"Key dates regarding same-sex marriage in USA"
By The Associated Press, May 9, 2009
Some important dates relating to gay marriage in Massachusetts and nationally:
July 1, 2000 -- Acting under a state Supreme Court order, Vermont becomes the first state with civil unions that provide same-sex couples with the same legal rights and responsibilities as marriage.
April 11, 2001 -- Seven same-sex couples in Massachusetts, denied marriage licenses, sue in Superior Court in Boston to challenge the state's gay marriage ban.
Nov. 18, 2003 -- Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court rules it is unconstitutional to bar gay couples from marriage.
May 17, 2004 -- Marriages of gay couples begin in Massachusetts.
June 14, 2007 -- Massachusetts lawmakers vote to block a proposed referendum seeking to ban same-sex marriage.
July 31, 2008 -- Massachusetts repeals a 1913 law that barred most of-of-state same-sex couples from marrying in the state.
Oct. 10, 2008 -- The Connecticut Supreme Court strikes down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
Nov. 4, 2008 -- California voters pass Proposition 8, a ballot marriage overturning a state Supreme Court decision that had legalized same-sex marriage earlier in the year. The issue remains in legal limbo.
April 3, 2009 -- The Iowa Supreme Court orders the legalization of same-sex marriage.
April 7, 2009 -- Overriding the governor's veto, lawmakers in Vermont make their state the first to legalize same-sex marriage by a legislative vote.
May 6, 2009 -- Maine's governor signs a gay marriage bill passed by legislators. Opponents immediately file papers seeking a repeal referendum.
A Boston GLOBE EDITORIAL
"Ho-hum civil union rights"
January 3, 2008
WHEN VERMONT legislators legalized civil unions for gay couples in 2000, there was a bitter backlash against the reform. But on New Year's Day, New Hampshire joined Vermont, Connecticut, and New Jersey in extending civil union rights to gay and lesbian couples, and the event was met with a collective yawn. There are several reasons for this change, but the most important is that residents of New Hampshire have had a chance to observe Vermont and Connecticut's civil unions and Massachusetts' same-sex marriage, and realized that extending rights to a minority is no threat to the majority - or to the institution of marriage.
Not too many years ago, the fiery conservatism of the Manchester Union-Leader newspaper and the state's former governor, Meldrim Thomson, made New Hampshire an unlikely candidate for quiet acceptance of expanded rights for gays. But as resistant as its citizens have been to broad-based taxes or expanded government, there has always been a live-and-let-live streak in the state that has made it infertile ground for politicians telling other people how to live. Recently, the state's high-tech industries have brought in highly trained newcomers with broad views on social issues. Polling for the presidential primary shows that gay marriage is of minor concern to the state's voters.
This page finds civil unions to be an inadequate substitute for true marriage equality. Still, there likely would have been more opposition had New Hampshire legalized gay marriage and not just civil unions, which are seen as a compromise measure. Also, the fact that New Hampshire's elected legislators initiated the change, as opposed to an "unelected" court, as was the case in both Vermont and Massachusetts, may have made the reform more acceptable to voters.
But the strongest factor making civil unions such a non-issue in New Hampshire has to be the opportunity the state has had to look elsewhere in New England, where experience shows that legal recognition of same sex couples has stabilized and strengthened those relationships without doing anything to weaken heterosexual marriage. Like other civil union laws, New Hampshire's grants gays property rights, shared wills, and hospital visitation privileges. Several other states have created varying levels of rights in domestic partnership laws.
As beneficial as these protections are, they still confer a separate status, as the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made clear in 2003 when it ruled that the state's constitution prohibited the Commonwealth from denying full marriage rights to gays. So far, no other state has joined Massachusetts, but it is still gratifying to see that in New England, the region with the most experience in granting rights to same-sex couples, another state has recognized the profound unfairness in withholding those rights.
"California court legalizes gay marriage: Opponents push petitions to enact a ban"
By Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, rejecting state marriage laws as discriminatory.
The court's 4-to-3 ruling was unlikely to end the debate over gay matrimony in California. A group has circulated petitions for a November ballot initiative that would amend the state Constitution to block same-sex marriage, while the Legislature has twice passed bills to authorize gay marriage. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both.
The long-awaited court decision, which goes into effect in 30 days unless a stay is granted, stemmed from San Francisco's highly publicized same-sex weddings, which in 2004 helped spur a conservative backlash in a presidential election year and a nation al dialogue over gay rights.
Several states have since passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Today, 27 states have such amendments.
Yesterday's ruling by the Republican-dominated court affects more than 100,000 same-sex couples in the state, about a quarter of whom have children, according to US census figures. The ruling was made after courts in New York, Washington, and New Jersey refused to extend marriage rights to gay couples. Before yesterday, only Massachusetts' top court has ruled in favor of permitting gays to wed.
The reaction to yesterday's ruling outside the courthouse in San Francisco was one of jubilation as couples, once denied marriage, hugged, kissed, shouted, and shook their fists at the sky. Holding up a sign that said, "Life feels different when you're married," Ellen Pontac said she was beyond words.
"Oh, wow," she said. "It felt so good when we got married in San Francisco. This feels better."
She hugged her partner, Shelly Bailes.
"The best day of my life was when I met Ellen," Bailes said. "This was as good as that."
The women said they have been together for 34 years. Added Bailes: "This feels good for us. But I can't imagine what it means for all those young couples with their entire lives ahead of them."
A few feet away, Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, was mobbed by reporters and well-wishers.
"As of today, the right to marry is now guaranteed to anyone," she said. "All I know is that we won."
At his Los Angeles home, Jim Smith, a parent in a same-sex relationship, also rejoiced. "I'm ecstatic," said Smith, 40, a chief technology officer for an online advertising agency. "I think this is the beginning of the end of ostracism, bullying, and all the things that used to make people feel less human than others."
Schwarzenegger, who has vetoed two measures that would have authorized same-sex marriage, said yesterday that he would abide by the court's ruling.
"I respect the court's decision and as governor, I will uphold its ruling," he said in a statement. "Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling."
But in November, voters could be asked to render their opinion on an amendment that would again attempt to ban same-sex marriage.
A coalition of religious and conservative activists has submitted 1.1 million signatures to qualify the amendment, which would say that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
Andrew Pugno, a lawyer for the initiative's sponsors, said the Supreme Court decision is a boost for the measure because opponents have been saying there is no real possibility that same-sex marriages will happen.
"This decision draws a line in the sand and makes it clear that this is the last chance for voters to have a say," Pugno said. "This is proof positive for voters that the courts are out of control and the voters have to step up."
Ron Prentice, executive director of the California Family Council, said the group was "not surprised by the ruling, though extremely disappointed."
He said the group expects "that with the November ballot we will have the opportunity for the people of California to once again define marriage as only between a man and a woman and this time place it into California's constitution, which would strengthen it and keep it out of the hands of the courts.
"We have not been able to count on the Legislature or the courts of California to adhere to the will of the people," Prentice said. "This is yet another example why the people need to go to the polls in November to defend the historic and natural definition of marriage."
After San Francisco decided to allow same-sex weddings in 2004, the California Supreme Court intervened and ordered the city to stop issuing licenses to gay couples.
The court later invalidated the documents and declined to address the constitutionality of a state ban on same-sex marriage until lower courts acted.
Gay rights lawyers won an early victory in the dispute when a San Francisco trial judge decided in 2005 that gays should be permitted to wed.
An appeals court later overturned that decision on a 2-to-1 vote, ruling that only the Legislature or the voters could change California's traditional definition of marriage.
Lawyers in favor of same-sex marriage argued that the law discriminated on the basis of gender and sexual orientation.
Opponents countered that the ban was gender-neutral, barring both women and men from marrying members of their own sex. They also argued that people could be treated differently because of their sexual orientation if there was a rational basis for it.
In 2000, 61 percent of California voters approved Proposition 22, which said that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California."
Since the ballot measure, California has passed one of the strongest domestic partnership laws in the country, giving registered same-sex couples most of the rights of married people.
"Homosexuals' Money Is No Good Here: Some Businesses Don't Cater to Gays, Lesbians at a Cost to the Bottom Line"
By CLOE SHASHA, ABC News, June 19, 2008
Some businesses still don't cater to homosexuals, ignoring a potentially lucrative source of revenue, says University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee economist Keith A. Bender.
One of the most well-known examples is eHarmony.com, even as California, the country's most populated state, began performing same-sex marriages this week. The online dating Web site bills itself as a provider of what it calls unique measurements for compatibility that, according to a representative, do not cater to same-sex partnering.
"The research is based on six Ph.D. psychologists and 29 variables for compatibility called the compatibility matching system," said David D., an eHarmony representative who refused to give his full name.
The Pasadena, Calif.-based site, which began in 2000, says it serves about 20 million members across the United States, Canada and Australia.
On the sexual orientation issue, "It is false to say eHarmony discriminates against gays or lesbians," the company said in a statement. "Nothing precludes us from providing same-sex matching in the future. It's just not a service we offer now."
The Web site's measurements for matches were developed by Neil Clark Warren, who says that eHarmony is the first online dating service to use relationship science to pair its singles.
Bender, the Wisconsin economist, believes that the Web site eHarmony and other companies could be more profitable if they offered their services to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.
"These companies are cutting out a certain segment of the population that they could be getting revenue from," Bender said. "Statistics I've heard say that around 10 percent of the population expresses some homosexual tendencies. One way to think about these businesses is that companies like eHarmony could increase their revenues by about 10 percent, assuming that the same rates of homosexuals as heterosexuals would take advantage of these kinds of dating sites."
There are 417,044 pairs of unmarried male partners and 362,823 pairs of unmarried female partners living together in this country, according to a 2006 American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. That does not take into account homosexual singles or married couples.
Robert Lee, the owner and editor of aLoveLinksPlus.com -- a dating service directory -- said that while some dating Web sites explicitly exclude homosexual singles, others do not make their policies as obvious.
"EHarmony.com is a standout," Lee said. "But there are also some smaller niche sites that are only for straights, which are not as vigilant in saying you have to be straight to join."
Some fitness centers, resorts and other services continue to exclude homosexuals as well.
Recent examples include:
In New Mexico, Elaine Huguenin, a professional photographer from Albuquerque, told a lesbian couple in April that she would not photograph them because she only works with straight couples.
In July 2007, Rochester, N.Y., couple Amy and Sarah Monson were refused membership at the Rochester Athletic Club. These two women said that they were in a committed relationship and that they should be allowed to buy a membership.
It took until June 2007 for the University of Virginia to allow same-sex couples to join its gym, according to the Washington Post.
In May 2008, Drs. Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton refused to give infertility treatment to a lesbian couple because of their religious views. One of the patients wanted to be artificially inseminated, and the doctors' refusal led to a case that reached the Supreme Court.
Clinical Coordinator Christopher Johnson of the Gay Men of African Descent advocacy group says these practices are offensive and discriminatory.
"In terms of a social decision, it keeps people who are of the lesbian-gay-transsexual-bisexual community outside of society where they can't connect to one another through those institutions or those businesses," he said.
"That is discrimination. Although society has made some progress, there is still a lot of work to do to make people know that gay people have rights as well. The decision to have people keep us out of their businesses is unconstitutional."
But the legal issues are unresolved, said Emma Dickson, a New York attorney.
"There has been discussion about whether sexual orientation is necessarily included under our civil rights laws," she said. "As we are moving towards recognizing gay rights as civil rights, we could make a parallel between not serving a black person in a diner because of his or her race and not being able to participate in a dating Web site because of one's sexual orientation."
"Gay-marriage advocates hope to repeal old law: Nonresidents now barred"
By Matt Viser, (Boston) Globe Staff, July 10, 2008
State lawmakers are expected to vote next week on repealing a 1913 law that prevents out-of-state gay and lesbian couples from getting married in Massachusetts, reigniting a divisive debate on an issue that has stirred passions and put the state in the national spotlight.
