Get Marriage Equality Off the Ballot

The Daily Beast
November 6, 2009
In the wake of the passage of Maine's Question 1, Linda Hirshman discusses how the framers of the U.S. Constitution intended the federal judiciary -- rather than voter referendums -- to decide civil liberties issues such as marriage equality, and how "the last thing the [Supreme Court] should do, in deciding that question, is follow the election returns." [Link]

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Wisconsin State Supreme Court Won’t Take Case on Domestic Partnerships

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
November 4, 2009
The Wisconsin state Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to take an anti-gay case asking the court to strike down the state's new domestic partnership law for same-sex couples. [Link]

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LGBT Groups Say Loss Won’t Alter Strategy

The Washington Post
November 5, 2009
LGBT equality advocates across the nation are regrouping after the disappointment of Question 1's passage in Maine, "pledging to continue their state-by-state effort to promote marriage equality and to turn their attention to a federal court case in California" that aims to repeal Prop. "I think the reality is that we came very close but didn't succeed in dispelling the distractions and fears that are keeping a small slice of people from treating others fairly," said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry. [Link]

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Wisconsin Supreme Court to Hear Marriage Equality Case (Madison, WI)
November 2, 2009

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Tuesday morning a Northeast Wisconsin man’s appeal of a judge's ruling that the man did not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of a state amendment banning marriage equality. [Link]

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Privacy Looms Over Wash. State Gay Rights Vote

The New York Times
November 1, 2009
The legal debate over whether the names of donors to the campaign to repeal Wash. state's expanded domestic partnership law should be disclosed (according to state campaign finance laws) is likely to continue well past Tuesday's election and raise national questions about privacy and voter petitions. [Link]

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U.S. Justice Department: Mass. Can’t Force Federal Marriage Benefits

The Associated Press
October 30, 2009
The U.S. Justice Department on Friday argued in court papers in a lawsuit filed by the state of Massachusetts that states honoring the marriages of same-sex couples cannot force the federal government to provide protections to those couples because the so-called federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) remains law. [Link]

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Advancing the Freedom to Marry in America

American Bar Association's Human Rights Magazine
Summer 2009 Edition

As the nation celebrates the fortieth anniversary of Stonewall, leading advocates, Mary L. Bonauto and Evan Wolfson, examine how the freedom to marry movement began; what work and events have shaped its progress, especially in the last year; and action steps for future progress. (Link to pdf, article on p.11)

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NY Times Letter to the Editor by Evan Wolfson

The New York Times
October 28, 2009
To the Editor:

Re “In Battle Over Gay Marriage, Timing May Be Key,” by Adam Liptak (Sidebar column, Oct. 27):

The pivotal exchange in one of the lawsuits now challenging the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage shows that the opponents of gay people’s freedom to marry still can’t give a real answer to the key question posed in yet another court by yet another judge: “What would be the harm of permitting gay men and lesbians to marry?”

The anti-gay forces’ lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, replied, “Your Honor, my answer is: I don’t know ... I don’t know.” Mr. Cooper eventually told the judge that the government should be able to exclude gay couples from marriage in order “to channel naturally procreative sexual activity between men and women into stable, enduring unions.”

But even Justice Antonin Scalia, no friend of equality for gay people, wrote in Lawrence v. Texas: “What justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising ‘[t]he liberty protected by the Constitution’? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry.”

The reason smart lawyers like Mr. Cooper don’t give a better answer to why marriage discrimination should be allowed to continue is that there isn’t one.

Evan Wolfson
Executive Director
Freedom to Marry
New York, Oct. 27, 2009

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ABA Human Rights Magazine Names Mary L. Bonauto and Evan Wolfson Human Rights Heroes

American Bar Association Human Rights Magazine
Summer 2009

Kristen Galles writes, "Twenty years ago, the nation did not know or think much about GLBT civil rights. Now, thanks to the work of [Evan] Wolfson and [Mary] Bonauto, the nation and its legal landscape have changed and we can all look forward to a day when all citizens have the freedom to marry." (Link)

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Washington State Domestic Partnership Foes Challenge Campaign Laws

The Associated Press
October 27, 2009
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the anti-gay group Family PAC, which opposes Washington state's expanded domestic partnership law, must abide by Washington state's campaign finance laws while a lawsuit challenging those laws moves forward. [Link]

Support expanded domestic partnership rights in Washington here.

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