A Second Try

Open Left
August 20, 2009

The No On 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign is working hard to avoid the pitfalls experienced in the Prop. 8 referendum campaign last fall in California. Their first TV ad, released today, is a good example of lessons learned and thoughtful messaging. [Link]

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Iowa Civil Rights Commission to Endorse Legalization of Marriage Equality

Quad City Times
August 19, 2009
The Iowa Civil Rights Commission is preparing to endorse a court decision legalizing gay marriage, but says other issues remain unresolved and Iowans need to re-dedicate efforts to end discrimination for all Iowans. [Link]

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Nevada Office to Begin Accepting Domestic Partnership Applications

The New York Times
August 18, 2009
The Nevada secretary of state's office will take applications starting next week from couples who wish to register as domestic partners. October 1st is the day a new state law goes into effect extending some partnership rights to cohabitating couples, whether gay or straight. [Link]

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Freedom to Marry in the Supreme Court: How to Make the Timing Right


New York Times Room for Debate Blog
August 18, 2009

In response to the question, "Is this the right time to go to a conservative Supreme Court [with the freedom to marry]?" Evan Wolfson writes:
If the question is “Should the Supreme Court strike down the cruel and discriminatory exclusion of committed same-sex couples from marriage, an exclusion that serves no legitimate government interest?,” the answer is yes — and as soon as possible for couples who are doing the work of marriage in their day-to-day lives and who share an equal need for the protections and responsibilities marriage brings.

If the question is “Is now the right time to rush a case to the Supreme Court?,” I would draw on my own experience as the attorney who argued before the court in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale and participated in many other gay rights and other civil rights cases, including the case that ended race-discrimination in jury selection.

The first rule of Supreme Court litigation, I learned, is count to 5. If you don’t have a pretty strong sense that you are likely to be able to persuade and empower five justices to rule right, then why rush to a result that could be harmful?

The reality is, there are several freedom to marry cases already making their way through the courts, in addition to the case against Proposition 8 brought by Ted Olson, and his adversary in Bush v. Gore, David Boies. These include the challenge to the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” brought by married couples represented by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which won the Massachusetts and Connecticut freedom to marry cases. The Attorney General of Massachusetts also filed a suit on behalf of the state’s interest in not being forced to discriminate against its own married couples.

So in that sense, the question, “Is this the right time?” is no longer pertinent. The more important question is, “How can we assure that when a case reaches the Supreme Court, the court is ready to do right?”

The best way to maximize the chances for a just ruling by the court is not just by hiring good lawyers, writing smart briefs, or, even, being right. What’s needed is creating the climate that enables justices to do the right thing.

That means winning the freedom to marry in more states and winning over more hearts and minds. If the Supreme Court sees that the lived experience of gay couples marrying means families helped and no one hurt, that the rationales offered up to defend discrimination are false, and that the momentum in America is toward inclusion, then the timing may indeed prove right for the justices to do right. The opportunity to use the time between now and the day it’s turned over to the justices is very much in our control. Since that day may come soon, let’s start talking now to the people we need to persuade (see www.freedomtomarry.org), and make the timing right.
(Link)

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City Council of Durham, North Carolina Unanimously Supports Marriage Equality

The Charlotte (NC) News & Observer
August 18, 2009
The City Council of Durham, North Carolina got a standing ovation Monday night when it unanimously passed, without discussion, a resolution supporting marriage for same-sex couples. The resolution has no effect on the law, but clearly states the city's stance on the issue. [Link]

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Wisconsin same-sex couples begin registering as domestic partners

The Star Tribune - Minneapolis/St. Paul
August 3, 2009
Protections put in place for gay couples through legislation contained in the Wisconsin state budget, signed by Democratic Governor Jim Doyle on June 29, took effect Monday. Provisions in the spending plan grant same-sex couples some of the same legal protections as spouses, including hospital visitation, inheritance, and medical leave rights. [Link]

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Opponents Of Law Honoring Marriages of Same-Sex Couples To Turn In Petitions

WMTW.com
July 31, 2009
Stand For Marriage Maine, the group leading the effort to overturn a state law which honors the marriages of same-sex couples, said it plans to turn in its people's veto petitions Friday. The Secretary of State must then verify those signatures, gathered by drawing heavily on out-of-state contributions and professional signature gatherers. [Link]

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Maryland Delegate Saqib Ali: Marriage Equality has gone from being a niche issue to the most pressin

Gazette.Net
July 31, 2009
I am the first Muslim in the Maryland legislature, but I recognize that if I tried to enforce religion by law — as in a theocracy — I would be doing a disservice to both my constituents and to my religion. [Link]

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Maine marriage equality group changes name

examiner.com
July 30, 2009
Maine Freedom to Marry formally changed its name on Thursday to "No on 1/Protect Maine Equality." A spokesman for the group said that the name change was necessary so that they could clearly tell supporters that a "no" vote on the November ballot is actually a vote in support of the freedom to marry. [Link]

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States with More Catholics Favor LGBT Rights

USA Today
July 29, 2009
Want to predict which state might be next to embrace marriage equality? The higher the percentage of Catholics in a state's population, the more likely the state is to... support gay rights. [Link]

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