OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Lawsuits
Here’s a bit of oddness. Yvonne Moore, a southern Baptist in Washington, D.C. sued her church for performing a same-sex union ceremony back in 2007.
Moore, who is clearly not down with gay rights, attended the ceremony for some reason, found it “totally disgusting,” and then sought $250,000 in compensation—the amount she estimated she had donated to the church over her 40 years as a parishioner. She later dropped the lawsuit after talking to her pastor (and presumably her lawyer).
While the whole thing is pretty amusing in its sheer craziness, it does a pretty good job at illustrating how fearful and misinformed some people are about gay relationships; to actually turn her back on her parish of 40 years and file the paperwork to sue it for $250,000 shows an irrational and deeply emotional reaction to what’s ultimately not a very big deal. After all, this ceremony had nothing to do with Ms. Moore in the first place, but years of casual—and societally supported—homophobia results in exactly these sorts of actions. Unless people stand up to casual homophobia, otherwise kind people are capable of astonishingly crass bigotry.
Clay Greene and Harold Scull, an elderly gay couple in Sonoma County, California, thought they had all their inheritance and legal paperwork sorted out. They couldn’t legally marry, but they had named each other in their wills, giving each other powers of attorney, and granted themselves control over medical decisions should something happen.
According to a lawsuit filed by Clay and the NCLR, things couldn’t have gone more wrong.
Tragically, Harold, aged 88, was hospitalized after falling on the front steps of the couple’s home. Not only was Clay (age 77) barred from seeing his partner of 20 years in the hospital because they weren’t legally family, but health workers forcibly placed the two in separate nursing homes. The County of Sonoma, deeming Harold incapable to care for himself and dismissing his relationship to Clay as “roommates,” seized and auctioned off the couple’s property and possessions. Harold died three months later, without Clay by his side. Clay is now without his partner, home, or any of the possessions that they had accumulated over their lifetime together.
Same-sex marriage is very, very important.
The case goes to court on July 16th.
- Greene v. County of Sonoma et al. [NCLR]
- Meet Harold and Clay [NCLR]
- Justice for Clay Greene and Harold of Sonoma County, CA [Facebook Group]
eHarmony, a popular online matchmaking service, has settled a lawsuit regarding their refusal to match same-sex couples. The California-based company was taken to court two years ago over its heterosexual-only policy, with the company steadfastly refusing to have any part in matching gay couples throughout most of the suit.
Neil Clark Warren, an evangelical Christian and eHarmony’s founder, said that the company was not discriminating against gays, but that their patented compatibility formulae were based exclusively on heterosexual married couples and therefore not applicable to same-sex partners. (Apparently, we gays prefer that our partners dislike all our goals, hobbies, and personal tastes; life’s more difficult that way!)
Despite the mysteriousness of us gay couples, the company ultimately agreed to open a second website, called Compatible Partners, which offers same-sex matchmaking. Under the terms of the settlement, the eHarmony website will now automatically direct gay singles to their separate, but equivalent site and state that it’s “brought to you by eHarmony.”
Well, that’s great news for everyone seeking a same-sex partner! Now you too can be begrudgingly accepted by a service that thinks your pursuit for love is so different from heterosexuals that they probably shouldn’t bother at all.
An amusingly bizarre rift over same-sex blessings in the Anglican Church has felt its latest tremor after a court decision late last month.
Harnessing the healing power of embittered legal conflict, four Anglican parishes sued the Diocese in May over a property battle stemming from a disagreement about same-sex blessings and other differences of very, very little significance. (The lawsuit was heartily endorsed by Jesus himself, purportedly.)
Well, now the court has reached its verdict. The land and buildings claimed by St. John’s Shaughnessy, St. Matthew’s, St. Matthias, and St. Luke’s parishes are rightfully the property of the Diocese, and the breakaway parishes can not seize them for themselves.
Having settled the property dispute, all sides have now decided to put their disagreements behind them and rejoin, strengthened by a renewed commitment to sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry, and offering comfort to the less fortunate…
Hahaha! Ah, I’m just pulling your leg. They’re totally still exchanging petty insults and stuff.
Canadian Blood Services is suing Kyle Freeman, a perfectly healthy gay man, for donating blood against CBS policy. Freeman had admitted to lying on the donation forms, which asks all men to reveal their sexual orientation, because he had been recently tested as clean for blood-borne diseases. While the admission was made in an anonymous email, CBS launched an investigation, eventually linking the email to its sender.
Canada permanently bans all gay men from donating blood, even if they practice safe sex or are in monogamous relationships. Interestingly, this does not apply to women who have had unprotected sex with bisexual men, despite them being at the same risk.
The ban, of course, has its share of critics, including none other than the American Red Cross, which called gay blood bans “medically and scientifically unwarranted” in 2007—and statistics support them. Nevertheless, Canadian Blood Services has repeatedly refused to lift the policy and replace it with one involving temporary deferrals based on unsafe sexual behaviours instead of permanent bans over sexual orientation.
