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Round-up: Military benefits, Maryland opponents in debt, Spain ‘redefines’

Monday, July 2, 2012
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A proposed new law would let the Army recognize the spouses of service-members for the first time ever. Anti-gay activists in Maryland collect enough signatures to force a referendum, but now they’re tens of thousands of dollars in debt. And seven years after legalizing marriage equality, Spain finally lets gay and lesbian couples into the dictionary.

This week’s Marriage News Watch report is here:

Following is the transcript of this week’s report:

At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume, and welcome to Marriage News Watch for July 2, 2012.

The fight over DOMA is continuing to move along rapidly. A little over a month ago, Federal District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled in the Dragovich case, one of over a dozen DOMA challenges, that the anti-gay law is unconstitutional. This week the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group filed notice that it will appeal that ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The congressional group is also expected to take action in the consolidated Gill and Massachusetts cases. In those cases, an opinion by Judge Michael Boudin also found that DOMA is unconstitutional. BLAG’s next step in those cases would be to petition the United States Supreme Court for review.

Although Obama’s Justice Department will not defend DOMA, and despite multiple rulings that DOMA violates the Constitution, the law remains in place.

One of its many effects is that it prevents the military from recognizing the same-sex spouses of service members.

Now Representative Adam Smith of Washington has introduced a bill that would exempt the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs from certain DOMA provisions. His Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act would allow the military to provide spousal benefits without regard to gender. It currently has 12 co-sponsors.

In state news, an anti-gay group in Maryland revealed this week that their signature-gathering effort has left them nearly ninety thousand dollars in debt.

The Maryland Marriage Alliance collected enough signatures to force a referendum on the state’s new marriage equality law. But that process has left them owing tens of thousands as they ramp up their campaign to roll back protections for LGBT families.

The Prime Minister of France has committed to legalizing marriage equality, and soon. According to a statement late last week, the government expects to implement the new law within the next few months.

A new survey in Scotland shows that 65% of citizens there support the freedom to marry. That includes 49% of people who describe themselves as religious. The Scottish cabinet meets on July 10 and will likely make a decision on advancing a marriage equality bill. That puts the country on a timetable for legalizing marriage equality sometime in 2013.

And finally this week, the official body tasked with regulating the Spanish language has updated official dictionaries to reflect reality: that marriage includes gay and lesbian couples. Marriage equality has been legal in Spain since July 3, 2005.

For more on the fight to overturn Prop 8 here in the US, visit AFER.org. At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume.

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