News (USA)

Gay marriage foe switches sides, another DOMA suit, positive polling

One of the star witness who testified in favor of Prop 8 has switched sides, joining the majority of Americans who support the freedom to marry. Also this week, there’s yet another DOMA lawsuit, more encouraging surveys in battleground states, and new ads Minnesota.

This week’s Marriage News Watch round-up is here:

Following is the transcript of this week’s report:

This week we’re happy to welcome a brand new marriage equality supporter to our side: David Blankenhorn. He was one of the two witnesses who testified in favor of Prop 8 at the trial back in 2010. But now he’s joined our side, with a New York Times op-ed that says, “legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.”

We couldn’t agree more, and we’re glad to welcome Blankenhorn to the winning side of the fight for equality.

The other major headline this week is a new lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. That comes out of New York, and involves a medical center that won’t extend health care benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian employees. DOMA has already been ruled unconstitutional several times, but pending appeals have delayed a final ruling on its constitutionality. This week New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced that they’ll file a brief in support of one of those cases.

But on the other side of the battle, a Congressional legal body announced that they’ll move quickly to defend DOMA. The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, led by Speaker John Boehner, says that by the end of this week, it will ask the Supreme Court of the United States to review the case.

Turning to the states, a new survey in Colorado shows widespread support for civil unions. Fifty-six percent of Coloradans support a civil union measure, with just 38 percent upposed. That’s a bit of a slide from April, when the same survey showed support for the bill at 62 percent and opposition at 32 percent. The bill was that was defeated last month but will almost certainly be back in next year’s session.

There’s good news in Washington, where a new survey shows 51% support marriage equality to 42% opposed. That nine-point lead is a big jump from last year, when marriage was only leading by 2 points. Voters will weigh in on the state’s new marriage equality law this November.

A fundraising surge in Minnesota has pro-equality groups announcing $3.1 million in fundraising for the first half of the year. That coincides with the launch of new online ads for the campaign to stop that state’s anti-gay amendment. The ads feature families talking about the importance of equality, similar to videos that ran in North Carolina, Maine, and California.

In international news, a survey in Scotland shows 64% support marriage equality, with 26% opposed. The government there is expected to release the results of a consultation on marriage equality later this week. Meanwhile, the Mormon church’s area authority in Europe has spoken out, urging members to “protect and promote marriage, as the union of one man and one woman.”

And a vote on marriage may be coming sooner than expected in Australia. The two competing bills there had been heading for a vote by the end of the year, but now the Labor party is moving toward a vote in August. We’ll be following the situation there closely over the next few months.

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