After the Minnesota senate passed the marriage equality bill yesterday, Governor Dayton said he would sign it today. ABC News reports:
With marriages to be available for Minnesota’s gay couples starting Aug. 1, Duluth residents Gary Anderson and Gary Boelhower are getting ready to do something that seemed impossible when they started dating three years ago: plan a wedding. “The plan is to do it in August, definitely,” Boelhower said Monday, shortly after Minnesota’s Legislature took its final vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has pledged to sign the bill, and is scheduled to do so at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the front steps of the Capitol in St. Paul.
It wasn’t so long ago that these bills would linger for days or weeks on a Governor’s desk while we all wondered if he would say yes or no, weighing our fate in his hands. It’s a nice change.
We’ll start with the FRC, which is once again comparing gays to pedophiles. Pam’s House Blend reports:
The following video is yet another one pushed by the Family Research Council claiming that if gays are allowed in the Boy Scouts, there will be more boys at risk of being molested. This time, FRC allows Brian Rushfeldt, head of Canda Family Action do its dirty work.
Regular Linda Hervey thinks gay news sites are turning kids gay. LGBTQ Nation reports:
Linda Harvey of Mission America is worried that “homosexual news blogs” and other websites “that are sympathetic to the social and political goals of the homosexual movement” may actually trick young people, who could simply be visiting such sites in order to research the debate on same-sex marriage, into becoming gay by putting them in close reach of “homosexual-themed pornography. Schools, Hollywood and even the top leaders in our country are all busy selling homosexuality to kids,” Harvey warned, adding that pornography and other “deceptive influences” are also “convincing [kids] to believe they are gay.”
If only we had such power. It goes back to the whole nature v.s nurture thing, and we’re firmly on the side of nature.
And finally, here’s a fun spoof – Michelle Bachman threatening to leave Minnesota over the passage of the marriage equality bill. Jezebel reports:
“Sodom and Gomorrah thought they could defy the will of God – and we all know what happened to them. If the governor signs this legislation into law the Minneapolis-St. Paul region will be next. I have a friend from Eden Prairie who’s already packed everything she owns into her car and is driving out to Montana as we speak. These are very scary times. I don’t want my family to be the last ones out.”
OK, so technically, it’s not something she said, but you could almost believe it, right?
Anyone holding out hope that the Supreme Court is going to issue a sweeping decision to legalize gay marriage inroughout all 50 states has a new reason to temper their expectations. Not even the court’s most liberal member appears to be all that eager to thrust the institution into another cultural fight. It’s not so much because she does not believe in advancing rights, but rather because she appears to have concluded that judicial modesty is, in some circumstances, the best way to advance those rights.
The justice I am talking about is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In a talk at the University of Chicago on the 40th anniversary of the holding in Roe v. Wade, Justice Ginsberg reflected upon the scope of the Roe holding, and not in a way that suggests that she would do it the same way if she had it to do over again. “Roe became a symbol for the right to life movement. They have an annual parade now every year on the day in January when it was decided.”
As her statement this weekend suggests (and as Supreme Court watchers know, you can never read too much into what is said at oral argument or in public remarks), Justice Ginsburg appears to believe that Roe caused a cultural backlash against a woman’s right to choose that would never have occurred had the court not intervened so aggressively. Instead, Justice Ginsburg appears to have concluded, like many others of all sorts of ideological makeups who have studied the case, that had the court been more modest, a societal consensus would have emerged and the same rights would have come to be enshrined in the laws of each state through more democratic means.
As the expected U.S. Supreme Court decisions on laws affecting marriage equality draw closer, barriers for gay men and lesbians continue to drop around the country. Some of the obstacles have been overcome by individuals, others by legislators. Both avenues to equality are important.
In the April 29 edition of Sports Illustrated magazine, National Basketball Association center Jason Collins, who split his last season between the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards, revealed his homosexuality. “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” wrote Collins, who will become a free agent on July 1.
While other professional athletes have come out of the closet after retiring, Collins is the first openly gay athlete currently playing on a major American team. A little more than a week later, on May 7, our neighboring state of Delaware became the 11th state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage.
An openly gay soccer player just joined the NoH8 campaign. On Top Magazine reports:
Rogers is the former U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team member who last played for the UK’s Leeds United team. He came out gay and announced his retirement from professional soccer in an online post in February. “‘Don’t waste your life hating others for something you cannot change. Preach Love!’ – Out soccer player @RobbieRogers,” the NOH8 Campaign tweeted over the weekend.
Cute, gay, athletic and politically aware – what’s not to like?
