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Marriage News Watch

Anti-gay ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ more vulnerable than ever

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Obama administration changes course in the fight to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Signature gathering is about to start in Ohio. And voters in North Carolina say they support relationship recognition — so why are they also saying they’ll vote to take it away?

This week’s Marriage News Watch report is here:

A big change in the Obama administration’s position on the Defense of Marriage Act: At a hearing on Wednesday of last week, government attorney Stuart Delery said for the first time that the Department of Justice would not defend DOMA on any basis. Previously, the administration had indicated that there were some circumstances under which the anti-gay marriage law was constitutional. Not anymore.

Meanwhile Paul Clement, the lawyer hired by House Speaker John Boehner to defend the law, put forward some particularly weak arguments. His claim was that the government needs one uniform national standard for marriage. Mary Bonauto, the attorney from Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, pointed out that a national standard for marriage isn’t at issue — what’s at issue is the irrational exclusion of LGBTs from that standard.

There was a particularly poignant moment at the end of the hearing, when an attorney for the state of Massachusetts described how the state had to create a separate cemetery to inter LGBT veterans with their spouses. Currently, gay couples can’t be buried together in federal veterans’ cemeteries.

There are now nearly two dozen lawsuits involving DOMA. Just last week, Immigration Equality filed an additional lawsuit. The plaintiffs are married bi-national couples who face exile from the U.S. because the federal government won’t recognize them.

Also this week, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that federal courts should not withhold insurance benefits from the spouses of LGBT employees. The case was brought by a court employee, legally married in 2008, who was told that his husband was not eligible for benefits because they’re a gay couple. Despite the favorable ruling, the case is still far from over. The Defense of Marriage Act still forces the federal government to apply discriminatory rules against gay couples. So for now, the court may have to reimburse the couple for their privately-purchased insurance.

Let’s look at some news from around the states.

In North Carolina, a new survey shows that six in ten voters support relationship recognition. But a majority still says they’ll vote for Amendment One, which would ban all forms of relationship recognition except heterosexual marriage. With about a month left before the May 8th vote, it’s clear that voters still don’t understand the dire consequences of Amendment One.

In Ohio, the state Attorney General has approved a proposed measure to overturn the state’s ban on marriage equality. Supporters can now begin gathering the nearly half-million signatures required to put the measure on the November ballot. And they have an important ally: the head of the Cleveland chapter of the NAACP has endorsed the effort. Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage has refused to back away from their leaked memos that reveal a plan to exploit African American and Latino communities. This week NOM continued their claim that the African-American community uniformly opposes marriage equality, refusing to acknowledge the ever-increasing number of pro-equality African-Americans.

There’s likely to be major news in all of these stories very soon, from North Carolina’s vote to Ohio’s signature gathering to all of the DOMA cases. You can stay on top of them all by subscribing to this channel. At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume.

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Filed under: Around the USA

8 more reader comments:

  1. when straight people stop having 24 hour marriages, and marrying multiple times they can dictate to me who I can marry

    Posted on Monday, April 9, 2012 at 1:13pm
  2. Repealing DOMA should be a very high priority for all LGBT persons, their families and friends. It is grossly discriminatory and needs to be removed from our legislative record.

    Posted on Monday, April 9, 2012 at 1:16pm
  3. Good, get rid of that offensive law!

    Posted on Monday, April 9, 2012 at 1:20pm
  4. Man this blows me , because its like I recall seeing on a presidential debate that if they “allow” us to get married it will put a dent in the reproduction of the human race…WHAT?? but what about all those abandoned children, foster kids, homeless children, millions upon millions of kids all over this fucked up nation that NEED families but are given up to the state because millions of these HETERO dickheads fuck, have kids and not know how to take care of their responisibilities but yet WE lesbians and gays put a dent in the production of the human race?? that makes no sense to me..and then on top of that the LGBT community have to go thru hell and high water just to adopt a child in need but cant because WE ARE SAME SEX couples..WE WANT THOSE CHILDREN TO HAVE HOMES AND LOVE AND CARE, and THESE KIDS ARE CHILDREN THAT HETEROS GIVE UP ON BUT WE CANT GET THEM BC WE’RE GAY…WHAT?? America is full of shit , the government is full of shit, and this whole nation is dead and have been dead since dumb fucks have been running it like their own toy land and shit…omg…

    Posted on Monday, April 9, 2012 at 1:38pm
  5. The gay (male) community gets a bad rap for being an “oversexualized” or “whorish” community of men. But what do you really expect from generations upon generations of gay men who were: 1. forced to hide their sexuality and 2. never allowed the possiblity to lead a normal, domestic life with someone they loved?

    You don’t think straight men would lead a life where they could bang as many chicks as they wanted without ever having to marry one?
    You don’t think straight men would meet in the woods for sex if it was illegal and they knew women would be there?

    How about allowing a new generation of young gay men to believe that, yeah, maybe one day they can find somebody to love and marry and lead a “normal” life. Then maybe gay men, who were forced by society to lurk in the shadows, can finally come into the light to happily say, “i do”.

    Posted on Monday, April 9, 2012 at 1:43pm
  6. I have a gay family friend who has been with his partner (unmarried) for 36-odd years. How come that’s not okay when Kim Kardashian can make a sex tape and be married for 72 days? :/
    things like this piss me off til no end

    Posted on Monday, April 9, 2012 at 1:57pm
  7. The men as couples seem to last much longer than the women. Just saying

    Posted on Monday, April 9, 2012 at 7:14pm
  8. I am an author and sociologist who runs the pro-equality social commentary blog “That Time Is Now!” and wanted to share my latest essay in which I offer some thoughts on the inevitability of marriage equality in the United States and why the hollow arguments against the legalization of same-sex marriage are quickly becoming obsolete. I hope you check it out … thanks!

    Posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at 9:54am