The Senate is expected to take up the legislation Tuesday, and the House will follow shortly afterward, according to several lawmakers. House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray favor the repeal, but their support on such a hot-button social issue does not guarantee that rank-and-file lawmakers will follow.
Advocates of same-sex marriage rights said they are hopeful the repeal will pass, given the support from the legislative leadership and from Governor Deval Patrick, whose position is much more sympathetic than that of Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican who was a staunch opponent of gay marriage.
"This is extraordinarily significant," said Arline Isaacson, cochairwoman of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus. "If we get the 1913 law repealed, it brings us one very important step closer to full equality."
Several lawmakers, though, have long opposed same-sex marriage and plan to fight the repeal.
"I have a problem with it; I've always had a problem with it," said Representative James R. Miceli, a Democrat from Wilmington who has consistently voted against gay marriage. "I just feel that it would be hypocritical if I turned around and said, 'Fine, you can come here and get married, and we'll recognize it.' "
Proponents expect their effort to repeal the law to be divisive, but not as much as a constitutional amendment last year that would have defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. That measure, which needed a two-thirds majority, was rejected, 151 to 45.
Repeal of the 1913 law requires just a simple majority to pass, but legislative leaders would not make any predictions yesterday, adding that they were just starting to poll members to see if they have enough votes.
The 1913 statute prevents Massachusetts from sanctioning marriages that are not legal in the state where the couple lives. The law was enacted in part to prevent interracial couples from evading their own state's ban by traveling to Massachusetts to marry. It was a little-used and rarely enforced law until opponents used it to prevent out-of-state gay couples from getting married in Massachusetts after the state legalized same-sex marriage in 2004.
DiMasi declined requests for an interview.
"As a strong supporter of gay marriage rights, the speaker believes the so-called 1913 law is outdated and unfair," said David Guarino, DiMasi's spokesman. "He believes it should be repealed, and he is hopeful that we will see it repealed before the end of this session."
The governor and Senate president have previously said they oppose the law, and their spokesmen said yesterday that they continue to support repeal. Patrick and Murray also declined requests for an interview.
"The governor supports the repeal of the law and will sign it if passed," said Patrick's spokesman, Kyle Sullivan.
Removing the law would put Massachusetts on par with California, where a court ruled in May that gay marriage was legal for all couples, including those who live out of state. In May, Governor David Paterson of New York directed all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages in other states, including Massachusetts and California.
Massachusetts legislators have considered repealing the 1913 law in the past, but have not put an emphasis on trying to repeal it, largely because attention was diverted last year to quashing the effort to make same-sex marriage illegal.
Former senator Jarrett T. Barrios, a Democrat from Cambridge, filed legislation in 2007 that would have repealed the law. Although he resigned last year to become president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, his legislation is still pending and will be championed by Senator Dianne Wilkerson, a Roxbury Democrat.
"It is time for this to be erased from the annals of Massachusetts law," Wilkerson said.
In 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court issued a landmark ruling saying that prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying was unconstitutional and paving the way for marriage licenses to go out in May 2004. But, citing the 1913 law, Romney ordered city and town clerks to prevent nonresident gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts, a decision that was upheld by the SJC in March 2006.
Supporters of repealing the 95-year-old law contend that it is a matter of fairness and that it would also boost the state's economy by encouraging gay residents from other states to come to Massachusetts to marry.
Opponents fear that, as Romney said, a repeal would turn the state into "the Las Vegas of same-sex marriage" and force other states to recognize Massachusetts marriage laws.
"We certainly don't want to see Massachusetts exporting this radical social experiment to the other 49 states, and that's what this would do," said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, which plans to mobilize and oppose the repeal effort.
The issue has never come to the House floor. The Senate voted to repeal the law as a budget amendment in 2004, but the provision was not included as part of the final budget.
"It's time for it to go," said Marc Solomon, executive director of MassEquality, a gay-marriage advocacy coalition.
"We have one important piece of unfinished business," he said, "and that's repealing this antiquated law."
Matt Viser can be reached at email@example.com.
"Repeal antiquated law"
The Berkshire Eagle - Editorial
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The state Senate is today expected to consider repeal of an antiquated 1913 state law that has prevented out-of-state couples from getting married in Massachusetts. The first state in the union to legalize gay marriage, Massachusetts should not be burdened with such a mean-spirited law, and we hope it will be history by the end of the week.
The law, which declares that couples cannot be married in Massachusetts if their unions would be illegal in their home states, emerged in apparent reaction to controversy at the time over racially mixed marriages. It was rarely employed and all but forgotten when Republican Governor Mitt Romney cynically exhumed it in 2004 as part of his campaign against gay marriage. He ordered town and city clerks to enforce it, though many ignored the pol, who by then was already running for the Republican presidential nomination.
Mr. Romney warned that repealing the law would make Massachusetts the "Las Vegas of gay marriage," but if repeal will boost the economy, all the more reason to get rid of the law. Same-sex marriage was legalized in California, which has no residency requirement for marriage, by the state Supreme Court last May, and with that decision energizing repeal advocates in Massachusetts, we hope both Houses will complete repeal votes this week and Governor Patrick will sign off on them, as he has indicated he will.
For pragmatic reasons, we hope the gay-marriage effort will end this year with the relatively non-controversial actions in California and Massachusetts. There is no logic in handing the Republican Party another issue to demagogue, as it specializes in fear-based campaigns to get people to the polls. Progress is slow, but it is coming — one progressive state at a time.
"Senate votes to repeal 1913 law: Bill to OK wedding of nonresident gays now goes to House"
By Eric Moskowitz, (Boston) Globe Staff, July 16, 2008
The state Senate voted swiftly and unanimously yesterday to strike down a 95-year-old law that blocks gay and lesbian couples from most other states from being married in Massachusetts, drawing condemnation from Catholic Church leaders but delivering a victory for advocates who have fought for the repeal and who say that same-sex marriage has become an accepted part of the state's culture.
The atmosphere during Senate deliberations lacked most of the drama of previous Beacon Hill debates over gay marriage. There were no chanting protesters outside, and not a voice on the Senate floor was raised against the repeal.
Advocates of same-sex marriage rights are hopeful the repeal will pass the House and be signed by Governor Deval Patrick before the end of the month. If that happens, the last obstacle to same-sex marriage in Massachusetts for nonresidents would be removed, making the state the second to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry regardless of their place of residence.
Sponsors said the relative quiet surrounding the State House debate was evidence that same-sex marriage has become much less divisive in Massachusetts since it was first permitted in May 2004, following a 2003 decision by the state's Supreme Judicial Court.
"People have become resigned to the fact that all the chaos that was predicted in 2004 - the sky was going to fall, it would be catastrophic - it never happened. And so it has become, as we expected it would, as much a part of the reality of life in Massachusetts as anything else," Senator Dianne Wilkerson, a Roxbury Democrat who has championed the repeal bill, said of yesterday's vote.
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston joined with the state's three other Catholic bishops in appealing to lawmakers to keep the 1913 law on the books for constitutional, religious, and cultural reasons. They said eliminating the law would infringe on the rights of other states to set their own marriage laws, and they emphasized their commitment to the traditional definition of marriage.
"Today, we reiterate our belief that marriage is a faithful, exclusive, lifelong union of a man and a woman joined in an intimate community of love and life," the bishops said in a joint statement. "Across times, cultures, and many different religious beliefs, marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of the family and society. Marriage is a personal relationship with public significance."
The 1913 law has racist roots. It grew out of the national backlash over the interracial marriage of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, Wilkerson said. At the time, 30 of 48 states banned interracial marriage, and many other states, including Massachusetts, enacted provisions that would keep interracial couples from crossing borders to marry in their jurisdiction.
"This is a very simple law, contrived in shame, and it exists in shame, and we ought to wipe it off the books," state Senator Mark C. Montigny said.
The law remained on the books but fell into obscurity until gay marriage became legalized in Massachusetts, and Governor Mitt Romney cited the law as a means to prevent Massachusetts from becoming what he called "the Las Vegas of gay marriage."
It was not immediately clear yesterday when the House will consider the bill. Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi supports repealing the law by the end of this session, which closes formally July 31, a DiMasi spokesman said yesterday. The repeal bill can go directly to the House floor without first needing review by a House committee, spokesman David Guarino said in an e-mail.
Arline Isaacson, cochairwoman of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, predicted that the House would pass the measure but that some lawmakers would vote against it there.
Kris Mineau, who has lobbied against the repeal as president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, said he hopes the House will deliberate at greater length on the bill and consider the "legal quagmire" that could result for other states if their residents flock to Massachusetts to marry.
After the Senate vote, Mineau vowed to keep working against the repeal and to try to limit marriage to heterosexual couples.
"We're going to be here until the cows go home," he said. "We're going to continue to advocate what we believe is right and what is in the best interest of our society and our children, and when the time comes that this Legislature starts waking up to reality, our voice will be there."
Advocates of unrestricted same-sex marriage have described the possible economic benefits for the state. A recent study commissioned by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development predicted that Massachusetts would receive $111 million in wedding and travel spending and $5 million in taxes and marriage-license fees in the first three years.
The same nonprofit institute that prepared that estimate calculated that California, as a result of a May court decision legalizing gay marriage there regardless of residency, would reap nearly $700 million in same-sex wedding travel and tourism.
Along those lines, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger invited same-sex couples two months ago to visit California and bolster its tourism economy.
Many New York couples have been planning trips to California to get married, now that Governor David Paterson has directed all state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states, said Alan Van Capelle, executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda, a statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in New York.
But those trips could be rerouted if lawmakers in Massachusetts repeal the 1913 law, he said. "There will be a lot of JetBlue cancellations and a lot more people deciding to fill up their tank and drive to Massachusetts."
Eric Moskowitz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diane Curtis and Ellen Leuchs, shown with children Romy and Jamie, were legally married in Massachusetts, but census officials disagree.
"Census Won't Count Gay Marriages"
By Christopher Lee, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, July 17, 2008; A19
Diane Curtis and Ellen Leuchs tied the knot in May 2004, less than a week after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage and a decade after beginning their life as a couple.
To the U.S. Census Bureau, however, their marriage does not count. Or, more specifically, it will not be counted in the 2010 census.
Although gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts and California, census officials say that same-sex partners in both states who list themselves as spouses will be recorded as "unmarried partners" -- just as they were in the 2000 census.
Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner cited the Defense of Marriage Act, approved by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing as a marriage the union of anyone but a man and a woman.
The law "requires all federal agencies to recognize only opposite-sex marriages for the purposes of administering federal programs," Buckner wrote in an e-mailed statement. "Many of these programs rely on Census Bureau statistics."
Census officials have said the agency will retain same-sex spouses' original responses but will edit them for the published census tabulations. The policy was first reported by the San Jose Mercury News.
Curtis, 45, of Sunderland, Mass., said she was "disgusted."
"The effect is just to erase our marriages and our families, really," said Curtis, a lawyer who has two children with Leuchs, 40, a fundraiser.
Critics of the policy -- and the law -- say it ignores the changing legal and political landscape in states that contain about 14 percent of the U.S. population. And it ensures that the census results will be factually incorrect, they say.
"Unfortunately the stupidity and unfairness of that law gives [the census] something of a colorable argument," said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). "It was aimed very specifically at this. It's all the more reason to repeal it. . . . What is it accomplishing by not having an accurate count? It's not even good demographic policy."
The lack of data about same-sex married couples will inhibit researchers who want to better understand a variety of issues, such as wage differences for gay married couples and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, said Gary Gates, a demographer at the UCLA School of Law.
"It limits our ability to get quality information," said Gates, author of the Gay and Lesbian Atlas. "In 2000, the census could very legitimately make the argument that with a same-sex couple, someone couldn't [legally] be a husband or wife. And so they were making an inaccurate response accurate by changing them to an 'unmarried partner.' The situation now is different. You are changing potentially accurate responses to inaccurate responses."