Now that marriage equality has passed in nearby Minnesota, the pressure is on in Illinois. Go Pride reports:
“It is our time,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters. “Gay and lesbian couples in Illinois and their families deserve to be recognized. If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June, as expected, and Illinois doesn’t recognize the freedom to marry now, then Illinois families will be further harmed.”
And the Huffington Post reports on new pro-gay marriage robocalls by NAACCP alum Julian Bond and gay ally and football player Brandon Ayanbedejo:
A round of pro-gay robocalls expected to go out Monday are answering back to anti-marriage equality messages the socially conservative National Organization For Marriage sent around the state less than two weeks earlier. The latest round of calls call for a “yes” vote on Senate Bill 10 and feature civil rights leader Julian Bond and former Chicago Bears player Brendon Ayanbadejo, the Sun-Times reports. The calls are expected to go out in the districts of Illinois House Black Caucus members. “It’s time to take those steps once again in Illinois. We need to let the world know that Illinois accepts all people regardless of who they love,” Ayanbedejo, an Illinois native, says in the call.
Just two and a half weeks left in the legislative session…
In the city that wraps around the Vatican, home to one of the staunchest opponents of marriage equality, Mayoral candidate Ignazio Marino says he would allow same sex unions. Dot429 reports:
Rome’s candidate for mayor, Ignazio Marino, made the announcement on Monday that if elected, he would allow same-sex unions. Marino believes the children of Rome should be introduced and educated regarding gay and lesbian equality. Mariano is running against three other candidates. The election takes place on May 26 and 27.
Wouldn’t that be amazing? I’ll bet the Pope is not happy…
A Gallup poll shows support for gay marriage at or above 50% for the third time. The Advocate reports:
For the third consecutive time, a public opinion poll by Gallup found support for same-sex marriage over the 50% threshold. The latest study, conducted in the first week of May, found that 53% of 1,535 respondents believe same-sex marriage should be legal nationwide, with 45% stating the opposite. Those numbers tied Gallup’s poll in May 2011, while a poll in November 2012 found 50% supported marriage equality and 48% reported opposition.
The Gallup website has more details:
Nearly all U.S. subgroups are more likely to favor gay marriage now than in the past. Politically, Democrats, independents, and liberals all show increasing support for gay marriage over time, with each well above the majority level now. Republicans, conservatives, and moderates are more likely to favor gay marriage now than in 1996, but the increase in support among these groups may have stalled. Thus, most of the increase in the percentage favoring legal gay marriage in the last three years has come among left-leaning groups politically.
Queerty has another interesting note about the survey:
But where the Gallup poll contributes some real insight is how those asked think the rest of the country feels about marriage equality. By a whopping 63%, the respondents think that most Americans oppose marriage equality. In other words, the majority thinks it’s the minority and doesn’t know otherwise. What accounts for the disconnect? As much as it might dismay pollsters, most Americans don’t spend their days lovingly reviewing public opinion surveys. The real question, though, is how tentative are people in expressing their beliefs if they think most people are against them. Could there be a drag on the momentum for marriage equality if the public think it’s still something only about a third of Americans support?
We’ll start with the Senate Leader’s speech on marriage equality, given just before the final vote was taken, brought to us by Joe.My.God:
Joe.My.God also has a great quote from openly gay Senator Scott Dibble:
“Minnesotans, when given a chance, understand that the values that unite us are stronger and so much more important than those that divide us. I am proud to be a Minnesotan today. Today good hard-working Minnesotans playing by the rules, trying to live a good life, contributing in so many ways to their communities will be treated fairly. For thousands of families, life will be better. We will be removing the barriers that they have had to the full joys that life has to offer. In doing so, we strengthen ourselves and we strengthen our democracy. When this is over, we will have left Minnesota a better place. That is why we’re here.”
Over at Towleroad.com, they have a video of the celebration that erupted just after the vote:
A crappy cell phone camera may not be great at capturing images, but it is perfectly capable of transmitting joy.
Over at NOM, Brian Brown predicted the end of the Democratic majority in Minnesota because of the vote. Joe.My.God reports:
Make no mistake, this vote will bring the demise of the DFL majority and end the careers of wayward Republicans in the Legislature once voters have their say. The people of Minnesota did not vote for gay marriage in 2012. They voted to maintain traditional marriage by maintaining the status quo. Our opponents bought a victory by claiming that marriage was not under threat of redefinition, but in fact they always intended to redefine it at the soonest possible moment. Legislators who voted to redefine marriage were foolish to do so. They cast a terrible vote that damages society, tells children they don’t deserve a mother and a father, and brands supporters of traditional marriage as bigots. We predict that this vote will be career ending for many legislators in Minnesota.”
Of course, Brown basically predicted failure for the bills in Minnesota, Delaware, and Illinois a week and a half ago. Lets see if we can prove him wrong in all three states!
