same-sex marriage

A Senate election in Alabama. A Republican tax bill moving through Congress. Violent protests in the Middle East following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

What could these widely disparate matters have in common, besides heavy news coverage? It turns out that they all have enabled President Trump to send a message to one distinct and crucial category of his supporters.

Updated at 5:50 a.m. ET

Australia's Parliament has voted to approve same-sex marriage following a protracted and often bitter debate that was finally settled in a nationwide referendum last month that overwhelmingly backed the move.

In the capital Canberra, applause welled up from the House gallery after the chamber on Thursday followed Australia's Senate in approving the Marriage Amendment Bill of 2017.

David Ermold once again stepped inside the Rowan County, Ky., courthouse on Wednesday, except this time he wasn't asking for a marriage license — he was asking for Kim Davis' job. She is the Rowan County clerk who refused Ermold and his partner, among other couples, a marriage license on the basis of her religious beliefs against same-sex marriage.

Updated on Dec. 6 at 4:50 p.m. ET

The cake shop case before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday promises to be more than just a food fight.

At issue is whether Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., has a constitutional right to refuse to create a cake for a same-sex couple. Part of Phillips' argument is that his First Amendment rights, including his artistic expression, would be compromised if he made a cake for a same-sex wedding.

Australian Member of Parliament Tim Wilson seems to have become the first lawmaker to propose from the House floor, asking his longtime partner Ryan Bolger (who was seated in the gallery) to marry him as the chamber debated legalizing same-sex marriage.

Every Supreme Court term there is at least one case that gets people's blood up. A case on which just about everyone has an opinion, often a ferocious opinion. That case comes before the justices Tuesday.

Meredith and Martha Holley-Miers live in a brick row house in Washington, D.C. with their two kids and a big rainbow flag in front. The couple has been legally married for seven years — and together for 14 years.

When they decided to have a baby, they "went through a lot of time and a lot of money and a lot of heartache trying to get pregnant," Martha says. They used an anonymous sperm donor, and it took them many months. When Martha gave birth to daughter Janey — now a bubbly 8-year-old — in 2009, they knew that they'd need to put forth yet more time, money, and heartache.

Bedecked in fondant and flowers, modern wedding cakes are the centerpiece of the marriage feast — an edible form of art. But are they also an expression of free speech?

That is the question the Supreme Court will consider this fall when it hears the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a custom wedding cake for a gay couple because he said it would violate his religious beliefs.

"You'd think cake would be apolitical, and yet here we are," muses baker Catherine George of Catherine George Cakes.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

Edith Windsor loved Thea Spyer. For nearly half a century, the two were partners and eventually were legally married as well. When Spyer died in 2009, though, the federal government didn't recognize that love on Windsor's tax forms, expecting her to pay more than $350,000 in estate taxes.

Same-sex marriage will be legal in Australia by Christmas, the country's attorney general says. But the question is, how will that happen? The push for a plebiscite has stalled in the Senate, forcing the government to plan for a potential postal vote on the issue.

From Australia's ABC:

"It would cost $122 million and instead of being run by the Electoral Commission, it would be conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

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