The policy will, for example, require that the couple's children be listed as having single parents, Gates said. And it will cause the census to undercount families, defined as two or more people in the same household related by birth, adoption or marriage, he said.
In Massachusetts, 10,490 same-sex couples were married between May 2004 and August 2007, according to state figures. California, which began same-sex marriages last month, does not keep similar figures. A ballot initiative would amend the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the nonprofit Family Research Council, argued that the Census Bureau's policy makes sense both demographically and legally. He said his group will "vigorously defend" the Defense of Marriage Act if critics try to overturn it.
"We believe that marriage is intrinsically the union of a man and a woman," Sprigg said. "The reason marriage is a public institution in the first place is that it brings together men and women for the reproduction of the human race and to encourage mothers and fathers to cooperate in raising to maturity the children produced by their union."
Curtis likened the Census Bureau's stance to something out of the Cold War era.
"It's like we've been Photoshopped out of the picture," she said. "How long is the federal government going to pretend we don't exist?"
Staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.
"Gay marriage ban could be back on ballot"
The Associated Press, Monday, August 25
BOSTON (AP) — Attorney General Martha Coakley has given the go-ahead to a group that wants to overturn the Legislature's repeal of a law barring marriages in Massachusetts by out-of-state same-sex couples.
Coakley said today the group's proposed ballot question meets the necessary technical requirements, but added she does not necessarily support the measure.
Supporters led by the group MassResistence now must gather 33,000 signatures by the end of October to appear on the November 2010 ballot.
They are seeking to reinstate a 1913 law making it illegal for couples to get married in Massachusetts if their unions would be illegal in their home states.
The House and Senate voted in late June to repeal the law. Gov. Deval Patrick signed the repeal.
"Abortion moves back in the closet"
By Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe, Op-Ed, October 17, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn.
DO YOU REMEMBER the New Yorker cartoon showing a couple in their living room reading the newspaper? "Gays and lesbians getting married," reports the husband to his wife, whereupon he adds, "haven't they suffered enough?"
This was an arch and ironic commentary on the image of a beleaguered minority actually trying to break into an institution.
Last week it happened again. Connecticut became the third state, after Massachusetts and California, to let homosexuals break into the institution of marriage. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled that even in a state with civil unions, separate wasn't equal. Anything less than marriage violated equal protection laws.
I am fully aware that same-sex marriage is a polarizing issue and an engine for backlash. It's back on the ballot in three states this November, including California, where couples are rushing to the altar before they can be de-married. But Connecticut is a good reminder of how fast attitudes toward gay rights have changed. And how fast the public image of gays has gone from San Francisco flamboyance to suburban sobriety. The fear-mongering of the "Gay Agenda" is now the wedding registry at Home Depot.
When the Connecticut decision came down, I was at a Yale Law School conference on "The Future of Sexual and Reproductive Rights." Here academics and activists were talking about gay rights and abortion as law, and as tools for the culture-war recruiters.
Stanford law professor Pam Karlan was the first to compare changes in the last two decades. "Gays have come out of the closet," she said, "and women who've had abortions have gone back into the closet."
The long, slow process of "coming out" means that today nearly everyone knows someone who is gay. Gays are no longer some foreign "them," especially to younger Americans who are four times more likely than their grandparents to support marriage equality. Even Sarah Palin painted herself "tolerant" during the vice presidential debate and talked about her "diverse" friends and family.
The long, slow process of "going back in" has meant, in Karlan's words, that "we don't always know that we know someone who's had an abortion." Has the invisibility of these women made it easier to chip away at their rights?
This change has happened in public as well as private. In 1989, "thirtysomething" was boycotted for a single gay scene. Today, as Yale historian George Chauncey says, "There are many sympathetic gay characters on TV and the movies." But, he adds, "almost no sympathetic characters who are getting abortions." Hollywood's heroines from "Juno" to "Waitress" to "Knocked Up" barely think about it.
The analogy is far from perfect, as I will hear from every pro-life reader who equates abortion with murder. And it's been a long time, thankfully, since we read stories of victims of illegal abortion. To the degree that the gay rights movement has focused on marriage, it's seen as intrinsically conservative, even pro-family. On the other hand, an abstract set of abortion rights is framed as an individual choice.
Moreover, the narrative of same-sex marriage ends with the sound of a champagne bottle popping at a wedding. An abortion, on the other hand, may be followed by an assortment of emotions, but certainly not joy.
Because we rarely see real women, it's easy to forget that one out of every three American women has had an abortion by the time she's 45. As Karlan said, "Look to your right. Look to your left. One of you has had an abortion." Because we rarely hear from women, it's easy to forget that over half those women already have children and are making their decisions in that family context.
Abortion was legalized on the grounds of the right to privacy. And so it remains private. But the more private it is, the more we think it only happens to someone else, someone "unlike us." The more unlike us she is, the less public support there is for the right. Abortion rights slip away as the woman slips out of sight.
Here is the conundrum in the closet. For all the lingering opposition to same-sex marriage, being gay is losing its stigma. Having an abortion is being more deeply stigmatized.
Look to your right. Look to your left.
Ellen Goodman can be reached at email@example.com.
"States take on social questions: Gay marriage is key ballot measure"
By David Crary, Associated Press, November 5, 2008
Voters in Colorado and South Dakota rejected ballot measures yesterday that could have led to sweeping bans on abortion, and Washington became only the second state - after Oregon - to offer terminally ill people the option of physician-assisted suicide.
In California, exit polls suggested a close race on a high-profile measure that would ban gay marriage, the first time such a vote has taken place in a state where such unions are legal. Ballot counting continued into the night. Three other states appeared headed toward enacting measures that would curtail the rights of same-sex couples.
But, for the abortion rights movement, it was a day of relief and celebration. The Colorado measure, which was defeated soundly, would have defined life as beginning at conception. Its opponents said it could have led to outlawing some types of birth control as well as abortion.
The South Dakota measure would have banned abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and serious health threats to mothers. A tougher version, without the rape and incest exceptions, lost in 2006. Antiabortion activists thought the modifications would win approval, but the margin of defeat was similar, about 55 percent to 45 percent.
California voters approved a measure requiring that calves raised for veal, along with egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs, be confined in ways that allow them freedom of movement.
Michigan joined 12 other states in allowing use of marijuana for medical purposes. The measure will allow severely ill patients to register with the state and legally buy, grow, and use small amounts of marijuana to relieve pain, nausea, appetite loss, and other symptoms.
In all, 153 measures were at stake nationwide. The most momentous was the proposed constitutional amendment in California to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. Similar measures had prevailed in 27 states before the elections, but none were in California's situation - with thousands of gay couples already married following a state Supreme Court ruling. The opposing sides together raised about $70 million, much of it from out of state, to wage their campaigns. The outcome could have an impact on prospects for spreading same-sex marriage to the 47 states that do not allow it.
A crucial question in California was how churchgoing black and Hispanic voters would vote. According to exit polls, blacks were far more likely than whites or Hispanics to support the ban. Age also was a key factor. The exit polls suggested that voters under 30 opposed the ban by a 2-to-1 ratio, while most voters 60 and older supported the ban. Democratic presidential winner Barack Obama opposed the California amendment, and he endorses the concept of broader rights for same-sex couples.
Arizona approved a gay marriage ban yesterday, while a similar measure appeared headed for passage in Florida. Gay-rights forces also suffered a loss in Arkansas, where voters approved a measure banning unmarried couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents. Supporters made clear that gays and lesbians were their main target.
In other ballot measures:
# Missouri voters approved a measure requiring the state's three investor-owned power utilities to get 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2021.
# Nebraska voters approved a ban on race- and gender-based affirmative action, similar to measures previously approved in California, Michigan, and Washington.
November 5, 2008, 1 pm.
California Voters Approve Gay Marriage Ban
"Calif. voters approve gay-marriage ban", November 5, 2008
LOS ANGELES --California voters have approved a constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage, overturning the state Supreme Court decision that gave gay couples the right to wed just months ago.
The passage of Proposition 8 represents a crushing political defeat for gay rights activists, who had hoped public opinion on the contentious issue had shifted enough to help them defeat the measure.
It also represents a personal loss for the thousands of couples from California and others states who got married in the brief window when they could. Legal experts have said it will have to be resolved in court whether their unions still are valid.
"Most of California's Black Voters Backed Gay Marriage Ban: 53% of Latinos Also Supported Proposition 8"
By Karl Vick and Ashley Surdin, Washington Post Staff Writers, Friday, November 7, 2008; A03
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 6 -- Any notion that Tuesday's election represented a liberal juggernaut must overcome a detail from the voting booths of California: The same voters who turned out strongest for Barack Obama also drove a stake through the heart of same-sex marriage.
Seven in 10 African Americans who went to the polls voted yes on Proposition 8, the ballot measure overruling a state Supreme Court judgment that legalized same-sex marriage and brought 18,000 gay and lesbian couples to Golden State courthouses in the past six months.
Similar measures passed easily in Florida and Arizona. It was closer in California, but no ethnic group anywhere rejected the sanctioning of same-sex unions as emphatically as the state's black voters, according to exit polls. Fifty-three percent of Latinos also backed Proposition 8, overcoming the bare majority of white Californians who voted to let the court ruling stand.
The outcome that placed two pillars of the Democratic coalition -- minorities and gays -- at opposite ends of an emotional issue sparked street protests in Los Angeles and a candlelight vigil in San Francisco. To gay rights advocates, the issue was one of civil rights. Attorney General Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown Jr. reworded the ballot language to state that a yes vote was a vote to "eliminate the rights of same-sex couples to marry."
That appeal ran head-on into a well-funded and well-framed advertising campaign in favor of the ban -- and the deeply ingrained religious beliefs of an African American community that largely declined to see the issue through a prism of equality.
"I think it's mainly because of the way we were brought up in the church; we don't agree with it," said Jasmine Jones, 25, who is black. "I'm not really the type that I wanted to stop people's rights. But I still have my beliefs, and if I can vote my beliefs that's what I'm going to do.
"God doesn't approve it, so I don't approve it. And I approve of Him."
The overwhelming rejection of same-sex marriage by black voters was surprising and disappointing to gay rights advocates who had hoped that African Americans would empathize with their struggle.
"I wasn't surprised by the Latinos," said Steve Smith, senior consultant for No on 8. "Basically, Latinos and the Anglo population were fairly close. The outlier of the proposition was African Americans. Many are churchgoing; many had ministers tell them to vote."
Indeed, Proposition 8 promoters worked closely with black churches across the state, encouraging ministers to deliver sermons in favor of the ban.
"What the church does is give that perspective that this is a sacred issue as well as a social issue," said Derek McCoy, African American outreach director for the Protect Marriage Campaign. "The reason I feel they came out so strong on the issue is one, for them, it's not a civil rights issue, it's a marriage issue. It's about marriage being between a man and a woman and it doesn't cut into the civil rights issue, about equality.
"The gay community was never considered a third of a person."
Black residents agreed with that reasoning in interviews at a Culver City mall on Thursday. David Blannon, 73, who opposed the measure, said his wife summed up her yes vote in one sentence: " 'As far as I'm concerned, that's not something I read in the Bible.' And let it go at that," he said.
But Kesha Young, 32, called religious arguments a cover for persistent prejudices rooted elsewhere. Taboos against homosexuality are exceptionally strong in Africa, McCoy acknowledged.
"I'm going to tell you something about the black race: We love to pass judgment. I think that's just a smoke screen about the church thing," said Young, a licensed vocational nurse.
Anthony Maurice-White, 31, who is gay, said he learned early in life to keep his sexual orientation to himself around fellow blacks as a matter of routine. "Closed minds," he said in the mall parking lot. "And they're afraid of change."
