Towleroad – Federal Marriage Equality Bill Fails in Australia in 98-42 Vote

Federal Marriage Equality Bill Fails in Australia in 98-42 Vote
A federal marriage equality bill was defeated 98-42 in Australia’s House of Representatives yesterday with Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd all voting to kill it, The Age reports:

Channelling another former Labor Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, Mr Jones urged campaigners to “maintain your rage,” while the Australian Christian Lobby head Jim Wallace said it was time for the parliament to “move on.”

Gay rights activists said they would now look to state and territory parliaments to make the change.

“Now the federal parliament has effectively brushed the wishes of a majority of Australians aside, the states and territories will take the lead, making me confident we will see same sex marriages performed somewhere in Australia by the end of the year,” Australian Marriage Equality convener Alex Greenwich said.

Tasmania’s lower house last month passed a bill to legalise gay marriage. It must still pass the state’s 15-seat Legislative Council to become law. Efforts to legalise same sex marriage are also underway in South Australia, the ACT and New South Wales, where Premier Barry O’Farrell will allow his MPs a free vote.

The Senate is expected to defeat a bill this week as well.

ABC News adds:

Finance Minister Penny Wong, who is gay, acknowledged in recent days that the legislation was unlikely to pass, but still argued passionately for its approval during the debate.

“If you subscribe to the principal of equality, as I’m sure most in the chamber would, then substitute ‘same sex’ for ‘race’ in this debate and see if it changes your view,” Wong, who has a Chinese-Malaysian father and Australian mother of European descent, told lawmakers. “Just imagine if we told Australians today that they could not marry the person they love because of the color of their skin.”

Read more:

Seattle Times – Four Washington Newspapers Endorse Marriage Equality

Four Washington Newspapers Endorse Marriage Equality
Four mainstream newspapers in Washington State came out in support of Referendum 74, the bipartisan effort to maintain marriage equality in the northwestern state.

The editorial boards of four leading newspapers in Washington State each endorsed marriage equality and came out in support of Referendum 74, which seeks to uphold a marriage equality law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor. The Seattle Times, The News Tribune, the Spokesman Review, and The Columbian all endorsed R-74 and the freedom to marry, Washington United for Marriage reported Monday.

In addition to a hearty endorsement of marriage equality and a social media–ready badge proclaiming “I Do Approve Referendum 74,” The Seattle Times also published a piece detailing the editorial board’s journey to supporting the freedom to marry. The change of heart, it seems, came from the younger members of the Blethen family, which has been publishing the Times for 116 years.

In 2000 the Times reversed its strong opposition to relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples at the urging of the fifth generation of the Blethen family.

“Seven cousins, then ranging in age from 21 to 30 … were all in agreement: the time for civil unions had come,” said the Times.

The News Tribune, which serves Tacoma and Pierce County, just south of Seattle, kept the rhetoric simple in its editorial endorsement for Referendum 74: “Why [Washingtonians] should vote yes can be summed up in one word. Equality.”

The Columbian, which serves the greater Vancouver, Wash., area, pointed out that since the state already embraces civil unions, it’s only logical to support full civil marriage for same-sex couples.

“Some will argue that gays and lesbians already have all the necessary legal rights, so why do we have to allow them to get married?” write The Columbian editors, who first endorsed marriage equality nearly a decade ago. “That argument defeats itself. The more logical question: since gays and lesbians already have all necessary legal rights anyway, why NOT allow them to get married? Try as they might, foes of R-74 cannot provide a compelling answer.”

The Spokane-based Spokesman Review cites the recycled rhetoric of historic opposition to interracial marriage, which was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967’s Loving v. Virginia.

“It’s not appropriate for citizens to vote on basic civil rights,” says the Spokesman Review’s editorial board. “But since the question is on the ballot, we hope Washingtonians will affirm the courageous and compassionate law adopted by the Legislature last spring.”

The four endorsements from major Washington papers followed on the heels of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin’s endorsement last Wednesday.

“We are grateful that these five leading Washington newspapers have decided to weigh in on the importance of approving Referendum 74,” said Washington United for Marriage campaign manager Zach Silk in a press release. “Taken together, these five papers represent distinct and very different regions of the state and show how broad and deep the support is for our bipartisan marriage law.”

Huffington Post – Defense Of Marriage Act: 3 States Oppose Federal Anti-Gay Marriage Law

Defense Of Marriage Act: 3 States Oppose Federal Anti-Gay Marriage Law
09/08/12 09:17 AM ET

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 24: Maira Garcia (R) and Maria Vargas wait on line to get married at the Brooklyn City Clerk’s office on July 24, 2011 in New York City. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont’s attorney general says the state is the latest to ask an appeals court to rule that the federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman is unconstitutional.

