversion therapy in other states.
Other LGBT related cases which make their way to the Supreme Court are 35 major lawsuits in 19 states all challenging state bans on marriage equality.
The farthest along and most likely to reach the Supreme Court first is one by Lambda Legal out of Nevada. That case, Sevcik v Sandoval, was dismissed at the federal district court level but Lambda has an appeal pending before the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and briefing closes on or two weeks after November 18.
A second lawsuit, Jackson v Abercrombie, against Hawaii’s ban on same-sex marriage, has final briefs due to the Ninth Circuit on December 23 or two weeks thereafter. Depending on how quickly the Ninth Circuit moves on the cases, they could potentially be appealed to the Supreme Court this session but they would likely be heard next session.
We spent years and millions upon millions of dollars trying to change “hearts and minds” and wrongly trying to sway the popular vote. But after Prop 8 and DOMA in the end now it seems that that strategy was wrong, and the courts and America’s legal system was always the way to go.