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Remember September: Marriages, Monuments, and Mandates

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By Brett Snider, Esq. on September 26, 2013 3:58 PM

During September, the D.C. Circuit has seen marriages increase, monuments tumble, and heard oral arguments on mandates.

All of this while continuing the court's incredible dry spell of published opinions that threatens to ruin September's groove.

So with the 21st night of September behind us, let's remember the love and loss D.C. shared (i.e., an excuse to play Earth, Wind, and Fire's "September"):

D.C. Court Expands for Same-Sex Weddings

The D.C. Superior Court, in response to SCOTUS' ruling in Windsor in July, had to open its doors a bit wider to accommodate a surge of same-sex weddings in the nation's capital.

According to The Washington Post, the D.C. Superior Court had to expand its wedding facilities in mid-September and "temporarily open a second wedding chapel" to meet the deluge of LGBT matrimony.

D.C. has allowed same-sex marriages since 2010, with the D.C. Circuit affirming the District's marriage equality law over various legal challenges.

Now with DOMA sufficiently crippled, gay couples have understandably been more enthused about getting married in D.C., with double the number of marriages in July and August than before Windsor, reports the Post.

Ten Commandments Take a Hit

On Monday, a large granite monument bearing the Ten Commandments was toppled -- allegedly by vandals -- in close vicinity to the U.S. Supreme Court, reports The Associated Press.

Other circuits have been far more vocal than the D.C. Circuit on the subject of moving Ten Commandment-bearing monuments, but we're certain that they didn't approve of the wanton tablet-tipping.

Oral Arguments in Obamacare Mandate Case

Speaking of religious freedom, the D.C. Circuit did do some actual work this Tuesday, as a three-judge panel (Brown, Edwards, and Randolph) heard arguments in Gilardi v. HHS, another challenge to Obamacare's contraceptive mandate.

Francis Manion told The Moral Liberal about his experience before the court, where he argued for the plaintiffs' rights to oppose the mandate in accordance with their Catholic faith, much like Jewish or Muslim businesses could rebuke a law requiring all restaurants to sell pork.

That un-Kosher metaphor aside, the case does present another conflict in the current circuit split over applying RFRA to corporations. A decision may determine whether the D.C. Circuit views corporations as having religious freedom rights under the First Amendment. Think a holier -- or maybe unholier -- Citizens United.

After such a groovy and lax September, hopefully this mood will last until December.

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