Daily News – Gay Pride Parade marchers celebrate 1-year anniversary of same-sex marriage law

Gay Pride Parade marchers celebrate 1-year anniversary of same-sex marriage law
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn covers route three times with new spouse Kim Catullo

Sunday, June 24, 2012, 9:51 PM


Gay Pride Parade marchers show their true colors on festive Fifth Ave. Sunday.

Thousands of overjoyed celebrants marched in the city’s gay pride parade Sunday, marking the first anniversary since same-sex marriage was legalized in New York.

Floats, politicians and dancers waving rainbow-colored flags got huge cheers from spectators jamming sidewalks on Fifth Ave.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn marched the entire 32-block route three times with her new spouse, Kim Catullo. They joined Gov. Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg, who kicked off the parade.

“It’s thrilling,” Quinn said before her final run. “For so long we were fighting to get marriage equality, and now that we have had it for a year, it’s hard to believe.”

The route was filled with newly married same-sex couples, including a group cheering behind Cuomo and his Food Network star girlfriend, Sandra Lee. Cuomo signed legislation one year ago to the day legalizing same-sex marriage.


“Marriage equality meant so much to so many people, and you can still feel it resonating,” he told reporters at the end of the route in the West Village.

Cyndi Lauper led off the march as the grand marshal of the 43rd annual celebration.

The Guardian -Gay marriage supporters welcome leading critic’s change of heart

Gay marriage supporters welcome leading critic’s change of heart
David Blankenhorn, president of Institute for American Values, says gay couples could strengthen the institution of marriage

Paul Harris in New York

guardian.co.uk, Saturday 23 June 2012 11.54 EDT

Gay rights groups said Blankenhorn’s U-turn was a long time in the making. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/AP
Gay rights groups have welcomed a surprise embrace of same-sex marriage by one of its previously most staunch opponents.

David Blankenhorn, who had been seen as a leading voice in the campaign to keep marriage solely between a man and a woman, has stunned his supporters by penning a column in the New York Times in which he now says he supports gay marriage rights.

“As a marriage advocate, the time has come for me to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do,” Blankenhorn wrote in the column.

The move is remarkable given Blankenhorn’s high profile in the anti-gay marriage movement.

He is president of the Institute for American Values and author of a 2007 book called The Future of Marriage, which argued against same-sex marriage.

He has even served as an expert witness in California’s controversial fight over the so-called “Prop 8” law, which saw gay marriage stopped in America’s most populous state.

Not surprisingly the shock move – and the high-profile way in which it was announced – was welcomed by groups campaigning on behalf of gay marriage.

“His journey… has been a long time in the making and he is a welcome addition to the majority of Americans who support the freedom to marry,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry.

Herndon Graddick, president of Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, echoed those sentiments. “David Blankenhorn’s announcement … reflects the shift towards understanding among the majority of people when they hear the stories and see for themselves why marriage matters to same-sex couples,” Graddick said in a statement.

In his column Blankenhorn said that he now believed that extending marriage rights to gay couples could strengthen the overall institution of marriage within broader society, rather than weaken it.

“Instead of fighting gay marriage, I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same,” he wrote.

He also expressed disappointment that much anti-gay marriage sentiment was based on prejudice against homosexuality, rather than any thoughts on the role of marriage within American cultural life.

“To my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus,” he wrote.

Gay marriage has recently emerged as a high profile subject in American politics after President Barack Obama gave a television interview in which he came out in support of it.

The move has helped energise his liberal base, and many younger voters, who had criticised the president for being slow to embrace the cause.

Last week a poll was published showing that some 42% of Americans oppose gay marriage and 40% support it.

However, opponents tend to be much older than supporters and most experts expect the number in favour of same-sex unions to keep growing as older Americans die off.




Daily Beast – David Blankenhorn Defects On Marriage Equality

22 Jun 2012 01:00 PM
David Blankenhorn Defects On Marriage Equality

If you’ve been immersed in the marriage equality debate, you’ll know who David Blankenhorn is. He is perhaps the most clearly decent, intellectually honest, non-homophobic opponent of marriage equality. He has played a huge role in elevating the debate, in getting the right to take it more seriously, and in pioneering civil discussion. Along with Jon Rauch, he really tried to find common ground, rather than polarize or hyperbolize. And I think many involved in this intellectual combat can be proud of themselves for maintaining greater civility than exists in many other emotional, personal debates. In the grass roots it can get brutal, as it can online. But the arguments we’ve had in person have been usually civil. Jon Corvino’s book with Maggie Gallagher is an example of this, as is their dog-and-pony show on the debate circuit.

But I bury my lede. Blankenhorn has switched sides and is now in favor of marriage equality, and explains why on NPR right now. Click here for the audio. He has an essay in the NYT on the subject as well. Money quote:

I had hoped that the gay marriage debate would be mostly about marriage’s relationship to parenthood. But it hasn’t been. Or perhaps it’s fairer to say that I and others have made that argument, and that we have largely failed to persuade. In the mind of today’s public, gay marriage is almost entirely about accepting lesbians and gay men as equal citizens. And to my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus. To me, a Southerner by birth whose formative moral experience was the civil rights movement, this fact is profoundly disturbing.