His friend Ike Young, 21, nodded agreement. "I'm straight, but I think a lot of people are bi-curious but they're afraid of what family members will think of them," he said.
The Latino vote for the ban also appears rooted in culture.
"It's our tradition," said Flor Guardado, 38, who voted yes. "In Latino Central American culture, the gays aren't accepted."
Guardado said that in her native Honduras, she would not tell her mother if she had a lesbian friend. "If I had a lesbian friend, they'd think I was a lesbian, too," she said.
But in Los Angeles, where she owns a hair salon, a different kind of diplomacy obtains. All eight of her employees are gay. When they asked how she voted, she tells them it's a secret.
"I'm sorry for the gay people. They have feelings," said the mother of two. "Legally, I don't want that for the children. They will be confused and think it's okay. They might think they're gay, too."
Television commercials supporting the ban skirted the issue of rights, and instead declared that schools would treat same-sex marriage as normal. Even opponents acknowledged the ads as powerful and positioned to influence minority voters, whose children account for a disproportionate share of the public school population.
Pablo Correa said his mind was made up by a TV spot in which a young girl comes home from school and tells her mother she learned how a prince could marry a prince.
"Before, I didn't know about Proposition 8. When I saw the commercial, it opened my mind," said Correa, 42, standing in his beauty supply story in Boyle Heights, in heavily Latino East Los Angeles.
"I don't discriminate against people," he said, with a wave at the rows of lipstick and makeup. "I have a lot of customers who are homosexuals, transsexuals and bisexuals. I'm not against these people."
He added: "But I'm a traditionalist. I come from a traditional family. People can do whatever they want in their own life, but I have to protect my family."
Still, strategists for neither major party saw the outcome on Proposition 8 as an opening for Republicans to corral minority voters who share a socially conservative agenda.
"I think it's unclear that the social conservatism would trump economics," said Arnold Steinberg, a Republican strategist in Los Angeles. "Certainly with Latino voters there have been opportunities to market themselves on a socially conservative level. But the Republican Party has been too bumbling and irresponsible to do anything with it."
"Same-sex marriage begins in Connecticut"
By Gregory B. Hladky, Boston Globe Correspondent, November 12, 2008, 11:43 AM
NEW HAVEN -- Peg Oliveira and Jennifer Vickery became Connecticut's first legally wed same-sex couple shortly before 11 a.m. today in a ceremony on the steps of City Hall punctuated with tears, red roses, and clutches of white balloons.
Their marriage was conducted nearly 90 minutes after a lower court judge formally entered a decision to comply with a state Supreme Court ruling that found that any laws banning same-sex marriage violated Connecticut's constitution. Standing in Superior Court, the eight plaintiff couples in the case hugged each other and their lawyers as Judge Jonathan E. Silbert entered the ruling and cleared the final hurdle, making this the only state other than Massachusetts to allow same-sex couples to wed.
"Today Connecticut sends a message of hope and inspiration to lesbian and gay people throughout this country who simply want to be treated as equal citizens by their government," said Ben Klein, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, speaking on the courthouse steps "This is living proof that marriage equality is alive and well and making progress in this country."
The plaintiff couples and the crowd of 50 well-wishers walked a few blocks to City Hall to be greeted with bouquets of red roses and clusters of white balloons. A small crowd at the steps cheered and passing cars honked in support of the same-sex marriage victory.
In the City Clerk's office, Barbara and Robin Levine-Ritterman became the first of the plaintiff couples to get their marriage license. The couple's civil union "just did not compute" for their twin 11-year-old sons, Carlos and Fernando, said Barbara Levine-Ritterman. "Now they can say our moms are married," she said.
Jeffrey Busch and Stephen Davis, another of the plaintiff couples, wore pink "I do" buttons on their lapels as they emerged from city offices with their new marriage license.
"This feels like the beginning of a long married life together," said Busch with a wide grin as he stood with his partner of more than 16 years.
The recent vote in California to ban same-sex marriage with an amendment to that state's constitution dulled the glow of today's victory. "It's very sad," Davis said. "It does somewhat diminish our joy."
But Davis said he and his fiancée aren't worried about a similar ban ever taking affect in Connecticut because, "it is the safest place in the country for gays and lesbians."
The Connecticut Supreme Court issued a 4-3 decision on Oct. 10, ruling that the state's 2005 civil unions law did not go far enough. In finding that any ban on same-sex marriage violated the state constitution, the high court sent the case back to where it originated four years ago with Judge Silbert in Superior Court.
A similar state California Supreme Court decision legalized same-sex marriage there on June 16. That decision was overturned by a statewide referendum, which narrowly passed last week.
Same-sex marriage first became legal in Massachusetts in May 2004, following a decision by the Supreme Judicial Court.
"5 years later, views shift subtly on gay marriage"
By David Filipov, Boston Globe Staff, November 17, 2008
When the Supreme Judicial Court handed down its landmark decision five years ago tomorrow allowing same-sex couples to wed in Massachusetts, opponents warned that traditional marriage would be endangered, while supporters envisioned an equality movement that would spread across the nation.
Over 11,000 same-sex marriages later, neither has happened.
Massachusetts has yet to become, as former governor Mitt Romney predicted, the "Las Vegas of same-sex marriage." Gay marriage rates leveled off at about 1,500 a year - about 4 percent of all state marriages - in 2006 and 2007. The divorce rate in Massachusetts has remained the same - and the lowest in the country.
And only one other state now allows same-sex marriage; 30 states have a ban against it.
What's really changed is more subtle than cosmic, more about the everyday lives of gay couples in Massachusetts than about a national transformation. Gay and lesbian couples here said they are attracting fewer startled looks when they rent cars, less consternation when they hold hands, fewer awkward questions when they visit spouses in hospital rooms.
"When we're out together as a couple, it really doesn't come up; we're never challenged anymore," said David Wilson, one of the plaintiffs in the 2003 SJC case and the current chairman of MassEquality, a gay-rights advocacy group. "It's now considered normal."
Maureen Brodoff and Ellen Wade, who were among the first gay and lesbian couples to wed here, have noticed the decrease in embarrassed double takes when they introduce themselves as wife and wife.
"The sky didn't fall," Brodoff said Wednesday, as she and Wade sat with their English setters Diana and Joey in the living room of their tidy Colonial in Newton Centre. "The newness of it has eased. It's just another marriage."
Brodoff and Wade, also plaintiffs in the 2003 case, have lived together since 1980 and have a 19-year-old daughter, Kate, a sophomore at Bates College. Since they were wed on May 17, 2004 - the first day same-sex couples could marry - the fanfare and euphoria have given way to the routine familiar to most American families.
Their rights, however, remain limited to Massachusetts: The federal government doesn't recognize their marriage, and therefore does not extend to them the rights it accords heterosexual families for taxes, inheritance, and survivor benefits, among other things.
"We are, sadly, a long way from nationwide same-sex marriage rights," said Wade.
The comfort levels of same-sex couples in Massachusetts have hardly been contagious. Outside the Northeast, opponents of gay marriage have been on something of a winning streak, including this Election Day, when they won popular votes to ban gay marriage in Arizona and Florida, as well as California, which had seen more than 18,000 same-sex marriages after a May 15 court ruling allowed them.
"We're very pleased, of course," said Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, a nonprofit public policy group that has pushed for an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage. "Most people believe that marriage is about the creation and nurturing of children. Two fathers, two mothers, don't make up for a mother and a father."
Groups that oppose gay marriage say the state is trying to force people to accept behavior they believe is unnatural and unacceptable. But there are signs that the number of people opposed to same-sex marriage is waning in Massachusetts. In February 2004, a survey of 400 voters found that 42 percent were in favor of same-sex marriage and 44 percent opposed it. In a similar survey completed this August, approval sprang to 59 percent and opposition sank to 37 percent, said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, which conducted the polls.
State Representative Brian P. Wallace, a Democrat from South Boston, has felt that mood in his district. Wallace, who in January 2007 voted in favor of a ban on same-sex marriage, was one of several lawmakers who changed their minds in June 2007, when the Legislature defeated a measure to put the question of marriage on the ballot.
"My constituency is changing," he explained. Although "there's still people who haven't spoken to me after the vote," most of his constituents, he said, no longer worry about same-sex marriage.
"Nobody is hurt by it," Wallace said. "There are other issues."
Representative Paul J. Kujawski, a Democrat who represents a district in southern Worcester County, also changed his vote. "I looked at it from a standpoint of my personal life and my family and it didn't affect me at all," he said. "It really became an issue where we would be taking happiness away from people's lives."
Gay marriage opponents had vowed to elect a Legislature that supported their agenda. On Election Day, the opposite took place. Out of its 200 members, the Legislature now has 158 lawmakers who Marc Solomon, executive director of MassEquality, believes support his cause, an increase of three legislators.
The attitudes of people interviewed Saturday in Boston suggested that same-sex marriage is not the main issue for voters. Bob Barnes of Boston reflected a common view: For him, marriage meant a wife, but he doesn't think he or anyone else has the right to tell other people how to live.
"Let people do what they please," Barnes said, adding: "They don't bother me."
"I wasn't raised that way," said Edward Pina of Boston, as he watched demonstrators head to City Hall Plaza for a rally in favor of gay marriage. "I'm not going to support it, but I'm not uncomfortable with it."
The Legislature's July 31 decision to repeal a 1913 law banning out-of-state couples from tying the knot here appears to have resulted in an increase of weddings among couples from Rhode Island and New York, which recognize same-sex marriages officiated in other states. Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, said that in Provincetown, the number of marriage licenses for same-sex couples increased from an average of 30 per month in May through July to an average of 100 per month in August through October; Barnstable County has seen a 12.7 increase in hotel revenue between August 2007 and August 2008.
Despite the wave of defeats nationally, gay-rights advocates here hailed the beginning of same-sex marriages in Connecticut last week, and said they would try to advance the idea that the rest of the country has nothing to fear from same-sex marriage.
Ten states, plus the District of Columbia, offer "significant legal protection for same-sex couples," according to Mary Bonauto, a lawyer at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. She was the lead counsel in the 2003 Massachusetts SJC case.
"Everyone knows, no matter which side of the issue they're on, that marriage is inevitable for same-sex couples," she said. "I'm not saying it's going to be a short road in some of the states."
Even in Massachusetts, gays and lesbians have yet to achieve complete equality. On a sports radio talk show on WEEI-AM (850) last Wednesday, callers reacted to the news that Boston had been named a finalist to host the 2014 Gay Games with a stream of homophobic jokes and slights, as the show's hosts cackled with glee and added their own antigay wisecracks.
"People can still get away with homophobic slurs in a way that you couldn't, talking about Jews or Italians," Solomon said.
Brian Camenker of the group MassResistance, which opposes gay marriage, said he believes that most people cannot accept the idea of gays and lesbians as a group whose rights need special protection.
"The concept is so ridiculous and absurd," he said.
Camenker contends that gay marriage will never take root in the United States, where, he said, "in most people's minds, the concept of gay marriage doesn't exist and never will exist."
Same-sex marriage is opposed by many religious denominations, including Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, and Orthodox Judaism. Some liberal denominations have accepted gay marriage; others are struggling with the issue. In the Episcopal Church, for example, clergy in Massachusetts are barred from officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies but permitted to bless same-sex couples.
Lori Herman of Needham, who married her longtime partner, Sara Orozco, in May 2004, has experienced both kinds of attitudes toward gay marriage in Massachusetts. People who see her all the time accept her. People who don't know her well are occasionally "taken aback" when they learn she married a woman.
Herman and Orozco divorced a couple of years ago. They now share the upbringing of their 9-year-old twins.
"Some marriages work out and some don't. It's nothing to do with gay or straight," she said. "It shows you we're exactly like you."
David Filipov can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Michael Paulson of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Sarah Gantz contributed to this report.
