Another crazy week: Maryland’s legislature passes a marriage bill, a lawsuit widens in New Jersey, the governor of Hawaii comes out for equality, and a huge victory in a federal case against DOMA. Lately we’ve racking up so many wins, it’s getting hard to keep up.
This week’s Marriage News Watch report is here;
Following is the texts and links from this week’s report:
Let’s start with this week’s big news in the Prop 8 case. The Prop 8 Proponents have officially challenged our victory at the Ninth Circuit. Now, the court will have to decide whether to grant them a rehearing or deny it. If they’re denied, the Proponents would probably take the case to the US Supreme Court. Either way, AFER expects its string of victories to continue uninterrupted, and won’t stop until we’ve achieved full federal marriage equality.
And even though our case hasn’t reached its conclusion yet, it’s already having a profound impact across the country. This week, judges in two separate cases handed down major victories for marriage equality, and both rulings heavily cited our recent Ninth Circuit victory.
The first case is a lawsuit involving DOMA, the federal ban on marriage. For a thorough breakdown of the ruling, Ari Ezra Waldman’s article on Towleroad is required reading. But the important takeaway is that the ruling was a win on every possible level. The judge declared that LGBTs are entitled to a very high standard of protection under the law, that DOMA serves no purpose, and that you can’t discriminate against a group of people simply because of tradition. It’s a monumental ruling, the foundation of which was laid by AFER’s case.
The second victory this week was in Maryland. Last year the legislature narrowly failed to approve a marriage equality bill, but this time around they’ve given it the green light. It now goes to the governor, who strongly supports the measure. And from there, a likely referendum in the fall. Polling in Maryland is very close, with fifty one percent in favor of equality to forty four percent opposed. That’s about where the Prop 8 campaign was at this time in 2008, so it’s possible that Maryland could lose marriage equality before it even starts.
A new survey in Washington shows similar levels of support, with fifty percent in favor to forty-six percent opposed. We’re closer than ever to marriage in both those states, but we’ve still got lots of work to do to protect our recent victories.
And let’s not forget about New Jersey. There, a judge expanded a lawsuit over the state’s discriminatory marriage laws to include questions of federal law. That will allow lawyers to argue that banning marriage for LGBT couples violates the US Constitution. Again, the basis for that ruling was AFER’s case, which the judge heavily cited.
Elsewhere in the country this week, the Governor of Hawaii stated that the state’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. Orlando lawmakers are moving forward with a domestic partnership registry. Minneapolis Lutheran groups voted to oppose an anti-equality amendment on the ballot this November. And Common Cause Minnesota has filed a formal complaint against the backers of that amendment, alleging falsehoods in campaign finance reports.
A new report in Colorado shows that the pending civil union legislation could generate four point eight million dollars in the first three years. For that reason and others, the law has picked up an unprecedented level of support among Colorado Republicans.
Internationally, the Prime Minister of Australia said this week that marriage equality is “inevitable,” even though she herself doesn’t support it yet. Professor M.V. Lee Badgett, who was one of AFER’s witnesses in the Prop 8 case, reported that marriage equality would generate around $100 million dollars for whichever Australian state legalizes it first. Meanwhile, the state of Queensland began issuing civil union licenses this week.
And while we work to turn the tide of public opinion in the US, a new survey in Ireland shows that seventy three percent of voters favor marriage equality.
Next weekend is the LA premiere of “8,” the new play about the trial by Dustin Lance Black about the Prop 8 trial. Visit 8theplay.com for more information about the show and to find a performance near you.
At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume. We’ll see you next week.