Queerty -Picking The States Where Marriage Equality Will Happen Next

Picking The States Where Marriage Equality Will Happen Next

Heads up Illinois, Hawaii, New Jersey and Oregon. Marriage equality may be coming your way and soon. Freedom to Marry, the advocacy group that has been at the forefront of the marriage battle, has unveiled a new strategy that targets those four states as the best chances for marriage equality in 2013 and 2014. The plan, called Roadmap to Victory, aims by 2016 to make marriage equality legal for the majority of Americans and push public support to marriage equality to 60%.

“The key to winning is, as it has always been, that when we get to the Supreme Court with the next marriage cases, we go with more states and more support creating the climate for the justices then to do the right thing,” says Freedom to Marry founder Evan Wolfson.
The strategy will vary among the states. Illinois, Hawaii and New Jersey will be battles fought in the legislature. In Oregon, a ballot measure will be introduced to overturn the state’s ban on marriage equality, to which Freedom to Marry has committed $250,000. In the meantime, advocates will be priming for battles in six more states in 2015 and 2016: “some combination” of Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Meanwhile, the battle in the courts is expanding. The ACLU has announced that it will be filing legal challenges in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and (in conjunction with Lambda Legal) Virginia.
In response, opponents of marriage equality are whistling past the graveyard. ”They’re hugely overplaying their hand,” said Thomas Peters, a spokesman for the National Organization for Marriage. ”These are states where gay marriage advocates have been saying for months, if not years, that gay marriage is inevitable and they’ve made no progress.”
Of course, the same could have been said for Minnesota, Rhode Island or any of the other states that approved marriage equality this spring. Or perhaps NOM didn’t notice.
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ON: JUL 10, 2013




Los Angeles Times – Gay marriage ruling: Supreme Court finds DOMA unconstitutional

Gay marriage ruling: Supreme Court finds DOMA unconstitutional

By David G. Savage
June 26, 2013, 7:06 a.m.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday and declared that same-sex couples who are legally married deserve equal rights to the benefits under federal law that go to all other married couples.

The decision is a landmark win for the gay rights movement. It voids a section of the law known as DOMA, which was adopted with bipartisan support in Congress in 1996 to deny all benefits and recognition to same-sex couples.

At that time, no state permitted gays and lesbians to marry. Now, 12 states and the District of Columbia authorize same-sex marriages.


Justice Anthony Kennedy, speaking for the 5-4 majority, said DOMA was unconstitutional because it violated the right to liberty and to equal protection for gay couples.

“By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute” violates the Constitution, he said

Dissenting were Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.

The ruling means that more than 100,000 gay and lesbian couples who are legally married will be able to take advantage of tax breaks, pension rights and other benefits that are available to other married couples.

Four years ago, several gay couples who were married in Massachusetts launched a lawsuit to challenge DOMA, arguing it denied them equal protection of the laws. They won before a federal judge in Boston and before the federal appeals court there.

DOCUMENTS: Supreme Court decisions on DOMA, Prop. 8

Their win prompted the Obama administration to switch course and join with the challengers, who said the law was discriminatory. House Republicans voted to take up the legal defense of the law.

When the issue reached the Supreme Court, the justices voted to decide a case brought by Edith Windsor, a New York widow who was sent a $363,000 estate tax bill by the Internal Revenue Service after her wife died in 2009.

The decision leaves in place another provision in the law that says no state is required to recognize gay marriages performed in any other state. That provision was not under challenge.

ADVOCATE.COM – Sen. Lisa Murkowski Endorses Marriage Equality

Sen. Lisa Murkowski Endorses Marriage Equality
The Alaska senator comes out in support of marriage equality in a heartfelt op-ed posted on her Senate website.

Republican senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has endorsed same-sex marriage, according to an op-ed posted to her Senate website Wednesday.

In the article, Murkowski recounts how an Alaskan same-sex couple, a military family with four adopted children, factored into her decision to come out in support of the cause. Witnessing the sacrifices of this couple and learning of the numerous ways the lack of legal recognition of their union could tear the family apart, Murkowski concluded, “This first-class Alaskan family still lives a second-class existence.”

“With the notion of marriage — an exclusive, emotional, binding ‘til death do you part’ tie — becoming more and more an exception to the rule given a rise in cohabitation and high rates of divorce, why should the federal government be telling adults who love one another that they cannot get married, simply because they happen to be gay?” asked the senator, in the op-ed titled “Murkowski Shares Thoughts on Marriage Equality With Alaskans.” “I believe when there are so many forces pulling our society apart, we need more commitment to marriage, not less.”