A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL: Short Fuse, January 22, 2009
"Campaigns: The courage to censor public records?"
Contributors to the Proposition 8 campaign overturning same-sex marriage rights in California have filed suit in federal court to block disclosure of their names and addresses. Under a post-Watergate California law, donors of more than $100 to political campaigns are required to list their names, addresses, and occupations. Proposition 8 supporters, many from out of state, amply funded the mean-spirited ballot question. But now they say they are being harassed, or their businesses boycotted, and they have asked for a preliminary injunction to stop the release of a report on the final weeks of the campaign, due Feb 2. Gay-marriage opponents talk about standing by their convictions. But they aren't doing it.
"Vermont legalizes gay marriage with veto override"
By Dave Gram, Associated Press Writer, April 7, 2009
MONTPELIER, Vt. --Vermont on Tuesday became the fourth state to legalize gay marriage -- and the first to do so with a legislature's vote.
The House recorded a dramatic 100-49 vote, the minimum needed, to override Gov. Jim Douglas' veto. Its vote followed a much easier override vote in the Senate, which rebuffed the Republican governor with a vote of 23-5.
Vermont was the first state to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples and joins Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa in giving gays the right to marry. Their approval of gay marriage came from the courts.
Tuesday morning's legislative action came less than a day after Douglas issued a veto message saying the bill would not improve the lot of gay and lesbian couples because it still would not provide them rights under federal and other states' laws.
Douglas called override "not unexpected." He had called the issue of gay marriage a distraction during a time when economic and budget issues were more important.
"What really disappoints me is that we have spent some time on an issue during which another thousand Vermonters have lost their jobs," the governor said Tuesday. "We need to turn out attention to balancing a budget without raising taxes, growing the economy, putting more people to work."
House Speaker Shap Smith's announcement of the vote brought an outburst of jubilation from some of the hundreds packed into the gallery and the lobby outside the House chamber, despite the speaker's admonishment against such displays.
Among the celebrants in the lobby were former Rep. Robert Dostis, D-Waterbury, and his longtime partner, Chuck Kletecka. Dostis recalled efforts to expand gay rights dating to an anti-discrimination law passed in 1992.
"It's been a very long battle. It's been almost 20 years to get to this point," Dostis said. "I think finally, most people in Vermont understand that we're a couple like any other couple. We're as good and as bad as any other group of people. And now I think we have a chance to prove ourselves here on forward that we're good members of our community."
Dostis said he and Kletecka will celebrate their 25th year together in September.
"Is that a proposal?" Kletecka asked.
"Yeah," Dostis replied. "Twenty-five years together, I think it's time we finally got married."
Craig Bensen, a gay marriage opponent who had lobbied unsuccessfully for a nonbinding referendum on the question, said he was disappointed but believed gay marriage opponents were outspent by supporters by a 20-1 margin.
"The other side had a highly funded, extremely well-oiled machine with all the political leadership except the governor pushing to make this happen," he said. "The fact that it came down to this tight a vote is really astounding."
Also in the crowd was Michael Feiner, a farmer from Roxbury and gay marriage supporter, who took a break from collecting sap for maple syrup-making to come to the Statehouse.
"I'm taking a break to come and basically make sure that I was here to witness history," he said.
The House had initially approved the bill last week with a 95-52 vote. Smith and his leadership team worked through the weekend to try to persuade some legislators to change their minds.
One who did was first-term Rep. Jeff Young, D-St. Albans. He said he continued to be philosophically opposed to gay marriage, but decided that voting with his fellow Democrats would help him be an effective legislator in the future.
"You realize that, you know, it's a poker game in some ways," Young said. "Chips on the table. I'm a freshman. I have no chips. If I ... had 20 years of chips, I probably could play any card I want. I don't have that option."
He added, "It's the way the political game is played."
The Boston Globe, Op-Ed
"Breaking the silence around bullying"
By Sue Hyde, April 18, 2009
DESPONDENT over daily bullying and harassment at his middle school in Springfield, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, a sweet-faced 11-year-old, hanged himself earlier this month. His mother, Sirdeaner L. Walker, found him hanging by an extension cord in their home.
Before this tragic moment, she had attempted to get help and support from the administrators of his school, the New Leadership Charter School, where her sixth-grader endured taunting and threats of violence, some of which included anti-gay epithets. Carl played football, soccer, and basketball. He belonged to a Boy Scout troop, was active in his church, and did not identify as gay. Another young person ended a promising life, alone and scared and crushed by his peers' degradations.
The terrible truth is that Carl was not the first child to end his life, nor the last.
Eric Mohat, 17, from Mentor, Ohio, went home from school on March 27, 2007, and shot himself in the head. According to court papers filed in a lawsuit by his parents against his school, Mohat suffered harassment and bullying that took the form of constant name-calling, teasing, and verbal intimidation as well as pushing, shoving, and hitting both in class and in hallways of the high school. His parents do not seek punitive damages; instead, they want the school district to recognize the suicide as the result of homophobia and to implement an anti-bullying program to prevent other similar tragedies.
According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Center, nearly one in three youths nationwide report either being bullied, having bullied someone, or both. For students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), the statistics are grimmer. "Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2 percent) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1 percent) reported being physically harassed, and about a quarter (22.1 percent) reported being physically assaulted," according to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 LGBT students.
The report continues, "Nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (60.8 percent) who experience harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school. . . . Of those who did report the incident, nearly a third (31.1 percent) said the school staff did nothing in response."
Nothing in response? Nothing to help young people who rise each morning not knowing if school brings another day of hell on earth or something a bit more tolerable? As parents and school leaders, we cannot tolerate this status quo.
Here in Massachusetts, legislators have filed 14 bills that address bullying in schools. As caring adults, we must work for an anti-bullying law that guarantees public school environments are free of bullying and harassment based on actual or perceived race, national origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, weight, or sex. While a listing of actual or perceived characteristics like race or sexual orientation and gender identity/expression may seem unnecessary, it is important that school personnel be attuned to the specific ways that students are targeted.
The Golden Rule hasn't created safe school environments.
My eighth-grade son reports that he often hears and challenges anti-gay slurs and name-calling on the playground, in the hallways, and on his school bus. Would that every kid could be so brave, but many children do not have the self-confidence and support to challenge anti-gay slurs slung around the schoolyard. Students, teachers, and school leaders all need to help end the scourge of bullying.
Carl would have celebrated his 12th birthday yesterday; instead, his mother was expected to "break the silence" at an event in Springfield marking the end of the national Day of Silence, a program to raise awareness about LGBT bullying and harassment at school.
Let's join Sirdeaner Walker by breaking the silence around bullying. Let's ensure that our political leaders take fast action to implement strong school safety policies that include accountability mechanisms, training for school personnel, and specific definitions of bullying behavior and its lonely targets.
Sue Hyde is a staff member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Governor John Baldacci of Maine signed the state's gay marriage bill into law yesterday. Baldacci, a Democrat who previously opposed same-sex marriage, said his opinion had evolved. (Pat Wellenbach/ Associated Press)
"Maine governor OK's gay marriage: N.H. lawmakers approve a bill"
By Jenna Russell and Eric Moskowitz, Boston Globe Staff, May 7, 2009
Governor John E. Baldacci of Maine yesterday became the first governor in the country to sign a same-sex marriage bill into law without being spurred to action by a court decision. Also yesterday, New Hampshire legislators approved a gay marriage law, raising to five the number of New England states that have legalized marriage between same-sex couples and bringing the region closer to uniform acceptance.
Both states face more hurdles before couples may wed there. In Maine, where the law will not take effect for 90 days, conservative groups have pledged to bring the measure to a statewide vote. They are expected to collect 55,000 signatures in the next three months to challenge the law on the ballot in November.
In New Hampshire, Governor John Lynch, a Democrat, will have five days from when he receives the bill to veto it, sign it, or let it become law without his signature. If he does not block it, it would take effect in January 2010. Lynch has not signaled his intentions, but has opposed same-sex marriage in the past.
Around the country, polls show that a majority of Americans still oppose gay marriage. But the signing ceremony at the State House in Augusta yesterday capped weeks of rapid progress for proponents in New England, five years after Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Vermont approved gay marriage last month, and Connecticut legalized it last fall after a court battle.
Nationally, supporters of same-sex marriage suffered a blow in November, when voters in California banned gay marriage. The state's Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of that ban.
But recent steps in New England and elsewhere have added to a sense of momentum. Last month the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage. And in a striking sign of change at the federal level, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House, said this week that Congress will not challenge a decision by the District of Columbia to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, as allowed under the district's charter.
New Hampshire Representative James Splaine, the primary sponsor of the gay marriage bill approved in his state yesterday, said he is proud of the region's leadership on the issue.
"It's making it clear that New England is a place to continue respect for equality and diversity," said Splaine, who is gay.
In Maine, supporters said the bill's smooth passage through the Legislature followed years of outreach and education that introduced voters and legislators to gay families and explained the importance of marriage to gay couples and their children.
Baldacci, a Democrat who previously opposed same-sex marriage and supported civil unions, said his own views evolved over time.
"I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste," the governor said yesterday at the State House. "I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."
Observers were surprised at the relative ease of the Maine bill's passage, in a state that has not always embraced equal rights for gays and lesbians. In 1998 and again in 2000, Maine legislators voted to expand the law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, but both times voters narrowly struck down the measure in a statewide referendum. The last attempt to change the law, in 2005, succeeded.
The success of the 2005 campaign - as well as the swift recent progress of the gay marriage bill, which was introduced for the first time four months ago - followed a change in the strategy of equal rights proponents, said Amy Fried, a political science professor at the University of Maine in Orono.
"They showed real families, in real situations, so instead of a theoretical argument, it was about real people," she said.
The recent referendum battles in the state forced more gay people to identify themselves and talk about the issue, said Mary Bonauto, the civil rights project director for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the Boston-based group that campaigned for the change. The debate made more Mainers aware of their gay friends and relatives, a powerful tool in shifting public opinion, according to specialists.
"Once people know somebody who's out, they can't have the same stereotypes," Fried said.
Supporters also traced the sea change to Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, in 2004.
"Once there was marriage in Massachusetts, people could see what it looked like, and the truth emerged, that these families were not taking anything away from anyone else," Bonauto said. "Massachusetts obviously moved the conversation forward."
A Maine resident who married her partner in Massachusetts, Bonauto said the approval in Maine felt very personal.
"It's an amazing feeling to know your leaders are standing up for your family," she said.
Vermont and New Hampshire both enacted civil unions before legislators took up the gay marriage debate. In Vermont, the first state to legalize civil unions, in 2000, Governor Jim Douglas, a Republican, vetoed the same-sex marriage bill, but legislators overrode the veto with a two-thirds majority.
In New Hampshire, Governor Lynch issued a statement last week calling the debate over marriage an "intensely passionate and personal one" and saying that civil unions achieve the goal of equal rights for same-sex couples under New Hampshire law. He said changes to federal law would achieve more real progress than a change in New Hampshire statutes to recognize same-sex marriage.
Lynch declined to comment yesterday.
In New Hampshire, where civil unions have been legal since being approved in 2007, the new law would automatically convert those unions into marriages after one year. Couples would also be able to file paperwork to convert to marriages sooner.
Same-sex marriage supporters have not stepped up efforts to pass a law in Rhode Island because the current governor - Donald Carcieri, a Republican - has promised to veto it.
The Maine Family Policy Council will lead the fight to block the Maine law by placing it on the ballot for a statewide vote, the group's executive director, Mike Heath, said yesterday.
He said he believes that a large majority of Maine voters will reject gay marriage. But he acknowledged that public opinion is in flux.
"Things are always changing, and the question is, will it continue to change in this direction," Heath said. "I don't know, but I will work to try and influence it."
