Parsing the Words of the Supreme Court Justices

The Washington Post
July 2, 2009
Those who follow the the Supreme Court closely constantly search to read between the lines of opinions, parse the structure of sentences and find the message in what's missing as well as what's written. Walter Dellinger, the sharp-eyed Supreme Court practitioner, spotted an "essay within an opinion" from Justice David H. Souter in the justice's dissent from a decision that declined to recognize a constitutional right for prisoners to have DNA evidence tested. Souter seemed to depart from the subject at hand when he said he agreed with the majority that in deciding to recognize "an individual right unsanctioned by tradition . . . the beginning of wisdom is to go slow." Souter never mentioned gay marriage, but Dellinger, writing in Slate, said it is "hard to avoid the conclusion" that it was one of the issues he had in mind. "His carefully nuanced message both defends the legitimacy of judicial recognition of 'non-traditional' rights and cautions against a premature quest for national judicial rules," Dellinger said. [Link]

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Out Professionals
You've seen him on the news. Now, you can ask Evan Wolfson your own question about the future of marriage rights at this exclusive Out Professionals forum. One of the true civil-rights leaders of our era, Wolfson is founder and executive director of the marriage-rights advocacy group Freedom to Marry. In a thought-provoking conversation with NBC News senior newswriter Barbara Raab, Wolfson will talk about our victories, losses - and what the future holds for marriage equality.

The interview will take place Wednesday, July 8th from 7:30PM - 9:00PM at CUNY's new Graduate School of Journalism. The School is just one block from Times Square and next door to The New York Times. And that's not all. The School of Journalism will also videostream the event live. So if you can't be there in person, you can watch from home... or wherever. Just go to either of the addresses below. And viewers will be able to ask questions as well.

Presented at:
CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
219 West 40th Street (bet Seventh & Eighth Avenues)
Wednesday July 8th, 7:30PM - 9:00PM
Admission: $5 OP members; $10 non-members [Link]

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Maplewood pushing state to legalize marriage equality

New Jersey Star-Ledger
June 15, 2009
One of the first towns to embrace the state's civil union and domestic partnership laws is now pushing to expand the rights for same-sex couples they established. In what is thought to be a first among New Jersey municipalities, the Maplewood Township Committee is expected to adopt a resolution Tuesday evening calling on state legislators to sanction the freedom to marry.
Mayor Victor DeLuca said he hoped the resolution could serve as a catalyst for legislators' passage of a marriage equality bill before the year's end. "I think it's incumbent upon people like us who believe that this is a matter of civil rights and equal rights to say something about it," he said. "I'm actually hoping this is the beginning of 560 municipalities in the state considering this." [Link]

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Voice for Equality: Joe Bruno

Joe Bruno is a businessman and Republican politician. He was the Temporary President of the New York State Senate and its majority leader.

Bruno, in an interview in June of 2009 about the freedom to marry bill pending in the New York legislature, said, "It's time. Now. For the government to back off, let people make their own life decisions, and about who they care about and who they don't care about...."

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Commentary: Obama absent on marriage equality

CNN International
June 10, 2009
William Jelani Cobb is associate professor of history at Spelman College and author of the forthcoming "Change Has Come: Barack Obama and the Meaning of Progress."

Last week Gov. John Lynch signed a bill making New Hampshire the sixth state to legalize marriage equality. It was a paradoxical moment. The new law is a reminder that freedom to marry is the civil rights issue of our era and just how far the movement for marriage equality has come. It also highlighted the unexpected and remarkable silence from the White House on this issue. [Link]

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Voice for Equality: Lewis Black

Lewis Black is an American stand-up comedian, author, playwright, and actor. He is known for his comedy style, which often includes simulating a mental breakdown, or an increasingly angry rant, ridiculing history, politics, religion, trends and cultural phenomena. He hosted Comedy Central's "The Root of All Evil" and makes regular appearances on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart delivering his 'Back in Black' commentary segment.

Black has expressed his support of the freedom to marry in many a stand-up performance. While performing in Santa Rosa, CA, in 2004, Black ridiculed efforts to amend the U.S. constitution to ban marriage equality.

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Black, Gay and Reclaiming ‘Civil Rights’

Huffington Post
Pam Spaulding
May 27, 2009
Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons, the first out black lesbian in the country to serve as mayor, says she has noticed that some in the black community have come around to accepting the freedom to marry, possibly because they realize married gay couples are no different from married straight couples. [link]

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Finding Common Ground in Freedom to Marry Debate

San Francisco Chronicle
May 27, 2009
Critics fail to see that arguments for recognizing the freedom to marry and protecting religious liberty share a common foundation. Both the right to marry and the right to practice a religion are basic autonomy rights. We protect them both because they reflect core aspects of a person's identity and involve important, self-defining decisions that belong as a right to each individual. [link]

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Editorial: Equal Marriage Rights Will Spread, Even to California

San Jose Mercury News
May 26, 2009
Today's California Supreme Court ruling sets a dangerous precedent: It denies a minority a right that the constitution had provided. As if to reinforce that point, the justices unanimously let stand the marriages of 18,000 same sex couples who tied the knot between last May's court ruling and the passage of Proposition 8. The only dissenter in the Proposition 8 decision was Justice Carlos Moreno. He wrote that the proposition requires discrimination and "places at risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities." [link]

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Voice for Equality: Jerrold Nadler

Jerrold Nadler is an American politician from New York City. A Democrat, Nadler represents New York's 8th congressional district, which includes parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City.

Representative Nadler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, hailed the ruling by the Supreme Court of Iowa in 2009 that struck down the state’s ban on the freedom to marry.

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