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Marriage News Watch

Leaked GOP memo reveals supports for same-sex marriage

Monday, May 21, 2012
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A leaked memo urges an about-face for anti-equality Republicans. A civil unions bill dies in Colorado, for now. But access to marriage expands in Rhode Island, and more new surveys confirm the ever-growing public support for equality.

This week’s Marriage News Watch is here:

Following is the text of this week’s report:

A leaked memo urges an about-face for anti-equality Republicans. A civil unions bill dies in Colorado, for now. But access to marriage expands in Rhode Island, and more new surveys confirm the ever-growing public support for equality.

The big news this week is a leaked memo from a top Republican pollster that criticizes the traditional Republican stance on marriage equality. Jan van Lohuizen’s memo noted that support for marriage equality is accelerating in every demographic group. He added that a large majority of Republican voters support some form of relationship recognition.

The memo recommends that Republican lawmakers state their support for relationship recognition — not necessarily full marriage equality, but at the very least rights like hospital visitation and adoption benefits. And it points out that recognizing LGBT families is a conservative value, aligned with personal responsibility, commitment, and stability.

But some Republicans in Colorado apparently didn’t get the memo. A proposed civil unions bill had already passed the Senate and House committees, it had sufficient support to pass the House, and the governor said he would sign it. But this week House Republicans sent the bill to what’s called a “kill committee,” where five GOP lawmakers voted it down.

Among those lawmakers: Don Coram, whose son Dee is openly gay. After the vote, Dee called his father’s vote “a slap in the face.”

Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty complained that the bill would undermine a 2006 vote that banned marriage equality. But this bill wasn’t about marriage — it was just civil unions. And seventy-six percent of Coloradans support some form of relationship recognition, so the bill’s failure is clearly out of step with what Coloradans want.

The bill will almost certainly be back next year, though some of those lawmakers may not be. Hopefully in the intervening months, more politicians will have taken the time to read Jan van Lohuizen’s memo.

Meanwhile, there’s good news this week from Rhode Island, where Governor Lincoln Chafee ordered the state to recognize marriages performed out of state.

In New Jersey, a new survey shows 53 percent support marriage equality, with just 42 percent opposed. And marriage equality has a ten-point lead in Minnesota, where a new poll shows that voters support President Obama’s stance on the issue by 52 to 42 percent.

And Maryland’s highest court has ordered the state to grant a divorce to a couple who married in California before the passage of Proposition 8. That’s significant, because in order to grant a divorce, the state has to recognize that the couple’s marriage was valid in the first place. The court’s ruling mentions AFER’s case against Prop 8 by name, noting that Prop 8 has been declared unconstitutional.

And finally this week, Massachusetts celebrated its eighth anniversary as the first state in the nation with marriage equality. Research shows that marriage equality in Massachusetts correlates closely with improved public health. Medical visits and health care costs have both decreased in Massachusetts. And a new study from UCLA shows that men who married in California in 2008 had improved mental health.

You can visit AFER.org for more on our case to overturn Proposition 8 and win full federal marriage equality.

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