"5 years later, gay marriage accepted in Massachusetts"
By David Crary, Ap National Writer, May 9, 2009
WHITINSVILLE, Massachusetts – Twenty years after he met the love of his life, nearly five years after their wedding helped make history, it took a nasty bout of pneumonia for Gary Chalmers to fully appreciate the blessings of marriage.
"I was out of work for eight weeks, spent a week in the hospital," Chalmers said. "That was the first time I really felt thankful for the sense of the security we had, with Rich there, talking with the physicians, helping make decisions. ... It really made a difference."
At stake was the most basic recognition of marital bonds — something most spouses take for granted. But until May 17, 2004, when Chalmers and Richard Linnell were among a surge of same-sex couples marrying in Massachusetts, it was legally unavailable to American gays and lesbians.
Since that day, four other states — Connecticut in 2008, and Iowa, Vermont and Maine this year — have legalized same-sex marriage, and more may follow soon. A measure just approved by New Hampshire's legislature awaits the governor's decision on whether to sign. But Massachusetts was the first, providing a five-year record with which to gauge the consequences.
At the time of those first weddings, the debate was red-hot — protests were frequent, expectations ran high that legislators would allow a referendum on whether to overturn the court ruling ordering same-sex marriage. Now, although Roman Catholic leaders and some conservative activists remain vocally opposed, there is overwhelming political support for same-sex marriage and no prospect for a referendum.
According to the latest state figures, through September 2008, there had been 12,167 same-sex marriages in Massachusetts — 64 percent of them between women — out of 170,209 marriages in all. Some consequences have been tangible — a boom for gay-friendly wedding businesses, the exit of a Roman Catholic charity from the adoption business — and some almost defy description.
"Having your committed relationships recognized — to say it's deeply meaningful is to trivialize it," said Mary Bonauto, lead lawyer in the landmark lawsuit. "I know people who'd been together 20 years who say, 'Getting married — it knocked my socks off.'"
Chalmers and Linnell were among seven gay and lesbian couples recruited by Bonauto's team to be the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
They had been partners since meeting in Worcester in 1988, and now live nearby in Linnell's childhood house in the rural outskirts of Whitinsville with their 16-year-old daughter, Paige, whom they adopted as an infant.
The south-central town of 6,300, with no gay community to speak of, is relatively far from cosmopolitan Boston and the gay vacation mecca of Provincetown, but the family feels thoroughly comfortable.
Paige, who brims with self-confidence, is helping form a gay-straight alliance at her high school. When her fathers got married, she said, "all my friends were saying they wanted to come to the wedding."
Chalmers, an elementary school curriculum coordinator in nearby Shrewsbury, and Linnell, nurse manager at a medical center, say they didn't need the wedding to prove their commitment to one another, but they appreciate the added legal stability and the recognition they get from others.
"Before, we had wills, we had power of attorney," Chalmers said. "But the fact of the matter was, you can't make up for the thousand or so rights that are given to married couples."
They said many of the fellow townspeople they'd spoken with were unaware that gay couples — pre-2004 — generally lacked these rights, ranging from income tax provisions to medical decision-making to property inheritance.
Another plus: Explanations about family ties are easier now that "husband" is an option.
"More than once," Chalmers recalled, "I was introducing Rich and said, 'This is my partner,' and they'd say, 'Oh, what kind of company do you own? What business are you in?'"
Another of the seven lawsuit couples — Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith — live in the lesbian-friendly college town of Northampton with their two sons — Quinn, 9, and Avery 12. Like their fellow plaintiffs, they married as soon as legally possible — on May 17, 2004.
Heidi, who is white, runs an emergency food pantry, while Gina, an African-American, is an elementary school classroom aide. Heidi gave birth to both sons, who are biracial, and the family name merges the moms' maiden names.
"When we were getting ready to have the kids, we wanted to cross all our T's and dot all our I's, feeling there were so many protections for heterosexual married families that just weren't available to us," Heidi said.
"When marriage finally happened, there was that emotional sigh of relief — just knowing there would be a legal framework, and a court of law would understand our family."
Heidi and Gina bridle at the contention of some gay-marriage opponents that children such as theirs will suffer from not being raised by both a mother and father.
"We have really great kids," says Gina. "It's been fun to have people see who we are."
Listening in on the conversation were Quinn — just arrived from shooting baskets outside — and Avery, both doing homework on the sofa, occasionally offering their thoughts.
Said Heidi, "Having two parents who can feel and express love for each other, and give it in abundance to their children, that's what matters. It doesn't matter what the identities of those parents are."
One of the striking developments, since 2004, is the fading away of opposition to gay marriage among elected officials in Massachusetts.
When the state's Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2003 that banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, there seemed to be sufficient support in the Legislature for a ballot measure that would overturn the decision. But efforts to unseat pro-gay-marriage legislators floundered; a gay-marriage supporter, Deval Patrick, was elected governor; and a climactic push for a referendum was rejected by lawmakers in 2007 by a 151-45 vote.
Last year, lawmakers went further, repealing a 1913 law that blocked most out-of-state gays from marrying in Massachusetts. The vote in the House was 119-36.
The near-consensus now among political leaders is a far cry from 2003-04, when the debate was wrenching for legislators such as Sen. Marian Walsh. Her district, including parts of Boston and some close-in suburbs, is heavily Catholic and socially conservative, so when same-sex marriage became a public issue, "there wasn't an appetite to discuss it, let alone support it," Walsh said.
Once the high court ruled, Walsh faced intense pressure from constituents wanting to know whether she would support efforts to overturn it.
"I had hundreds of requests to meet with people on both sides," Walsh said. "Everyone wanted to know how was I going to vote."
She read up on the law, engaged in countless conversations, wrestled with her conscience, and finally decided the court was right — and there should be no referendum.
"It was a lot of hard work," she said. "I came to the decision that it really is a civil right — that the constitution was there to protect rights, not to diminish rights."
She described the reaction as a "firestorm" — embittered constituents, hate mail and death threats, rebukes from Catholic clergy, but she won re-election in 2004 and again in 2006 over challengers who opposed gay marriage.
"They said marriage is always between a man and women," Walsh mused. "I used to think that was true. I had those same premises, but those premises were false."
For all the joy and reassurance that marriage has brought to same-sex couples, it also entails periodic reminders that neither the federal government nor the vast majority of other states recognize their unions. Partly as a backlash to Massachusetts, 26 states have passed constitutional amendments since May 2004 explicitly limiting marriage to male/female unions.
Even the 2010 census, under the prevailing federal Defense of Marriage Act, likely won't record legally wed couples in Massachusetts and elsewhere as married.
"It feels like a slap in the face," said Heidi Nortonsmith.
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the Boston legal firm which won the same-sex marriage case, filed a new lawsuit in March challenging the portion of the act that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
President Barack Obama has pledged to work to repeal the act, but it hasn't been among his priorities since taking office.
"I'm so dying to meet him and have him sit down with my family," Heidi said of Obama. "He could be a leader about this."
For now, federal non-recognition can be stinging.
After Michael and Rick McManus of Charlton married in 2006, they honeymooned in Panama, and on return to the United States were told at the immigration booth that they had to go through separately because U.S. law didn't consider them married.
Michael and Rick have subsequently adopted a son, turning 2 on May 7, and a daughter, almost 1. They plan to limit international travel until the federal policy changes.
"I don't want our kids to be coming through customs and having to explain that their dads aren't married there," Michael said.
Within Massachusetts, they said, being married has been a big plus — for example in dealing with state adoption officials.
"They knew we were a family that was in it for the long haul," Michael said.
But they are frustrated at having to file two sets of tax returns, at extra cost, as a married couple in Massachusetts and as single men for the Internal Revenue Service. And they were dismayed when Arkansas voters last fall approved a ballot measure that bans gay couples from adopting.
"We're constantly reminding our friends that we still live in a world where people in another state voted that Rick and I aren't fit to parent," Michael said. "There's a sense of security for our family here — but when we leave this state, it's a very different world."
Joyce Kauffman, a Boston family-law attorney with many gay and lesbian clients, said particular hardships await same-sex couples who marry in Massachusetts and later seek to be divorced in a state that doesn't recognize the union.
"Sometimes people don't make it," she said. "What are they going to do?"
Massachusetts doesn't track same-sex divorces as a distinct category, so there are no statistics comparing how same-sex and opposite-sex couples who married since 2004 have fared in terms of breakups.
Overall, Kauffman thinks same-sex marriages — many between longtime partners — have been more stable. But she also has encountered same-sex couples who wed unwisely on impulse in 2004.
"A lot of people got caught up in the moment, for the wrong reason," she said. "But most are truly committed."
One of the couples that divorced, Julie and Hillary Goodridge, was among the plaintiffs in the landmark lawsuit, which became known as the Goodridge case.
Janet Halley, a professor at Harvard Law School who has studied same-sex divorce, said gays and lesbians will likely split at the same rate as heterosexuals, even though they face extra challenges.
"The stresses are going to be higher because of the very inconsistent ways in which different states and the federal government enforce the legal elements of marriage," she said.
Halley advised gay couples not to strive for some idealized goal of family perfection.
"In order to argue that they were entitled to marry, they thought they had to represent same-sex relationships as more committed, more loving, more altruistic than is realistic," she said.
"Holy cow, the sky hasn't fallen."
That assessment of five years of same-sex marriage came from Jennifer Chrisler, who advocates for gay and lesbian parents as head of the Boston-based Family Equality Council. It's a common refrain from many like-minded activists, and the message can be grating for those who still speak out with opposing views.
"We absolutely believe the sky is falling," said Kris Mineau, a former Air Force pilot and pastor who is president of the Massachusetts Family Institute. "But we believe it would be a generational downfall, not an overnight downfall."
Mineau and his allies say their primary concern is the welfare of children raised by same-sex couples — even though establishment groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics say such children fare just as well as children with heterosexual parents.
"No matter how loving and how caring two women are, there's no way they can replace the role of the father," Mineau said. "It will take a generation to prove that, but we have no reason to think otherwise."
Mineau also said religious liberty is at risk in Massachusetts, and cited the example of Catholic Charities of Boston, which stopped providing adoption services in 2006 because state law required it to consider same-sex parents when looking for adoptive homes.
At Boston College, one of the nation's leading Catholic universities, law professor Scott FitzGibbon said legalization of same-sex marriage also has created friction in the public school system and exposed students to "indoctrination".
Statewide, there is no mandate that schools teach about same-sex marriage, but FitzGibbon said he was troubled by some local districts' policies. Citing a 2004 anti-bias directive in Boston, he said a teacher there could risk his or her career "by encouraging an examination of the cons as well as the pros of same-sex marriage."
FitzGibbon also said many parents had been troubled by the Goodridge case.
"Same-sex programs lead on almost inevitably to a situation of discord and tension between teachers and school officials, on the one hand, and those numerous parents who adhere to ethical beliefs and belong to religious communities which disfavor those practices."
One such couple, David and Tonia Parker of Lexington, have withdrawn their two sons from public school and are now homeschooling them after a lengthy confrontation with school officials.
Parker objected in 2005 when his youngest son brought home a book from kindergarten that depicted a gay family. He was later arrested for refusing to leave the school after officials wouldn't agree to notify him when homosexuality was discussed in his son's class.
The Parkers filed an unsuccessful lawsuit contending that school administrators violated a state law requiring that parents get a chance to exempt their children from sex-education curriculum. School officials said the books didn't focus on sex education, and merely depicted various families.
"Parental rights lost out in a big way — the right of parents to oversee the moral upbringing of their own children," said Parker. "The judges are trying to force the government to affirm, embrace and celebrate gay marriage."
Opposition to same-sex marriage remains strong in the Roman Catholic hierarchy, though church leaders are less vocal on the issue than a few years ago when they campaigned hard for a referendum. Disappointment in the legislature for blocking a public vote is still deep.
"Why was it squelched?" asked Bishop Robert McManus of Worcester. "It seems to me, in terms of the politicians, that they have listened more intently to a well-heeled, organized political action group than they have to the will of the people."
