Marriage Equality Gains Traction

The Washington Post
June 16, 2009
A ruling yesterday by D.C. elections officials suggests that only Congress or the courts can thwart the gathering momentum to legalize same-sex marriage in the District. The opinion states that city officials would "authorize discrimination" if they were to permit a referendum on whether to afford same-sex couples married elsewhere the same rights as opposite-sex couples. "This is a case where the human rights amendment protected the rights of individuals, and that is what it is supposed to do," said Peter Rosenstein, a veteran gay rights activist. "You don't put rights of a minority up to votes of a majority." [Link]

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Editorial: A Bad Call on Gay Rights

The New York Times
June 16, 2009
The Obama administration, which came to office promising to protect gay rights but so far has not done much, actually struck a blow for the other side last week. It submitted a disturbing brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the law that protects the right of states to not recognize same-sex marriages and denies same-sex married couples federal benefits. In times like these, issues like repealing the marriage act can seem like a distraction — or a political liability. But busy calendars and political expediency are no excuse for making one group of Americans wait any longer for equal rights. [Link]

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Dear President Obama: This is what a “fierce advocate” looks like

Daily Kos
June 16, 2009
Rachel Maddow took on the Obama administration's defense of DOMA last night on MSNBC. Maddow: "Are you ready for the latest talking points against same-sex marriage in the United States? Here we go. Are you ready? ..." Guest Howard Dean was at his firebrand best. In unvarnished language he condemned the Department of Justic brief on DOMA calling it a "big mistake" and a problem Obama will have "dig himself out of." He also forcefully stated, "But this is a huge mistake. You cannot talk about gay Americans the way gay Americans were talked about in this brief." Watch the full interview below:



[Link]

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D.C. officials block marriage referendum

Washington Blade
June 15, 2009
The D.C. Board of Elections & Ethics decided Monday that a proposed voter referendum seeking to overturn a city law recognizing same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions would violate the city's human rights law and could not be allowed. In their 12-page memorandum, board members Errol Arthur and Charles Lowery Jr. concluded "that the referendum does not present a proper subject of referendum because it would authorize discrimination prohibited under the Human Rights Act." [Link]

(Read decision at: http://www.dcboee.org/pdf_files/nr_207.pdf)

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Evan Wolfson on Obama

America Blog
June 14, 2009
Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry posted the following on Facebook:
The Obama Administration stumbled badly in defending the federal anti-marriage law, so-called "DOMA," despite his repeated campaign promises to end this federal discrimination against married gay couples and their loved ones. It is appalling to see the Obama Justice Department out-Bushing the Bush administration in its anti-gay arguments to shore up a massively unjust law that President Obama pledged to undo.
[Link]

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Patricia Clarkson: Here’s to the Violets: My Thoughts on Gay Rights

The Huffington Post
June 15, 2009
One of Freedom to Marry's Voices For Equality, Patricia Clarkson, recently delivered the keynote speech at the Human Rights Campaign's Annual New Orleans Dinner. See video below of her speech: "Here's to the Violets: My Thoughts on Gay Rights"



[Link]

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Jerry Brown again says Prop. 8 should be struck down

Los Angeles Times
June 13, 2009
California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown once again refused to defend Proposition 8's ban on marriage equality Friday, telling a federal judge that it violated the U.S. Constitution and should be struck down. Brown made his arguments in response to a federal lawsuit against the state by two gay couples who contend the initiative violates federal due process and equal protection guarantees. Brown's position, laid out in a brief filed late Friday, puts the state's highest-ranking law enforcement officer on the record declaring that the ballot measure violates federal constitutional protections. The San Francisco case may eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court. [Link]

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Gays decry Obama’s stand on marriage equality case

The Associated Press
June 12, 2009
Gay rights groups expressed dismay with the Obama administration Friday over its championing of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law the president pledged to try to repeal while on the campaign trail. The government filed a motion late Thursday to dismiss the case of Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer, who are challenging the 1996 federal act. The law prevents couples in states that recognize same-sex unions from securing Social Security spousal benefits, filing joint taxes and other federal rights of marriage. "The president made very explicit and emphatic campaign promises that he opposes DOMA and would provide leadership calling on Congress to repeal it," said Jennifer Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal. "This brief is not consistent with that promise." [Link]

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How To Get 63% of Americans to Support the Freedom to Marry. (Maybe.)

FiveThirtyEight
June 11, 2009
When marriage equality is polled, it is almost always framed as a positive right, as in: "Should the government permit same sex couples to get married?" But there is a different way to frame the question that is no less fair, and flips the issue on its head. Namely: "Should the government be allowed to prohibit same sex couples from getting married?" This is closer to the logic embodied by the court decisions in Iowa, California, Massachusetts, and other states, and to the Marriage Resolution framed by Freedom to Marry:
Because marriage is a basic human right and an individual choice, RESOLVED, the state should not interfere with same-gender couples who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage.
[Link]

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Coquille marriage equality law takes effect

The Oregonian
May 21, 2009
A Coquille Indian Tribe law allowing marriage equality took effect on Wednesday, May 20, 2009. The law recognizes the freedom to marry and extends to gay and lesbian partners, at least one of whom must be Coquille, all tribal benefits of marriage. Neither Washington nor Oregon have legalized marriage equality, but as a federally recognized sovereign nation, the tribe is not bound by the Oregon Constitution. [Link]

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