Attorney General William Sorrell said Friday that the Defense of Marriage Act deprives same-sex couples of federal benefits and unfairly discriminates against them.

He says Vermont, New York and Connecticut, all states where gay marriage is legal, filed a brief in a case brought by a New York woman who had to pay $350,000 in estate taxes when her partner died. New York had joined the case in 2011.

The federal government said last year it would stop defending DOMA. Several federal judges have ruled the law is unconstitutional, including a ruling this year in a lawsuit filed by Massachusetts.

NY Times

Players’ Support of Gay Marriage Alters N.F.L. Image
Published: September 8, 2012


Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo has been a consistent supporter of legalizing same-sex marriage. In 2011, he filmed his own video backing this November’s ballot initiative in Maryland and posted it on YouTube, and he recently donated Ravens tickets to a Marylanders for Marriage Equality fund-raiser.

Ayanbadejo’s acts caught the attention of Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Maryland state delegate who opposes same-sex marriage. On Aug. 29, Burns sent a letter to Steve Bisciotti, the Ravens’ owner, urging him to “inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions.”

Burns’s letter elicited an aggressive, searing response from another N.F.L. player, Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who said he could not sleep after reading the letter Thursday night because he was too infuriated. So he wrote a profanity-laced response to Burns and submitted it to

“Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level,” Kluwe wrote, adding later: “Why do you hate the fact that other people want a chance to live their lives and be happy, even though they may believe in something different than you, or act different than you? How does gay marriage, in any way, shape or form, affect your life?”

Kluwe’s letter, which has been lauded by many supporters of same-sex marriage since it was posted Friday, has offered a change in perception. The N.F.L. has long fought the stigma of having a homophobic culture. Now, two pro football players have powerfully lent their support for same-sex marriage, taking a political figure to task in the process.

“It was unexpected to a lot of gay people to have someone from the most masculine sports league in the country come to the defense of the gay community and attack this person,” said Cyd Zeigler, a founder of “It was unexpected, and it was awesome. To see the clear passion for this topic, I think, was energizing.”

The support offered by Kluwe and Ayanbadejo is timely, because Minnesota and Maryland are among four states that will have same-sex marriage votes this November. In Maryland, Maine and Washington, the legalization of same-sex marriage will be on the ballot. In Minnesota, there will be a vote on an antigay marriage constitutional amendment that, if passed, would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

“These guys are heroes,” Brian Ellner, a leading marriage equality advocate, said of Kluwe and Ayanbadejo. “This kind of thing has never happened before. It matters because Brendon and Chris are professional athletes who are uniquely positioned to help shape opinions and say to fans, to people who may not be focused on this, that gays are just like you and me.”

In the past week, Ayanbadejo has been contacted by supporters in Brazil, Norway, England, Australia, Colombia and Ireland. He has also been overwhelmed by the support of his Ravens teammates and other N.F.L. players. “I’d say the majority of players are siding with me, that all people have a right to live and love and be happy,” Ayanbadejo said in a telephone interview. “That’s really amazing. I’m very happy to see the tides changing in the positive.”

Kluwe, whose brother-in-law is gay, said all but “four or five of about 6,000” messages he had received on Twitter in response to his letter were positive.

“I think the culture in the N.F.L. has become a lot more tolerant in the last 10 years or so,” Kluwe said in a telephone interview. “There’s a younger generation coming in every year or two, and they make me hopeful of the future.”

There has never been an openly gay active N.F.L. player. In 1975, the former 49ers and Redskins running back David Kopay said he was gay. Roy Simmons, a former guard for the Giants and the Redskins, came out in 1992, and the former defensive tackle Esera Tuaolo, who played for five teams over nine seasons, did so in 2002.

And, Ellner said, support for gay-rights issues is on the rise in the league. The current and former N.F.L. players Scott Fujita, Michael Strahan and Nic Harris are among those who have spoken out in support of same-sex marriage. The Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, who had a brother who was gay, appeared on the cover of Out magazine. Zeigler said he had interviewed 25 current players in the past year, all of whom said they would welcome a gay teammate.

Perhaps most noteworthy, in August the San Francisco 49ers became the first N.F.L. team to join the It Gets Better campaign, creating an anti-bullying video in support of gay, lesbian and transgender youth.

“I think it’s a transformational moment and seismic shift to see so many folks in the world of sports stepping up and speaking out in support of equality and fairness and, in this instance, marriage equality,” Ellner said. “It really demonstrates what we know, and what’s apparent in the polls, and that the world has changed.”