Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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Marriage equality advocates filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging an executive order Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) signed last month. The complaint alleges that Jindal acted beyond his constitutional authority as governor in signing the order, known as the "Marriage and Conscience Order."

Jindal signed the order after a legislative proposal that would have prevented the government from taking action against individuals or business for their religiously-motivated opposition to same-sex marriage failed to advance in the state House.

Though there was some confusion what exactly the order would do when it was initially signed, Tuesday's complaint alleges that, in light of the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision, it would create a special class of people who would be allowed to deny gay couples their constitutionally-protected right to marry.

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Rather than grant licenses to gay couples in light of the Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage, at least two county clerks in Kentucky are not issuing marriage licenses to any couples -- gay or straight -- for the time being.

The clerks offices of Casey County and Rowan County confirmed to TPM Tuesday that at the moment the clerks are not granting any marriage licenses. The Clinton County clerks office would only tell TPM "no comment" when repeatedly asked whether marriage licenses of any type were being issued there.

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis told The Courier-Journal that his religious convictions precluded him from granting same-sex marriage licenses to gay couples and that according to the county attorney, he could refuse licenses to anyone besides minors, who are required to have licenses in the counties where they live.

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Last week’s Supreme Court decision declaring marriage a constitutional right for same-sex couples has left gay marriage foes grasping at straws. While some states stepped out of the way so gay couples could marry, others have slow-rolled implementing the Supreme Court's ruling, using legal procedural maneuvers, religious freedom arguments, or even by contemplating giving up on marriage altogether.

Here are the five main ways gay marriage foes are resisting the Supreme Court's decision.

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With the Texas attorney general suggesting local officials with religious objections can opt out of granting gay marriage licenses, a state Democratic lawmaker is calling on the Department of Justice to monitor Texas' implementation of the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

"Officials who take an oath to uphold the Constitution should not be able to deny Texans' constitution rights with the backing of state legal guidance," state Sen. Rodney Ellis wrote to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch Monday.

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Over the weekend, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton suggested that local clerks with religious objections could opt-out of granting marriage licenses to gay couples in light of the Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage. But at least one Texas clerk who opposes gay marriage on religious grounds doesn't see a need for the exemption.

“Personally, same-sex marriage is a contradiction to my faith and belief that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Denton County Clerk Juli Luke said in a statement Sunday, according to the the Denton Record-Chronicle. “However, first and foremost, I took an oath on my family Bible to uphold the law, and as an elected public official, my personal belief cannot prevent me from issuing the licenses as required.”

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While a case the Supreme Court decided in favor of the death penalty Monday focused on the use of a singular execution drug, Justice Stephen Breyer broke new ground in a dissent joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing that it was “highly likely” that capital punishment as a whole violated the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

“[R]ather than try to patch up the death penalty’s legal wounds one at a time, I would ask for full briefing on a more basic question: whether the death penalty violates the Constitution," Breyer wrote.

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A special panel called to potentially discipline an African-American Kansas lawmaker for calling her colleagues racist voted unanimously to dismiss the complaint, but not without things getting "wild," according to local news reports.

State Rep. Valdenia Winn, a Democrat from Kansas City, faced possibly being censured or even expelled from the statehouse for what her fellow lawmakers said were inflammatory remarks. In the special hearing called Friday to weigh a possible punishment that the committee could have advanced to the House floor for a vote, the panel instead chose to dismiss the complaint.

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Leading LGBT groups were planning for all contingencies that could have come out of Friday's Supreme Court gay marriage decision. But just because the high court granted them a win doesn't mean their work is over.

“There we will be a lot of work by a lot of different people to enforce a Supreme Court victory,” Camilla Taylor, Lambda Legal’s Marriage Project Director, told TPM earlier this week before the decision.

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Before the Supreme Court ruled Friday that marriage was a constitutional right same-sex couples, 15 states were not granting gay couples marriage licenses:











North Dakota


South Dakota



The gay marriage bans in Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee were at stake in the case the Supreme Court decided Friday, Obergefell v. Hodges. The marriage bans in Alabama, Kansas, and Missouri were in flux due to state resistance to previous court rulings against the measures. The marriage bans in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Texas were in effect before the Supreme Court's ruling Friday.

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Chief Justice John Roberts does not "begrudge" people for celebrating Friday's Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. But, he warned, the decision was also actually a loss for gay rights advocates.

"Indeed, however heartened the proponents of same-sex marriage might be on this day, it is worth acknowledging what they have lost, and lost forever: the opportunity to win the true acceptance that comes from persuading their fellow citizens of the justice of their cause," Roberts wrote in his dissent. "And they lose this just when the winds of change were freshening at their backs."

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