McManus, who was installed as bishop just three days before the first same-sex weddings, says traditional husband/wife marriage already was under stress, as evidenced by the high divorce rate, and could be undermined further by the spread of same-sex marriage.
"The mantra that the sky hasn't fallen takes a short-term view," he said. "We don't know what the implications will be."
The Catholic church, he said, would welcome a civil debate, but he questioned whether this was feasible.
"The proponents of same-sex marriage argue that if you're opposed, you are exercising bigotry," the bishop said. "No one who's proud of being an American wants to be accused of being a bigot, so some people retreat into a live-and-let-live situation."
McManus insists the church won't compromise on marriage and says its views, over time, can still prevail.
Bonauto, the lead lawyer in the lawsuit, sees a different outcome as more states consider same-sex marriage or extend other recognition to gay couples.
"Goodridge set a new standard, and the standard was equality," she said. "It was a game changer. Even our opponents know it's only matter of time before there's marriage equality nationwide."
"Study: Gay marriages pump $111 million into Massachusetts"
The Associated Press (AP), May 17, 2009
AMHERST, Massachusetts -- A study says the over 12,000 same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts since 2004 have pumped over $111 million into the state's economy.
The report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law says a typical same-sex couple spent about $7,400 on their wedding, with one in ten couples spending over $20,000.
A second study by the same group found that young, highly educated people in same-sex relationships were 2.5 times more likely to move to Massachusetts after 2004 than before gay marriage became legal.
M.V. Lee Badgett, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts and a study co-author, says allowing gay couples to marry has helped businesses in tough economic times.
Sunday marks the five-year anniversary of Massachusetts recording its first same-sex marriage licenses.
Information from: Cape Cod Times, www.capecodonline.com
"Gay nuptials boost profits"
By Mary Ann Bragg, email@example.com - May 17, 2009
PROVINCETOWN — All the flowers, cakes, invitations, tuxedos and horse-drawn carriages purchased or rented for same-sex nuptials in Massachusetts has added an estimated $111 million to the state's economy, according to a new report from The Williams Institute at the University of California School of Law.
And merchants here who provide those services say the advent of same-sex marriage plus other factors have put the town on the map as a wedding hub.
"It's a combination of the increase of same-sex marriage and also the increase of our marketing efforts," Ellen Burbank said of the rise in weddings held at the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum.
Today is the five-year anniversary of when Massachusetts began recording same-sex marriage licenses. It was the first state in the country to do so, following a historic decision by the state Supreme Judicial Court to legalize the unions seven months before.
Since then, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont have allowed same-sex marriage. A decision in favor of same-sex marriage is pending in New Hampshire.
By the end of 2008, Massachusetts had recorded 12,167 same-sex marriages, according to the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.
In Provincetown, a well-known gay tourist destination, 1,965 same-sex marriage licenses have been returned to Town Hall since May 17, 2004.
The nonprofit Pilgrim Monument will host nine weddings on its hilltop grounds this year, of which seven are same-sex, Burbank said. The number of weddings held at the site in 2003, the year before same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts, was miniscule, Burbank said.
The cost of renting the Pilgrim Monument grounds ranges from $250 to beyond $2,500, Burbank said. The monument grounds are featured prominently as a marriage venue on the Provincetown Business Guild's Web site, under the "Getting Married" section.
The local business group markets to gay men and lesbian tourists.
This weekend, Provincetown Florist owner Maghi Geary has four weddings, of which three are same-sex couples. Geary's company has profited from the first waves of same-sex marriages, starting in 2004, she said. But it's also benefited from other states recognizing same-sex marriages and from out-of-state couples being allowed to marry in Massachusetts as of last year. Now, more out-of-state couples are drawn to Provincetown for their vows, Geary said.
"This has definitely been an economic boom for us," she said.
Along with the surge in gay marriages, the number of weddings overall has risen in Provincetown.
From 2000 to 2003, the average annual count of opposite-sex marriages recorded in Provincetown was 29, compared with 36 during the years 2004 to 2008.
Ptown Parties caterer David Schermacher has 33 weddings booked for this year. About a third of them are opposite-sex weddings, he said. As word has spread that marriage services are readily available, the town has become more attractive to opposite-sex couples, according to Schermacher.
"We did some second weddings for older straight couples," he said. "They said, 'When we were growing up here, you couldn't even have a wedding.'"
WEDDING SPENDING ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
$5,400: The average amount same-sex couples in Massachusetts spent on their wedding.
$21,814: The average wedding cost in the United States in 2008
WEDDING SPENDING IN MASSACHUSETTS BY SAME-SEX MARRIED COUPLES
10 percent $0-$100
21 percent $101-$1,000
24 percent $1,001-$5,000
21 percent $5,001-$10,000
14 percent $10,001-$20,000
6 percent $20,001-$30,000
4 percent More than $30,000
Source: May 2009 report from The Williams Institute, University of California School of Law
"N.H. ties gay-marriage knot: Revised bill assures religious protections"
By Eric Moskowitz, Boston Globe Staff, June 4, 2009
CONCORD - New Hampshire became the fifth state in New England yesterday and the sixth in the country to allow same-sex marriage, as lawmakers approved and the governor signed revised legislation designed to balance personal and religious freedom.
Hang-ups over the wording had threatened to kill the bill multiple times this spring, but in a flurry of activity yesterday, Senate and House lawmakers approved a final version acceptable to Governor John Lynch.
"Today we're standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities, and respect under New Hampshire law," said Lynch, a former opponent of gay marriage, in the Executive Council Chamber just before he signed the bill. "But we are also standing up for religious liberties."
Lynch, a Democrat, called it "a day to celebrate in New Hampshire." The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2010, clarifies that religious institutions and their employees are free to determine whether to participate in weddings between gay and lesbian couples and whether to recognize same-sex unions granted by the state and other religious groups.
Amid the cheers of lawmakers and activists who crowded in to watch him sign the legislation, Lynch also expressed support for changing federal marriage law to allow the marriages. It was a scene scarcely imaginable just a few years ago.
In the 200-seat House Gallery, supporters of same-sex marriage outnumbered opponents approximately 10 to 1. After lawmakers cast the decisive vote, the gallery erupted in thunderous applause.
"We're thrilled to death," said Mo Baxley, executive director of the New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition, which led the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage. "We're equal. Equal isn't nothing - it's everything."
As people spilled out amid hugs and cheers, same-sex marriage opponent Barbara Haines stood to the side and whispered, "Repent, repent."
"The basis of marriage is in God, and he created the male and the female to be married and have a family," Haines, a 54-year-old architecture student from Manchester who leads her own ministry, said as she stood beneath a row of oil paintings of 19th-century officials. "These people are deceived."
Outside the State House, supporters touted messages of individual liberty, equality for same-sex couples, and freedom for the religious institutions that want to consecrate their marriages. Opponents focused on religion.
"It's not for us to go against what the Creator has said, in his word," said Darla Davis, a 47-year-old homemaker from Pembroke, N.H., who carried a sign reading "Truth: One Man One Woman." Davis brought her two adolescent sons because, she said, she knew that same-sex marriage advocates would bring a large, vocal crowd.
"I know God is on my side," she said, sitting on a bench with a friend at the plaza outside the granite-block State House. "I don't feel outnumbered."
Until the 2006 state elections, Republicans had more than a century of nearly uninterrupted control of the New Hampshire Legislature, but a new Democratic majority legalized civil unions in 2007. A marriage bill proposed this year seemed less than a sure bet but squeaked through the House in March.
Massachusetts and Connecticut already allow gay marriages. Recent legislation in Maine and Vermont legalized same-sex marriage there, to take effect in September.
Beyond New England, Iowa is the only state in which gay and lesbian people can marry. California previously issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples but ceased doing so last year after voters enacted Proposition 8, a ballot measure that ended same-sex marriage in the state. The California Supreme Court upheld that ban last week.
Many of the supporters in New Hampshire yesterday came from Massachusetts. Christine Hurley, 38, of Quincy, said she was motivated by the California high court's action.
"I think it's important for people to come out and stand up for what they believe in," said Hurley, who had previously demonstrated only in Massachusetts. "We have to win it state by state."
The New Hampshire bill nearly died in the Senate, but lawmakers amended it on the floor to add language protecting religious freedoms. It passed narrowly, winning 13 of 14 Democrats but none of the 10 Republicans. Although the House agreed to that version in May, Lynch said he would be forced to veto the bill without the addition of even more wording to ensure religious freedom.
The Senate agreed, but the House balked two weeks ago, declining to approve the revised bill by a narrow margin. The measure went instead to a joint committee for more refining, and supporters made sure they had sufficient attendance when the legislation returned yesterday. It passed in the House, 198 to 176.
At a celebratory rally on the State House plaza, Bishop V. Gene Robinson, the openly gay leader of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, told supporters to savor the moment so they can tell their children and grandchildren "you were here and you made it happen."
But Robinson also encouraged younger members of the crowd to study history and realize that the gains had come only after years of struggle - with more work ahead.
"I couldn't be prouder to be the speaker of the New Hampshire House today," said Representative Terie Norelli. Citing the turnaround by some lawmakers who had rejected even civil unions two years ago, she added: "It's an evolutionay process."
The Boston Globe: Short Fuse - July 5, 2009
"Morality: The family-values state"
Despite the Commonwealth’s Puritan history, few politicians in Massachusetts run for office as crusaders against what they see as personal vice. And ever since same-sex marriage became legal here, scolds elsewhere have taken to describing the state as the very symbol of moral decay. Yet for all the claptrap about “defending marriage,’’ the Bay State is doing a terrific job at it. Statistics show Massachusetts has the second-lowest divorce rate in the country, not to mention the third-lowest teenage birthrate. Maybe those “Massachusetts values,’’ as Louisiana Senator David Vitter once put it (before getting caught up in a prostitution scandal), aren’t so scandalous after all.
"Mass. to challenge Defense of Marriage Act"
By Boston Globe Staff, July 8, 2009
Massachusetts, the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriage, is challenging the federal law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said today that she will challenge the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act as it relates to Massachusetts.
In a brief media advisory, her office said that 16,000 same-sex Massachusetts couples are being unfairly denied federal benefits under the law.
Coakley is expected to release more details at a 2 p..m. news conference at her office.
"D.C. recognizes gay marriages elsewhere"
By Associated Press, July 8, 2009
WASHINGTON - A law recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries went into effect yesterday in the nation’s capital, and a D.C. councilman said he plans to follow up with a measure that would allow gay marriage ceremonies in the district.
The bill was approved in a 12-to-1 vote by the D.C. Council in May.
Congress, which has the final say over the city’s laws, had 30 days to review the legislation. Since it took no action, the bill automatically became law.
“I certainly believe that the fact that we got here is a great victory, that we survived the congressional layover period,’’ said D.C. Council member David Catania, who is fine-tuning a bill that would allow gay marriages to be performed in Washington.
For D.C. resident Julie Verratti, 29, the city’s new gay marriage recognition law marks an important transition for same-sex couples.
“It feels good,’’ said Verratti, a law student who married her partner last year in California.
“It’s a step in the right direction.’’
Under the law, gay and lesbian couples married in other jurisdictions are afforded the same benefits and rights as other married people under D.C. law.
The law recognizes legal, same-sex nuptials in other countries as well as an estimated 18,000 such marriages that took place in California before voters there approved a gay marriage ban in November.
A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIALS: Short Fuse - July 12, 2009
"Coakley: Tough stand against a bad law"
When Congress passed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, proponents said it would let states define marriage as they chose - by allowing them to ignore same-sex marriages from other states. But another section of the law denies all federal recognition to such unions, even in states that treat same-sex and opposite-sex couples equally. Last week, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a federal lawsuit that lays the problem bare: Many federal programs are administered by states, and DOMA forces Massachusetts to maintain “two distinct and unequal categories of married persons.’’ Coakley deserves credit for seeing the law for what it is - an attempt “to codify animus against gay and lesbian people.’’ Congress should repeal the law. But at the least, Massachusetts shouldn’t be forced to discriminate.
