California bill would honor marriages of same-sex couples from other states and countries

The Sacramento Bee
July 21, 2009
A proposed law to honor the growing number marriages between same-sex couples performed in other states and countries is winding its way through California's Legislature. Opponents of marriage equality say Senate Bill 54 violates Proposition 8, a voter initiative approved last November that amended the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. [Link]

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The State of Marriage Equality: Part Two in a Three-Part Series

Find Law
July 21, 2009
As we described in Part One of this series, the battle over marriage equality in the United States has been hard-fought in legal, political, and social arenas. Here, in Part Two, we describe in detail the states in which same-sex couples can obtain formal recognition from the state – whether in the name of "marriage" or some alternative status – and the states in which recognition is banned. [Link]

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Surveying the Land

The Advocate
August 2009
A state-by-state map and recent breakdown on marriage rights, with experts including Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom To Marry, weighing in on the next battleground states. [Link]

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FACTBOX: U.S. laws on gay marriage, civil unions

Reuters
June 29, 2009
A summary of laws on marriage equality and same-sex civil unions in the United States. [Link]

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Mayors support marriage equality

Bay Area Reporter
June 18, 2009
The U.S. Conference of Mayors on Monday, June 15 passed a resolution in support of ending the exclusion of gay couples from marriage. The resolution, titled "Equality and Civil Rights for Gay and Lesbian Americans," included support for the freedom to marry along with endorsement of federal bills such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, the Uniting American Families Act, and the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Evan Wolfson, executive director of the national organization Freedom to Marry, praised the resolution's passage. "By passing this resolution, America's mayors spoke for the families they know and serve in communities across the country, and said that excluding those families from the freedom to marry must stop," Wolfson said in a statement. [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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U.S. Conference of Mayors Passes Resolution Supporting the Freedom to Marry

Freedom to Marry Press Release
June 15, 2009


U.S. Conference of Mayors Passes Resolution Supporting the Freedom to Marry
Mayors Across the Country Pledge to Lead the Fight Against Inequality

The U.S. Conference of Mayors today passed a resolution in support of ending the exclusion of gay couples from marriage. The resolution, titled "Equality and Civil Rights for Gay and Lesbian Americans," included support for the freedom to marry along with endorsement of federal bills such as Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, the Uniting American Families Act, and the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“By passing this resolution, America's mayors spoke for the families they know and serve in communities across the country, and said that excluding those families from the freedom to marry must stop,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry. “The mayors have their fingers on the pulse of the country, and their voices today said loud and clear that ending discrimination in marriage is the way to go.”

In reference to the freedom to marry, the resolution stated, “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors supports marriage equality for same-sex couples, and the recognition and extension of full equal rights to such unions, including family and medical leave, tax equity, and insurance and retirement benefits, and opposes the enshrinement of discrimination in the federal or state constitutions.”

“The nation’s mayors are proud to take the lead in recognizing the importance of protecting all our citizens equally. It is now time for state legislatures and our federal government to enact the same protections for all our nation’s citizens,” said U.S. Conference of Mayors President Greg Nickels, Mayor of Seattle.

“The mayors' leadership reaffirms that the freedom to marry should not be partisan or political, but rather is part of the security and respect all couples who've made a commitment to care for one another and who are dealing with life's ups and downs should have, especially in these challenging economic times." said Wolfson. “Now the New York State Senate should be the next to lead the nation on the path to equality by swiftly passing the freedom to marry bill into law.”

New York's Assembly passed the marriage bill in May, and political leaders from across the state, including New York City's Independent/Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, have called on the State Senate to follow suit in the next few weeks. New York Governor David Paterson is ready to sign the bill. New Jersey also has a governor pledged to sign the state’s pending freedom to marry bill once it reaches his desk.

View the Resolution: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/pdfs/Mayors_Resolution.pdf

(Link)

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America’s Gay Paradox

The Atlantic
June 12, 2009
Andrew Gelman reproduces a fascinating state-by-state analysis of recent shifts in support for marriage equality. What emerges is the fact that states that were already more supportive of the freedom to marry have become more so much faster than those initially reluctant. My sense is that it is about the number of openly gay people in these states. Once you reach a tipping point in understanding that gay people are not evil perverts who all live under a gooseberry bush somewhere in San Francisco, the logic of full equality sweeps all before it. Honesty and dialogue make equality inevitable. [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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Marriage Equality: A Tipping Point?

columbia.edu
June 11, 2009
Jeff Lax and Justin Phillips have used statistical analysis to estimate attitudes toward marriage equality state-by-state. They used national opinion polls from 1994 through 2009 and analyzed several different opinion questions on gay rights. They found, among other things, that approximately as much change has occurred in attitudes toward marriage equality in the last four years as in the previous eight, and that states with higher levels of early support changed the most - possibly due to more gay people being "out" and visible in those states. [Link]

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