More victories as a marriage bill clears hurdles in Minnesota. And there’s progress appears likely in neighboring states as well. But soon, constitutional amendments in 30 states could delay any further success for years to come.
After months of speculation, the marriage equality bill just cleared the Minnesota Senate, after passing the House last week on a surprising 75-59 vote. Governor Mark Dayton, narrowly elected last November, has been pushing the bill, and has promised to sign it.
During the hearing, Senator Warren Limmer (R) complained that the bill offered little protection for individuals who disagreed with the bill, including teachers. “What about the YMCA’s, the YWCA’s, what about Northwestern College… they fail to have a denominational identity. They are not protected.”
Senator Ron Latz (R) responded to several of the GOP Senators’ complaints, pointing out that the bill was not about the religious definition of marriage, but the civil one. “Marriage is not a uniquely religious event.”
Senator Scott Dibble (D) made another important point. “Organizations that are religiously affilaited that are not taking public funds don’t have to serve anyone.” He pointed out that only religious institutions that did accept public funds would have to serve same sex couples and individuals, just like everyone else, and that it’s true already today under the state’s human rights laws. “We don’t exclude people in the public square.”
An amendment was put forward by Senator Paul Gazelka (R) to extend religious protections to non-church entities, which would have allowed anyone to discriminate against anyone based on any criteria, as long as it was based on religious beliefs. Not that, the amendment was written in such a way that it could potentially bring down the whole law if it was later found to be unconstitutional… basically a poison pill.
The amendment was defeated 41 to 26.
Another amendment, to explicitly retain the terms mother, father, husband and wife in state law, also failed.
During the final deliberations, Senator Jeff Hayden (D), cited his children as inspiration for voting yes, saying they had known same-sex couples their entire lives, and had themselves fought for marriage equality. Hayden, who is African American, also said that his wife is white, and talked about the Loving decision on bi-racial marriage and how it cleared the way for his family to exist. He said to marriage equality opponents “I think everything is going to be ok here in Minnesota.”
Senator Vicki Jensen (D) looked at the Iowa Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, and found it convincing in its argument that marriage equality was a constitutional right, and that any bill in the legislature should not contain a religious point of view or endorsement. She strongly supports the bill.
Senator Scott Reinert (D), a lutheran, had declined to say how he would vote previously, but he cited his lesbian sister, and his parents who taught him to accept others, as his inspiration. He compared this vote to decisions for women’s rights and in favor of bi-racial marriage. He said that every time we’ve faced this kind of decision, our country has come out on the right side. Reinhart, who is single but hopes to marry someday, said “I vote today to recognize for all the very same desires I have for myself. I vote today to recognize the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of public happiness.”
Senator Ron Latz (D) said “God made gays… who are we to quibble with God’s intentions?” He also pointed out that the bible includes descriptions of polygamous marriages, and that marriage has not always been the same.
Overall, the debate was respectful, even when the opponents spoke against the bill. The usual canards were brought up by the opponents – slippery slope; thousands of years of tradition, marriage is about having children, they’re redefining marriage, etc. In fact, most of these points were made in one speech by Senator Dan Hall (R). “We may be changing the course of freedom,” he said, using the standard playbook – if you don’t like something, say it’s taking away your freedom!
But in the end, none of that mattered, and marriage equality prevailed.
Under the new law, gays and lesbians will be able to marry in Minnesota starting on August 1st. Congratulations to Minnesota and the gay and lesbian couples there!
It’s quite a turn-around from two years ago, when the GOP began its effort to put a gay marriage ban on the ballot. The ban failed, part of a sweep for marriage equality advocates that included legalizing or confirming marriage equality in Maine, Maryland and Washington state.
In the last three weeks alone, three states have now passed marriage equality bills, and now all eyes turn to Illinois.
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The U.S. Supreme Court fight over California’s Proposition 8, viewed by gay-rights advocates as a historic opportunity to establish same-sex marriage nationwide, may not even settle the issue in the state.
The justices, who probably will rule next month, signaled during the March 26 argument that they might sidestep the underlying constitutional questions and decide that the defenders of the 2008 gay-marriage ban lacked “standing,” or legal eligibility, to bring the case. That could leave the status of gay marriage in California in doubt, spawn new litigation and perhaps even prompt another ballot initiative.
A standing ruling might mean “a quick death for Prop 8,” said Vikram Amar, a constitutional law professor at the University of California Davis School of Law. “But it’s also quite possible — maybe more likely — that it will take some time before we know which couples, beyond the two couples who sued, would be able to get their licenses.”
