Uptown Messenger/Mid-City Messenger

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What’s at stake for same-sex marriage Friday in New Orleans

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 10:44 PM

John Denison of the Forum for Equality introduces attorneys and plaintiffs in gay-marriage cases from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi that will be heard Jan. 9 by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. - ROBERT MORRIS | UPTOWN MESSENGER
  • ROBERT MORRIS | UPTOWN MESSENGER
  • John Denison of the Forum for Equality introduces attorneys and plaintiffs in gay-marriage cases from Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi that will be heard Jan. 9 by the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The fight for same-sex marriage in three of the deepest Deep South states – Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas – will have a crucial moment on the battlefield Friday before the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, although even the most optimistic scenarios for legal same-sex marriage still place it weeks or months away.

Starting at 9 a.m., a three-judge panel in the federal court will hear oral arguments challenging bans on same-sex marriage in separate cases from each state. Each state’s case is allotted an hour of discussion, with the hearing expected to be finished by noon.

The underlying issues in each states’ cases are the same, attorneys and advocates said in a Thursday night briefing for supporters at Cathedral Creative in the Central Business District, about two blocks from the federal courthouse. Each case focuses on whether the 14th Amendment of the Constitution allows the state to deny marriage to some couples based on their gender – whether in the case of issuing licenses in-state or recognizing marriage licenses issued out of state – and all three states are expected to have the same decision, whichever way it goes.

“If Texas’s ban violates equal protection, so does Louisiana’s,” said Chris Otten, chair-elect of the Louisiana-based Forum for Equality. “If that ban is valid, then almost certainly Louisiana’s would be.”

Joce Pritchett, a plaintiff in the Mississippi case, framed the cases in terms of the question her young daughter Grace recently posed as to why Pritchett and partner Carla Webb aren’t married like other parents.

“It seems so simple to Grace that laws that hurt people should be changed,” Pritchett said. “It’s simple to us, too.”

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Gambit announces partnership with Uptown Messenger and Mid-City Messenger

Posted By on Thu, May 23, 2013 at 2:00 PM

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Gambit and Robert Morris, founder of the websites Uptown Messenger and Mid-City Messenger, have entered into a newsgathering partnership. Stories from Uptown and Mid-City Messenger will appear in the print edition of Gambit, while stories from Gambit and BlogofNewOrleans.com that may be of interest to Messenger readers will be excerpted online. In addition, long-form stories based on reporting in Uptown and Mid-City Messenger will appear in Gambit.

Uptown Messenger was launched in September 2010 by Morris and his wife, photographer Sabree Hill. Last January, Morris launched Mid-City Messenger with reporter Marta Jewson. Both websites cover government and politics, crime, business and community events.

Morris began his journalism career in 2003 as a reporter for a weekly newspaper in his hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss. He has worked for the Palatka (Fla.) Daily News and The Courier in Houma, La. Most recently, he worked for The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C. — first as a reporter covering crime, politics and special investigations and finally as editorial page editor.

Jewson, who majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was an intern at Gambit and has reported on education for The Lens. She also is a freelance photographer.

“Everyone at Gambit is a big fan of the professionalism and thoroughness Robert and Marta have achieved with the Messenger websites,” said Gambit editor Kevin Allman, “and we’re looking forward to bringing their original reporting to a print audience.”

“I’ve been an avid reader of Gambit since long before I became a journalist, and I love its constant advocacy for the city of New Orleans,” Morris said. “I’m very excited for the opportunity to share the reporting of Uptown Messenger and Mid-City Messenger with Gambit’s audiences and expand it in print form.”

Both Gambit and Uptown Messenger will continue their ongoing news partnerships with WWL-TV as well.

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