December 3, 2009
Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Signs Bill Making NY the Largest State to Allow Same-Sex Marriage.
June 25, 2011
"Rhode Island Lawmakers Pass Bill to Allow Civil Unions for Gays"
The New York Times, June 29, 2011
Less than a week after same-sex marriage was legalized in New York, the Rhode Island State Senate approved on Wednesday evening a bill allowing not marriage, but civil unions for gay couples, despite fierce opposition from gay-rights advocates who called the legislation discriminatory.
The bill, which already passed in the state’s House of Representatives and which the governor said he will likely sign, would grant gay and lesbian couples most of the rights and benefits that Rhode Island provides married couples. It was offered as a compromise this spring after Gordon D. Fox, the openly gay speaker of the Democratic-controlled House, said he could not muster enough votes to pass a same-sex marriage bill.
"Supreme Court to Take Up Gay Marriage"
By ADAM LIPTAK, The New York Times, December 7, 2012
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would enter the national debate over same-sex marriage, agreeing to hear a pair of cases challenging state and federal laws that define marriage to include only unions of a man and a woman.
One of the cases, from California, could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Another case, from New York, challenges a federal law that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow such unions.
The court’s move comes against the backdrop of a rapid shift in public attitudes about same-sex marriage, with recent polls indicating that a majority of Americans support allowing such unions. After last month’s elections, the number of states authorizing same-sex marriage increased by half, to nine.
The court’s docket is now crowded with cases about the meaning of equality, with the new cases joining ones on affirmative action in higher education and the future of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Decisions in all of those cases are expected by June.
The new California case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144, was filed in 2009 by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, two lawyers who were on opposite sides in the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore, which settled the 2000 presidential election. The suit argued that California’s voters had violated the federal Constitution the previous year when they overrode a decision of the state’s Supreme Court allowing same-sex marriages.
A federal judge in San Francisco agreed, issuing a broad decision that said the Constitution required the state to allow same-sex couples to marry. The decision has been stayed.
A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, also in San Francisco, affirmed the decision. But the majority relied on narrower grounds that seemed calculated to avoid Supreme Court review or, at least, attract the vote of the presumed swing member of that court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt, writing for the majority, relied heavily on a 1996 majority opinion from Justice Kennedy in Romer v. Evans, which struck down a Colorado constitutional amendment that had banned the passage of laws protecting gay men and lesbians. The voter initiative in California, known as Proposition 8, had done something similar, Judge Reinhardt wrote.
That reasoning, he added, meant that the ruling was confined to California.
“We do not doubt the importance of the more general questions presented to us concerning the rights of same-sex couples to marry, nor do we doubt that these questions will likely be resolved in other states, and for the nation as a whole, by other courts,” he wrote.
“For now,” he said, “it suffices to conclude that the people of California may not, consistent with the federal Constitution, add to their state Constitution a provision that has no more practical effect than to strip gays and lesbians of their right to use the official designation that the state and society give to committed relationships, thereby adversely affecting the status and dignity of the members of a disfavored class.”
The Supreme Court has several options in reviewing the decision. It could reverse it, leaving California’s ban on same-sex marriage in place unless voters there choose to revisit the question. It could affirm on the narrower theory, which would allow same-sex marriage in California but not require it elsewhere. Or it could address the broader question of whether the Constitution requires states to allow such marriages.
The second case the court agreed to hear, United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307, challenges a part of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996. Section 3 of the law defines marriage as between only a man and a woman for purposes of more than 1,000 federal laws and programs. (Another part of the law, not before the court, says that states need not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.)
The case concerns two New York City women, Edith Windsor and Thea Clara Spyer, who were married in 2007 in Canada. Ms. Spyer died in 2009, and Ms. Windsor inherited her property. The 1996 law did not allow the Internal Revenue Service to treat Ms. Windsor as a surviving spouse, and she faced a tax bill of some $360,000 that a spouse in an opposite-sex marriage would not have had to pay.
Ms. Windsor sued, and in October the federal appeals court in New York struck down the 1996 law. The decision was the second from a federal appeals court to do so, joining one in May from a court in Boston. The New York decision was the first from a federal appeals court to say that laws treating same-sex couples differently must be subjected to heightened judicial scrutiny.
The Windsor case made its way the Supreme Court unusually quickly because the parties had filed an appeal from the trial court’s decision in the case, also striking down the law, even before the appeals court had ruled.
There was reason to think that Justice Elena Kagan was not free to hear an appeal from the Boston case because she had worked on it or a related case as United States solicitor general. The current solicitor general, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., provided the court with a number of other options, including Windsor, probably partly to make sure a case of such importance could be heard by a full nine-member court.
The Obama administration’s attitude toward same-sex marriage and the 1996 law has shifted over time. Until last year, the Justice Department defended the law in court, as it typically does all acts of Congress. In February 2011, though, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that he and President Obama had concluded that the law was unconstitutional and unworthy of defense in court, though he added that the administration would continue to enforce the law.
In May of this year, Mr. Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage.
After the Justice Department stepped aside, House Republicans intervened to defend the law. They are represented by Paul D. Clement, a former solicitor general in the Bush administration.
The new case is thus likely to feature a rematch between Mr. Clement and Mr. Verrilli, who were antagonists earlier this year in the arguments over Mr. Obama’s health care law.
"Hillary Clinton announces support for gay marriage"
AP - March 18, 2013
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is announcing her support for gay marriage.
In an online video released Monday, Clinton says gays and lesbians deserve ‘‘the rights of citizenship.’’ She says ‘‘that includes marriage.’’
Clinton’s announcement puts her in line with other potential Democratic presidential candidates for the 2016 election, including Vice President Joe Biden and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio also announced his support for gay marriage Friday.
"Supreme Court Bolsters Gay Marriage With Two Major Rulings"
By ADAM LIPTAK, The New York Times, June 26, 2013
WASHINGTON — In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there.
The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to such unions. But in clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California, the nation’s most populous state, the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow it.
The decisions will only intensify the fast-moving debate over same-sex marriage, and the clash in the Supreme Court reflected the one around the nation. In the hushed courtroom Wednesday morning, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced the majority opinion striking down the federal law in a stately tone that indicated he was delivering a civil rights landmark. After he finished, he sat stonily, looking straight ahead, while Justice Antonin Scalia unleashed a cutting dissent.
The vote in the case striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act was 5 to 4, and Justice Kennedy was joined by the four members of the court’s liberal wing. The ruling will immediately extend many benefits to couples married in the states that allow such unions, and it will allow the Obama administration to broaden other benefits through executive actions.
The case concerning California’s ban on same-sex marriage, enacted in a ballot initiative known as Proposition 8, was decided on technical grounds, with the majority saying that it was not properly before the court. Because officials in California had declined to appeal a trial court’s decision against them, and because the proponents of the ban were not entitled to step into the state’s shoes to appeal the decision, the court said, it was powerless to issue a decision. That left in place a trial court victory for two same-sex couples who had sought to marry.
The vote in the California case was also 5 to 4, but with a different and very unusual alignment of justices. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion, and he was joined by Justice Scalia and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan. The four dissenters — Justice Kennedy and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Sonia Sotomayor — said they would have decided whether Proposition 8 was constitutional. But they did not say how they would have voted.
The case on the federal law was the more important one from a legal perspective, setting the terms for challenges to state bans on same-sex marriage. Justice Kennedy’s reasoning, as Justice Scalia noted at length in dissent, could just as easily have applied to state laws as to the federal one.
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”
He said the law was motivated by a desire to harm gay and lesbian couples and their families, demeaning the “moral and sexual choices” of such couples and humiliating “tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples.”
The constitutional basis for striking down the law was not entirely clear, as it had elements of federalism, equal protection and due process. Justice Kennedy said the law’s basic flaw was in its “deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment.”
He added that the ruling applied only to marriages from states that allowed gay and lesbian couples to wed.
Dissenting from the bench, Justice Scalia said that that declaration took “real cheek.”
“By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency,” Justice Scalia said, “the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition.”
Exactly 10 years ago, Justice Scalia issued a similar dissent in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws making gay sex a crime. He predicted that the ruling would lead to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, and he turned out to be right.
The court’s four more conservative justices — Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito — issued three dissents between them in the case on the federal law. They differed in some of their rationales and predictions, but all agreed that the law, which passed with bipartisan support and which President Bill Clinton signed, was constitutional.
Chief Justice Roberts said that he “would not tar the political branches with the brush of bigotry,” and that “interests in uniformity and stability amply justified Congress’s decision” in 1996, which, “at that point, had been adopted by every state in our nation, and every nation in the world.”
Justice Scalia wrote that the majority had simplified a complex question that should be decided democratically and not by judges.
“In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us,” he wrote. “The truth is more complicated.”
The decision will raise a series of major questions for the Obama administration about how to overhaul federal programs involving marriage. Justice Scalia noted some of the difficult problems created by the decision in the case, United States v. Windsor, No. 12-307. “Imagine a pair of women who marry in Albany and then move to Alabama,” he wrote. May they file a joint federal income tax return? Does the answer turn on where they were married or where they live?
The case before the justices concerned two New York City women, Edith Windsor and Thea Clara Spyer, who married in 2007 in Canada. Ms. Spyer died in 2009, and Ms. Windsor inherited her property. The federal law did not allow the Internal Revenue Service to treat Ms. Windsor as a surviving spouse, and she faced a tax bill of about $360,000, which a spouse in an opposite-sex marriage would not have had to pay. Ms. Windsor sued, and last year the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, struck down the federal law.
The Obama administration continued to enforce the federal law, but it urged the justices to strike it down as unconstitutional, prompting House Republicans to step in to defend it. The justices differed on whether the case’s odd procedural posture deprived the court of jurisdiction, much as the machinations in the Proposition 8 case had.
Justice Kennedy said that the federal government retained a stake in the case, and that the lawyers for House Republicans had made “a sharp adversarial presentation of the issues.” Because the “rights and privileges of hundreds of thousands of persons” were at stake, Justice Kennedy wrote, it was urgent that the court act.
In the California case, Chief Justice Roberts said that the failure of state officials to appeal the trial court decision against them was the end of the matter. Proponents of Proposition 8 had suffered only a “generalized grievance” when the ballot initiative they had sponsored was struck down, the chief justice wrote, and they were not entitled to represent the state’s interests on appeal. The ruling in the case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144, erased the appeals court’s decision striking down Proposition 8.
As a formal matter, the decision sent the case back to the appeals court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, “with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.” That means the trial court’s decision stands.
Lawyers for the two sides had different interpretations of the legal consequences of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Supporters of Proposition 8 said it remained the law in California because the trial court’s decision applied only to the two couples who had challenged the law. The lawyers who filed the challenge to Proposition 8, Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, said the trial court decision was binding in all of California.
As a practical matter, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, instructed officials to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as soon as the Ninth Circuit acts.
If California becomes the 13th state to allow same-sex marriage, about 30 percent of Americans will live in jurisdictions where it is legal. Until last year, when four states voted in favor of same-sex marriage at the ballot box, it had failed — or bans on it had succeeded — every time it had appeared on a statewide initiative.
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- Amherst, NH, United States
- I am a citizen defending the people against corrupt Pols who only serve their Corporate Elite masters, not the people! / My 2 political enemies are Andrea F. Nuciforo, Jr., nicknamed "Luciforo" and former Berkshire County Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano, Jr. / I have also pasted many of my political essays on "The Berkshire Blog": berkshireeagle.blogspot.com / I AM THE ANTI-FRANK GUINTA! / Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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