It took five years, but a transgender woman just won the right to marry her boyfriend in Hong Kong. Gay Star News reports:
In a landmark decision, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal has ruled that a transsexual woman can marry her boyfriend. A Hong-Kong-born transsexual woman in her mid-30s, known only as ‘W’ in court, has won a five year battle to win the right to marry the man she loves. Michael Vidler, a partner of the legal firm representing the case, called the judgment a ‘resounding victory’ and said he was ‘relieved’ and ‘happy’ with the judgement.
Congratulations to the happy couple… a rare moment when transgender rights advance before marriage equality rights.
As marriage equality comes to Delaware and Rhode Island, there’s an almost unbroken line of states along the Atlantic Coast that now recognizes gay marriage. Then there’s Jersey. Pam’s House Blend reports:
The New Jersey state legislature passed a marriage equality bill in February, 2012. Gov. Christie vetoed it immediately. Since the bill wasn’t passed by a veto-proof majority, the race is on to secure 12 additional votes in the House and 3 in the Senate before the legislative session ends in January, 2014. This may be possible if Gov. Christie, who is known for enforcing party discipline, allows Republican legislators to vote their conscience. It would be in his best interest to do so, because he’s giving himself and New Jersey a retrograde reputation.
It’s time to bring pressure to bear on Christie to allow marriage equality to go forward in New Jersey.
A group of conservatives is pushing to send the marriage equality bill to a public vote. The Guardian reports:
A group of Conservative MPs has proposed a referendum to allow the public to vote on gay marriage in one of several amendments aimed at watering down the bill to legitimise same-sex weddings. More than 100 MPs may support the call for a referendum, sources said. The amendments have gained more support among Tory MPs since the UK Independence party’s surge in support in the county council elections, which some MPs attribute in part to opposition among voters to the gay marriage bill. More proposals from backbenchers are expected to be laid before parliament this week.
The move comes as the House of Commons is set to give the bill a third reading next week.
A march for LGBT rights this weekend drew a huge crowd in Santiago over the weekend. The Washington Blade reports:
An LGBT rights march in the Chilean capital on Saturday drew more than 50,000 people. Chilean folk singer Camila Moreno; presidential candidates Andres Velasco, Tomas Jocelyn-Holt, Marco Enriquez-Ominami and Marcel Claude and Rafael Dochao, the European Union’s ambassador to Chile, took part in the Santiago event that also commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia. Former President Michelle Bachelet, who is also a candidate to succeed President Sebastian Pinera in this November’s presidential elections, endorsed the march in a letter.
Chile may soon consider a civil unions bill.
The final vote on Minnesota’s marriage equality bill is due today – if it passes, it will make Minnesota the third state in as many weeks to pass a gay marriage bill. KARE reports:
Minnesota’s Senate is scheduled to debate and vote Monday on a bill to add the state to the growing list of those that allow gay marriage. It’s the last step before Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, who has promised to sign legislation. A look at how the bill works, who it could affect, what got the state got to this point, and where Minnesota falls in spread of gay marriage around the country and worldwide.
A Minneapolis restaurant wants to be the first to celebrate the new law. Towleroad.com reports:
Anticipating that within the next few days, same-sex marriage will finally be signed into Minnesota law, Hell’s Kitchen would like to congratulate our beloved GLBT community with a free wedding celebration for one same-sex couple wishing to marry on Thursday, August 1, the very first day it will finally be possible.
In St. Paul, Mayor Chris Coleman is dedicating a bridge to marriage equality. TPM reports:
With Minnesota poised to become the latest state to make gay nuptials legal, St. Paul, Minn. Mayor Chris Coleman (D) announced Monday that he will dedicate one of the city’s most prominent bridges to marriage equality. Coleman took to Twitter to announce that this week, the Wabasha Street Bridge will be known as the “Freedom to Marry Bridge.” The tweet included a photo of the bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River, adorned with gay pride flags.
On Top Magazine profiles Rep. Steve Simon, who gave an emotional speech on the house floor two years ago when a ban was being considered:
Two years earlier, as lawmakers debated a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union which was later rejected by voters, Simon asked ban supporters whether, if sexuality is a gift from God, “what does that mean to the moral force of your argument? How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?” he asked to a round of applause.
Towleroad.com will have a live feed of the debate and vote, starting at 10 AM PST.
Out French singer Mika is headlining a free concert in support of the marriage equality law in Paris on May 21st. Gay Star News reports:
British gay singer/songwriter Mika will headline a free Paris to celebrate marriage equality in France. According to French newspaper La Parisienne, Mika will headline the Long Live Equality concert to celebrate France’s gay marriage law that passed last month, and to reaffirm the importance of fighting homophobia. Originally scheduled to take place on 17 May, International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), the Long Live Equality concert was rescheduled to 21 May, five days before a national demonstration scheduled by opponents of the ‘Marriage for All’ law.
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