CBS says it bans donors which they deem to be high-risk, because their extensive blood screening process cannot yet detect malaria and the human version of mad cow disease. (Both of which, I guess, are rampant throughout the gay community… Moo.)
Kyle Freeman is counter-suing for pain, humiliation, and degradation suffered over being banned for being gay.
- Blood services sues gay donor [Canoe.ca]
- Ontario man makes charter challenge against blood-donation screening [Ottawa Citizen]
Claire L’Heureux-Dube, a former Supreme Court judge, has predicted that the courts will toss out any arguments linking same-sex marriage to a polygamist sect in Canada.
Two men currently facing charges related to a religious cult in Bountiful, British Columbia have already indicated that they will invoke gay marriage as an argument defending their dozens of wives.
“It is contrary to the equality of the sexes,” L’Heureux-Dube said to the press, noting that in the United States these men would be charged with sexual exploitation rather than simply having multiple spouses. Indeed, the polygamy charges in Bountiful appear to be a blanket charge for greater accusations of incest and exploitation.
So where do the gays come in all of this? Beats me! I’ve only heard the argument from those wacky anti-gay lobbyists, not the actual connection.
- Former top court judge doesn’t buy polygamy argument [Canada.com]
The leaders of a religious, polygamous sect in Bountiful, British Columbia will use same-sex marriage as a court defense in a trial that could see them jailed for having up to 20 wives. Winston Blackmore and James Oler will claim that since gay couples can wed legally, polygamy laws should be struck down as invalid.
Anti-gay groups are already somersaulting on the “I told you so” trampoline, blaming the gays for this whole situation. (I think they’ve also got a “dog marriage” cartwheel mat, “incestuous marriage” trapeze ropes, and other acrobatic devices for each claim in their Hall of Ridiculous Arguments™.)
A pet peeve of mine involves the idea that legalizing same-sex marriage somehow changed the definition of marriage and therefore makes gays responsible for this whole polygamous marriage discussion. Scoff.
The rights and legalities of marriage have remained identical after same-sex marriage. I’m betting the story with polygamy would be a tad different, as virtually every law involving cohabitation would likely have to change. Joint tax returns, pension transfer, guardian rights, maternity/paternity rights, GST rebates, family allowance, employment insurance… I’m no lawyer, but it would be a massive, exhaustive update. Same-sex couples have demanded nothing of the sort, and polygamous sects have been pushing for all this long before same-sex marriage was ever up for discussion.
Still, ignoring the fact that the polygamy lawsuit is just an ostensible charge for larger allegations of abuse, lack of consent, and sexual relations with minors, the main difference between this situation and the one that brought about same-sex marriage is simple. People do not choose their sexual orientation, but they can absolutely choose their crazy religious sect.
Wait—I thought of another! “Paedophilic marriage” uneven bars.
Orville Nichols, a civil marriage commissioner from Saskatchewan, is suing the provincial government over a requirement to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Nichols was fined $2,500 last May for refusing to perform a marriage for a couple because they were gay. Nichols now says that the province is violating his religious beliefs and that he should be allowed to deny his services to whomever he pleases, adding that the province’s requirement to serve everyone equally is an icy, icy, all ’round super treacherous slope. His lawer, Philip Fourle, explains:
What is next? Will the government be invading churches with their laws and forcing pastors and ministers and priests in churches to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies?
Ah, yes. Ever since I was a wee lad, I always imagined my special wedding day being held in a church that thinks I’m a horrible, horrible sinner—priest nervously presiding over us at gunpoint… government agents standing cross-armed by the newly kicked-in cathedral door. But that’s not terrifically likely.
See, religious institutions are exempt from Canada’s Charter of Rights, and may deny services to whomever they wish. Many religions refuse to wed inter-faith couples unless one converts, and are well within their legal rights to do so. Likewise, churches are not required to marry same-sex couples.
But here’s the thing: A civil marriage commissioner is acting on behalf of the state. Nichols is not an ambassador of his religion and he may not deny his public service to anyone based on their religion, race, disability, or sexual orientation.
So, basically, if this case succeeds, that means I also get to deny my services to whomever I want. So watch out, Bluetooth headset users! Your day is coming.
- Saskatchewan government sued over same-sex marriage rites [National Post]
- Marriage official sues Sask. government over same-sex unions [Edmonton Journal]
Susan Comstock, the Ontario woman who sued her employee union over their support of same-sex marriage, has lost her case—again. The Federal Court of Appeal sided with an earlier court ruling saying that the Public Service Alliance of Canada did not violate Ms. Comstock’s religious rights when it used a fraction of its union dues to promote social justice programs.
Ms. Comstock brought up the lawsuit in 2006, furious at her union for supporting equality for its gay members. She said that having even one penny of her union dues spent in support of same-sex marriage violated her religious beliefs. Of course, for this claim to work, one’s religious beliefs would be legally powerful enough to dictate the financial decisions of all organisations to which you belong, and that would just be nutty.
