Home' South Florida Gay News : SFGN 081215 Contents 8 // 8.12.2015 // SFGN.com //
Baltimore Police Make Arrest In
Murder Of Trans Woman
The Washington Blade reports that Baltimore police made
an arrest in connection with the murder of Mia Henderson
Shawn Oliver, 44 was charged with first and second-
degree murder and first-degree assault in the death of Mia
The Baltimore Sun cites documents alleging that Oliver
stabbed Henderson in the chest arms and back in July of 2014,
leaving her body in an alley in the 3400 block of Piedmont
Avenue near Lake Ashburton.
Oliver was connected to the murder through DNA
evidence found under Henderson’s fingernails, said Interim
Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis in a conference.
Representatives of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender
Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland and
Sistas of the “T” attended the press conference alongside
Henderson’s murder comes a few weeks after the body
of another trans woman, Kandy Hall, was found in a field in
Northeast Baltimore. Police have not yet made any arrests in
Arkansas AG: Unclear Whether JPs
Must Officiate Gay Weddings
(AP) It's unclear whether courts would require a justice of
the peace to officiate over a same-sex wedding, even though
clerks are required to issue licenses to gay couples, Arkansas
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said Wednesday.
The Republican attorney general said in a non-binding
advisory opinion that JPs - who are elected on counties'
governing boards - could use a new religious objections law
as a defense if they refuse to perform gay weddings. But
Rutledge said it's unclear whether courts would agree with
"The threshold question would be whether a JP in this
circumstance could successfully show that requiring him or
her to solemnize a same-sex marriage would be a 'substantial
burden' on the JP's religious exercise," Rutledge wrote.
Under Arkansas law, justices of the peace- along with other
elected officials such as judges, the governor and mayors - are
allowed to officiate over weddings but it's not a required part
of their official duties. Rutledge noted that JPs can decide to
not perform weddings at all.
Rutledge in June told county clerks they were required to
issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples who requested
them after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage
Arkansas lawmakers earlier this year approved a law that
prevents the government from infringing on someone's
religious beliefs without a compelling interest, a measure that
was rewritten in the final days of the legislative session over
concerns that an initial version was anti-gay.
Holly Dickson, legal director for the American Civil Liberties
Union of Arkansas, said JPs who don't want to perform same-
sex weddings shouldn't officiate any since it's not a required
part of their job.
"But if they choose to perform marriages, they can't refuse
to perform marriages for same-sex couples because it would
violate equal protection," she said.
Hate Group Files Suit in Support of
(EDGE) The Kentucky County Clerk who made headlines
last month for being filmed denying to allow a gay couple to
file an application for a marriage license is suing Governor
Steve Beshear for what she alleges is unconstitutional
discrimination. The lawsuit was filed on her behalf by the
Liberty Counsel, which has been designated by the Southern
Poverty Law Center as an active anti-gay hate group.
Liberty Counsel is accusing the governor of "unlawfully
picking and choosing the conscience-based exemptions to
marriage that he deems acceptable."
"The plaintiffs in this case only sought licenses from Ms.
Davis after learning of her religious objections to same-sex
'marriage,' and they refuse to obtain a license elsewhere,"
Liberty Counsel's Founder and Director Mat Staver said in a
statement released by his group Monday. "Just as Justice Alito
predicted in his dissent in Obergfell, secularists are trying to
'stamp out every vestige of dissent' by targeting people of
faith who do not agree with same-sex 'marriage.'"
The Liberty Counsel has been designated an anti-gay hate
group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In addition to
fighting marriage equality and hate crime legislation, they
have been active proponents of reparative therapy practices,
and run the "Change is Possible" campaign with Parents and
Friends of Ex-Gays who say they've changed from gay to
Texas AG Faces Contempt Hearing
Over Gay Marriage Rights
(AP) A federal judge has ordered Texas Attorney General
Ken Paxton to explain why he should not be held in contempt
for enforcing state laws that impede gay marriage rights.
Paxton has been ordered to appear in a federal court
Wednesday after a Houston gay man was not provided an
amended death certificate for his husband.
The hearing is to determine whether Paxton and a top
Texas Department of State Health Services official should be
held in contempt after potentially disobeying a July 7 court
order barring the state from enforcing any laws that impede
the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision recognizing gay
The court order comes two days after Paxton was booked
on securities fraud charges.
Compiled by Jillian Melero
S.C. State Shouldn't Pay Gay
Marriage Lawyer Fees
(AP) South Carolina's chief prosecutor says the
state shouldn't have to pay legal fees for a couple
who challenged the state's gay marriage ban.
Attorney General Alan Wilson says in papers
filed Wednesday he was merely defending the law
of the land as it stood before the U.S . Supreme
Court issued its ruling on gay marriage in late
Attorneys for Colleen Condon and her partner
Nichols Bleckley sued last year to get a marriage
license. They have asked to be reimbursed
$153,000 in legal costs.
Wilson's response pertains only to Condon and
Bleckley. Lawyers for another couple who sued
over the ban are also seeking almost $92,000 in
attorney fees and court costs.
Judges can order losing parties to pay opponents'
fees, especially in civil rights cases.
Mia Henderson. Facebook.
Liberty Counsel. Facebook.
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