Missouri and Kansas

Today another step forward in the march toward Marriage Equality as a court in Missouri struck down the marriage ban there.  St. Louis county is poised to begin issuing licenses!  The Show Me state is showing the rolling tide of equality in the mid-west-as Kansas also welcomed Marriage Equality this week.   It is ironic that even as Republicans took over both chambers of Congress, the marriage equality train continues on track toward all 50 states.  Not all Republicans oppose marriage equality and a few ran with a platform including their support for marriage equality.  But we must continue to strengthen marriage equality and most importantly –pass an employment non-discrimination act in this country.  You can get married in 35 states and the District of Columbia but you can get fired from your job in many of those states still!  This doesn’t make sense.

So even with a new Republican controlled Congress–let’s continue to work on job security and equality for LGBT individuals and continue our activism on marriage equality.  Let Freedom Ring.

The Supremes Take the Cases!

Today the Supreme Court said they would take the Prop 8 case and the Windsor DOMA Case! A decision will come this June one way or the other.  This is an important day for civil rights and human rights in our country.   This isn’t just about whether gay men and lesbians can legally marry their partners.  But there are a host of issues entwined in these cases.  In the Windsor DOMA Case, the Republican House members are defending the Defense of Marriage Act because the Administration agrees with the Federal Circuit Ruling that Section 3 of DOMA that prevents legally married same sex couples from inheritance without taxation is unconstitutional.

Our Speaker of the House decided with other House Republicans to fight to preserve DOMA.  At the Supreme Court hearing on this is not only whether or not DOMA is constitutional or unconstitutional but also an issue of “standing”. This means whether or not the House Republicans can defend DOMA if the Executive Branch (i.e. the Justice Department is unwilling because they agree with the Federal Ruling that it is unconstitutional!

A similar issue is at stake in the California Prop 8 case.  This is not only whether or not Prop 8 violates the equal protection clause since marriage was granted in California and then taken away by ballot initiative but who has the standing to bring the case.  Again the governor and attorney general of the State of California agreed with the District court that Prop 8 was unconstitutional and violated the equal protection clause.  Thus the case was appealed by various anti-marriage groups.  The Supreme Court will also hear whether or not they have the standing to even be a part of the case.

So put on your seat belts.  Get ready to witness one of the great Supreme Court cases in American history.

Keep working for equality on the ground and help more states pass marriage equality legislation and propositions.  Hawaii and Illinois, Rhode Island and Delaware, and Oregon are likely next targets.  Anyone game for a trip Portland?

 

Obama affirms “same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Today President Barak Obama came forward to affirm marriage equality for Gay and Lesbian Couples!  Thank you.  I know that in a heated race for President this was not an easy one (although LGBT activists have wanted you to affirm this for many years!).  But as you ran on Hope and Change as your themes in 2008, I am glad to see that you have the ability to change and grow.  I know the Republican leadership will try and discredit you-more than they have already done so-because at the core of their party are Christian right wing supporters who really don’t see gay men and lesbians as full human beings or full citizens.  

Our public policy has made marriage a cornerstone.   If you deny access to that institution then you deny access to the full rights and responsibilities of citizenship.  If someone chooses not to get married that is again their personal choice (more people are doing just that-not marrying), but for those couples who want to -it ought to be available.  Marriage is a civil right.  If any church or synagogue believes differently they can deny their wedding sacraments to anyone who crosses their threshold.  But the local county registrar may not. 

Thank you again Mr. President and Mr. Vice-President for “evolving” and growing on this issue and showing that it is possible to learn and change one’s mind with a sense of integrity.

OBAMA: I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.

 

Should the 9th circuit rule this week

The Federal Court Case about Prop 8 will be handed down any time now.  If so there are plans to gather the day of the decision.  Here is the latest information about the local gathering. This will be on tap no matter which way the decision will go.  So pay attention to the NEWS!

SAME-SEX COUPLES, FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CLERGY TO GATHER ON DAY NINTH CIRCUIT PROP 8 RULING IS RELEASED
Anti-marriage equality proponents have had their day in court, again. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has heard both sides of the issue and is due to announce their decision on the challenge to Proposition 8 any day now. Communities through-out California are prepared to gather to either celebrate or rededicate their resolve to achieve full marriage equality.

A diverse coalition of community organizations has come together to plan the following events statewide — this coalition includes but is not limited to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Marriage Equality USA, GetEQUAL, CA Faith for Equality, the Coalition of Welcoming Congregations, Poz Activists Network, Our Family Coalition and the Gay Straight Alliance:

Los Angeles, CA
    What: Community Rally, then a march down Santa Monica Blvd.
    Where: West Hollywood Park on N. Robertson Blvd. (next to the Abbey Bar)
West Hollywood, CA 90069
    When: 6:00 PM on Day of Decision
    Contact: Tristan Blaine (805) 657-4150

 

Squelching weddings

The Ninth Circuit Court could have lived up to its more progressive interpretations of Constitutional Law. But they chickened out.  They refused to lift the stay on California same-gender weddings that they imposed pending a decision in their federal court case. The case known as Perry vs Schwarzenegger was appealed to the Ninth Circuit after Judge Vaughn Walker ruled in favor of overturning Proposition 8. The Ninth Circuit suspended his ruling demanding the immediate resumption of weddings.

This is “an intolerable delay” since they sent it back to the California Supreme Court for a ruling on who has standing to bring the case and defend the case since the state has refused.  And the people who brought us Prop 8 are trying to defend it in court. The California Supremes said they needed the rest of the year.  Thus it be at least a year before it gets back to the 9th Circuit.

“The right to marry is not an abstract principle any more than might be said about the right to vote, the right to speak and the right to practice one’s religion,” Olson said. “Every day our fellow citizens are denied their most basic civil rights that their friends and neighbors freely enjoy … that discrimination inflicts countless injuries.”

So for now weddings for gay men and lesbians are squelched!