Murkowski joins a short list of Republican politicians who have come out in support marriage equality, which includes U.S. senators Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rob Portman of Ohio, and Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

In an interview with the Washington Blade, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin called Murkowski’s op-ed a “courageous and principled announcement.”

“We hope other fair-minded conservatives like Senator Murkowski stand up and join her,” Griffin said. “Alaska may be nicknamed ‘the Last Frontier,’ but we’ve got to make sure that LGBT Alaskans don’t have to wait to find justice.”

Murkowski concluded her statement with a clear endorsement of marriage equality, coupled with a call for federal government to get “out of the way” of its progress.

“Countless Alaskans and Americans want to give themselves to one another and create a home together,” she wrote. “I support marriage equality and support the government getting out of the way to let that happen.”

Reuters -After court rules, California gay marriage fight may go on

After court rules, California gay marriage fight may go on


By Peter Henderson

SAN FRANCISCO | Wed Jun 19, 2013 1:11am EDT
(Reuters) – The fight over legalizing gay marriage in the most populous U.S. state may go back to the ballot box in 2014 with California voters asked once again to settle the matter even after the Supreme Court’s expected ruling this month on the issue.

Experts believe the top court is unlikely to proclaim a national right to same-sex marriage in its decisions. The court is set to rule on a challenge to California’s ban on same-sex marriage and on a provision of federal law denying certain benefits for married same-sex couples.

At issue is California’s 2008 prohibition on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8. Lower federal courts struck down the ban, and a high court majority appears likely to rule in a way that would affect only Californians.

A vast array of legal issues, from the procedural question of who can legally defend a ballot proposition to more consequential questions of states’ rights, leaves room for continuing uncertainty over the fate of Proposition 8. That has prompted each side to prepare a Plan B.

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California could help to shape the national agenda again.

California voters in 2008 ended a summer of court-approved gay marriage by adopting Proposition 8. The proposal, backed by 52 percent of voters, changed the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

That enraged and energized the national gay rights movement while offering social conservatives proof that their message resonated even in a state known for its liberal leanings.

For gay marriage supporters, buoyed by laws permitting gay marriage in now 12 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a California ballot initiative would be a chance to recover from their biggest loss.

For gay marriage opponents, it would be a chance to regain momentum.

“It’s the biggest state in the union. It is a state that has twice voted for traditional marriage, and if we were able to prevail here, I think it would be an incredible feat, and would certainly cut the legs out from the inevitability argument,” said Frank Schubert, who led the 2008 campaign to pass the ban.


Social liberals, who are among the biggest supporters of same-sex marriage, generally turn out to vote most in presidential elections, which would suggest the best time to challenge Prop 8 would be November 2016.


But state gay rights groups don’t want to wait, and they universally predict that if the need arose, they would fight at the ballot box in November 2014 when Americans hold midterm Congressional elections and California elects a governor.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of people in the donor community and outside the donor community,” said John O’Connor, the new head of Equality California, the group which led opposition to Prop 8. “There is a sense of readiness,” he said. Groups are ready to launch a coalition, he added.

The 2008 pro-gay-marriage campaign was generally seen as lacking a clear message, ignoring minority groups and bedeviled by complacency that gay marriage support was assured.

“The lessons of Prop 8 have been learned. The lessons of victories have been internalized,” said Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

An Equality California poll this month found 55 percent of likely voters favored gay marriage. However, that is no guarantee; a Field Poll from September 2008 showed 55 percent of likely voters would oppose the Prop 8 ban. Less than two months later it passed.

Schubert is concerned about same-sex marriage supporters’ recent fundraising success. “We can’t go through another year like we did last year where we get outspent four to one,” he said.

The 2008 ballot fight was one of the most expensive in state history, costing more than $80 million, with both sides raising more than $40 million in 2008.

Both sides aim to reach out to faith groups and minority groups, which are especially important in diverse California, and to do so early on. In fact, California groups have been doing grassroots support-building since 2008, in particular aiming to get gays and lesbians to discuss marriage with straight friends and family.
Gay marriage supporters signal they will seek to avoid a long million-dollar signature-gathering campaign to get an initiative on the ballot. Instead they hope Democrats will use their supermajority in the state legislature to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

(Reporting by Peter Henderson; Editing by Howard Goller and Cynthia Osterman)