David was a good man when he was opposed to marriage equality and he is a good man now. We need more like him.

HuffPost Gay Voices -Illinois Gay Marriage: State Prosecutors Refuse To Defend Gay Marriage Ban

Illinois Gay Marriage: State Prosecutors Refuse To Defend Gay Marriage Ban
By TAMMY WEBBER 06/21/12 11:53 AM ET

FOLLOW: Gay Marriage, LGBT, Video, Anita Alvarez, Illinois Gay Marriage, Illinois Politics, Lisa Madigan, Illinois Marriage Equality, Lgbt Illinois, Marriage Equality, Gay Voices News
CHICAGO — Twenty-five Illinois couples were prepared for a long legal fight when they joined lawsuits challenging the state’s ban on gay marriage. Turns out they won’t get one – at least not from the attorneys who would normally be responsible for defending the state’s laws.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez have refused to defend the 16-year-old ban, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, saying it violates the state constitution’s equal protection clause.

The decision has raised eyebrows among some legal experts who believe prosecutors are legally bound to defend Illinois law, and sets up a scenario where a judge could quickly strike down the marriage statute. Supporters of the ban say it’s unconscionable that there might be nobody in court to defend it, and some are strategizing over how to intervene.

“I took an oath when I was sworn in to defend the constitution of the state of Illinois and I believe that’s what I’m doing,” Alvarez said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m not going to defend something I believe is in violation of the constitution.”

Madigan, who did not respond to a request for comment, plans to file arguments next week in support of the plaintiffs, whose lawsuits were consolidated by a judge on Thursday.

The move, sure to thrust Illinois into the national spotlight as federal and other state courts wrestle with the gay marriage issue, was greeted with enthusiasm by couples involved in the lawsuits.

“I was thrilled and excited,” said Liz Matos, 41, who hopes to marry her partner of 15 years, Tanya Lazaro, with whom she has two young daughters. She said they considered entering into a civil union, legalized in Illinois last year, but decided it “didn’t truly represent our relationship and what we mean to each other. We still felt that we deserved more.”

The decision not to defend a law is unusual, experts said, but not entirely without precedent.

Prosecutors in other states have refused to defend controversial laws, including in Nebraska, where the attorney general refused to defend that state’s abortion screening law after a judge temporarily blocked it, because he felt it ultimately would be found unconstitutional. The Obama administration last year announced it would not defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act, though the U.S. House of Representatives’ Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group took up the defense.

Currently, the District of Columbia and six states – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont – have legalized gay marriage. Laws legalizing gay marriage in Maryland and Washington state are on hold; opponents in Washington gathered enough signatures to put the issue to a vote this fall and those in Maryland are trying to do the same thing.

A federal appeals court in California recently declined to reconsider its decision to strike down that state’s ban on gay marriage, a case that could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The American Civil Liberties Union and New York-based Lambda Legal originally filed separate lawsuits against Cook County Clerk David Orr, a supporter of gay marriage whose office is responsible for issuing marriage licenses in the county, which includes the city of Chicago.

The action was taken on behalf of the 25 couples, some of them from outside Cook County, but all of whom had applied for marriage licenses there and been denied. The suit closely followed the formal endorsement of same-sex marriage by President Barack Obama. Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn also recently stepped up his public support, though legislative moves to legalize gay marriage remain stalled in the General Assembly.

Alvarez said it’s her job to represent Orr – and they both agreed with the plaintiffs.

Peter Breen, executive director of the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm that opposes gay marriage, said the group “will be seeking relief from the court,” though he didn’t say exactly what that would be. Some experts have suggested the society could seek standing to defend the ban, though that’s considered a long shot.

“You can’t just say you feel it’s unconstitutional,” said Breen. “This … puts people of the state of Illinois in a difficult place because their elected representatives are not defending their interests. If there is no argument or disagreement, then you’d really have a hollow judgment.”

David Erickson, a former prosecutor and state appellate judge who now teaches at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, said it also potentially puts a private firm in the position of being demonized for stepping forward to defend a state law. Erickson believes the law is unconstitutional but said Breen has a point.

“Show me where it says any elected official, especially a prosecutor, can say, `I won’t defend law passed by a legislative body that is my coequal,'” Erickson said. “Only one body can say it’s unconstitutional and that’s the (Illinois) Supreme Court.”

But fellow Kent College professor Douglas Godfrey said Alvarez and Madigan have a professional responsibility to ensure claims have merit, whether they’re filing a lawsuit or defending one, and “in essence … said we don’t think Illinois’ law will stand muster.”

John Knight, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Project of the ACLU of Illinois, said plaintiffs will ask the judge to rule on Illinois’ law based on their arguments and those of Madigan and Alvarez.

Lambda Legal’s marriage project director, Camilla Taylor, said she never has had a case in which the defendants agreed with her.

It “reflects the fact that we’re at a tipping point now … (because) our government finds these laws indefensible,” she said. “It comes at a time when a form of discrimination against a class of people in our society is so shameful and reprehensible that it’s incapable of defense.”