Still, Ms. Comstock has 60 days to decide if she wants to bring this case to the Supreme Court. Considering her previous displays of delightfully bumptious litigation, I wouldn’t be that surprised if she does.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must sue my library. They used my membership fee to stock a dishy romance novel without a shirtless pirate on the cover. A spit in the face to literary tradition!
- Catholic loses union appeal [Canada.com]
Here’s something new: Three residents from the Greek island of Lesbos are suing the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece for using the term “Lesbian” in their title. Dimitris Lambrou, one of the plantiffs, explains:
My sister can’t say she is a Lesbian. Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos.
The court papers says that Greece is so ashamed by the word Lesbian that they’ve changed the island name to Mytilini, after its capital. Still, if the lawsuit is successful, the islanders plan to bring about similar lawsuits internationally.
So, I guess that means we should start looking for a new word for gay women—just in case.
I suggest “Albertan.”
Monroe County in New York State is appealing last month’s court ruling that declared Canadian same-sex marriages must be recognized in the state.
Maggie Brooks, a Republican official, called the five-judge, unanimous court ruling a “misinterpretation of the law,” adding “we’re letting people in Ontario, Canada define marriage for people who live in New York State.”
Patricia Martinez and her wife, Lisa Golden, brought the original case to court after Partricia’s employer refused to extend spousal health benefits to Lisa. While they aren’t surprised that the Republicans are trying to take such basic legal equalities away, they say they’ll always have each other:
We still view our marriage as legitimate. No court decision will devalue or negate what our marriage means to us.
Good on you! I wish them the best of luck.
- Canadian same-sex marriage faces U.S. challenge [Times Colonist]
After a three year battle, an appeals court in New York has ruled that Canadian same-sex marriages are valid in the state and must be respected by company spousal health plans.
The ruling means that Patricia Martinez—a supervisor at Monroe Community College in Rochester—may now extend spousal benefits to her wife, Lisa Ann Golden, just like any heterosexual employee. Patricia sued the college for these benefits in 2005, but a lower court sided with the college, arguing that the couple’s Canadian same-sex marriage was not a real marriage.
After the appeals ruling, several hundred thousand traditional families throughout the state spontaneously detonated.
Three French nationals have lost their defamation lawsuit against Wikipedia. The three sued Wikipedia for 69,000 euros each after an article about them claimed they were gay activists.
Wait… Being called a gay activist could be worth €69k in reparation? I know the case lost in France, but it’s gotta be uncontested in Canada! If I’m play my cards right, Cha-ching!
The excruciatingly slow rickshaw of justice has, at last, stated the obvious. Susan Comstock, who decided to sue her union over its support of same-sex marriage, has lost her case.
The poor dear brought her union to court last year, claiming that her religious beliefs were violated by the Public Service Alliance of Canada‘s support of the federal same-sex marriage bill. Of course, that claim assumed one’s religious rights include single-handedly deciding the financial spending of all organizations you belong to, which is just nutty. Unless you happen to be Phil Horgan, president of the Catholic Civil Rights League, and the man who represented Comstock:
I think [the ruling] is indicative of a problem Canadians will have in addressing what is becoming a somewhat oppressive environment. The reach of these decisions is only starting to be felt.
Ooh! A chilling warning of future cases.
Hey, does this mean I can sue Blockbuster Video for using part of my membership fee to stock copies of Runaway Bride? I can’t begin to describe how much that offends me.
Remember George Hislop? He’s involved in a lengthy court battle to get same-sex survivor’s benefits. And he’s dead.
Sadly, Hislop died in October 2005 while waiting for the supreme court’s decision. But luckily for him, the final ruling is coming tomorrow! At last! Uh, not that there’s much he could do with his partner’s pension if it’s awarded now. A good tombstone polishing, maybe.
Incidentally, our beloved federal government is the party fighting the case, arguing that the elderly surviving partners of gay relationships should not be awarded their partner’s pensions retroactively. After all, it’s not like gay people have ever paid money into the Canada Pension Plan. Oh—wait…
Think you can be too old for a lengthy court battle? Think again! George Hislop’s class-action suit to receive same-sex survivor benefits will face the Supreme Court of Canada tomorrow. The kicker? If Hislop gets to keep his partner’s pension, he won’t be able to enjoy it; he died in October at 78.
To make matters even more interesting, the federal government is actually fighting the deceased’s cause, saying it could set a precedent and cost taxpayers $80,000,000 or more. This is, of course, glossing over the fact that this figure (hmm… heavily inflated, you think?) was pretty much paid for by the same-sex couples themselves, through years and years of payments into the Canada Pension Plan. You know, because they just loved paying money into plans that only heterosexuals can benefit from.
Luckily, Doug Elliot, the lawyer representing Hislop, is painting a more realistic picture for the misguided feddies.
There would be no significant impact on the CPP—no increase in premiums or on benefits paid to anyone else. But the extra monthly support would make a huge difference for several claimants who desperately need it.
Well, a huge difference to the non-deceased claimants, at least. Although, I guess the estates of the others could always decorate up their headstones a little…
- Epic battle brewing for same-sex survivor benefits [Globe and Mail]
- Gay rights pioneer’s fight continues after death [CTV News]