The Rhode Island senate has voted and the result is a monumental movement for gay rights. Same sex marriage is now legal in Rhode Island.
David Klepper on Salon brings us the latest details on this breaking news.
Rhode Island senators put the state on the path Wednesday to becoming the 10th state to allow same-sex couples to marry.
The gay marriage legislation easily passed the Rhode Island House in January, and the Senate vote was seen as the true test. The bill passed 26-12, and now returns to the House for a largely procedural vote, likely next week, before going to Gov. Lincoln Chafee, who supports the legislation.
“This is a historic piece of legislation, one that literally has been in the works for more than 20 years,” said Sen. Donna Nesselbush, D-Pawtucket, the bill’s main sponsor in the Senate. “This is something that undoes centuries of discrimination against gay and lesbian couples.”
While the other five New England states already allow gay marriage, heavily Catholic Rhode Island has been a hold-out. Supporters this year mounted an aggressive and coordinated campaign that included organized labor, religious leaders, business owners and leaders including Chafee and Providence Mayor Angel Taveras.
South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson says he now supports gay marriage. “After lengthy consideration, my views have evolved sufficiently to support marriage equality legislation,” Johnson said in a written statement. “This position doesn’t require any religious denomination to alter any of its tenets; it simply forbids government from discrimination regarding who can marry whom.”
Read the full article here.
Breaking News! CNN brings us the latest update as the Supreme Court hears both sides on same-sex marriage. An excerpt of the CNN article is below.
Washington (CNN) — As partisans argued pointedly over same-sex marriage outside the U.S. Supreme Court building, either hoping for or dreading a landmark decision, justices inside seemed reluctant Tuesday to extend a sweeping constitutional right for gays and lesbian to wed in all 50 states.
In the first of two days of hearings on cases that have the potential to fundamentally alter how American law treats marriage, Justice Anthony Kennedy — considered the likely deciding vote on the divided court — questioned whether justices should even be hearing the issue.
“This was a deeply divided Supreme Court, and a court that seemed almost to be groping for an answer here,” said CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who watched the arguments over California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage.
Voters approved the proposal 52% to 48% in November 2008, less than six months after the state Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a fundamental right that must be extended to same-sex couples.
The court will listen to arguments Wednesday on a separate challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which — like the California law — defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
The overriding legal question in the California case is whether the 14th Amendment guarantee of equal protection under the law prevents states from defining marriage as that state has.
Regarding allowing same-sex couples to marry, Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal member of the court, asked, “What harm is there to the institution of marriage?”
But more conservative members of the court took a go-slow approach. Justice Samuel Alito said the law on same-sex marriage is too new.
“There isn’t a lot of data on its effect” on children and the institution of marriage, he said.
While the justices were clearly torn on the larger constitutional questions, they may be poised to dismiss the appeal on jurisdictional grounds.
A key question is whether the private citizens who put Proposition 8 on California’s ballot have standing to defend it in court when the state’s governor and attorney general have refused to do so.
If the court dismisses the appeal on those grounds, it might mean lower federal court rulings declaring the proposition unconstitutional would stand.
But it wouldn’t allow for a broader, final rule outlining the power of states to say who can or can’t get married.
Kennedy admitted the law’s supporters are “not just any citizens.”
But he later raised concerns about whether the possibility of same-sex marriage was enough to establish they had suffered harm, a key jurisdictional hurdle allowing them to appeal in the first place.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor said it is the state’s responsibility — through its elected leaders — to defend laws in court, and that private individuals could not establish “how their injury was separate from everyone else.”
Attorneys who represented the two couples seeking to overturn Proposition 8 said they couldn’t tell how the court would rule.
“We are confident where the American people are going with this,” said Theodore Olson. “We don’t know for sure what the United States Supreme Court is going to do, but we’re very, very grateful they listened, they heard, they asked hard questions, and there’s no denying where the right is.”
Andrew Pugno, general counsel for the Protect Marriage Coalition, the group defending Proposition 8, said their attorney had “credibly presented the winning case for marriage.”
“We think the hearing went very well,” he told reporters.
Two of the key plaintiffs are Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, a Burbank, California, couple who want to marry but can’t because of Proposition 8. They say the state is discriminating against them for their sexuality.
“It’s as simple as that,” Katami said after the hearing. “It’s our constitutional right and I cannot wait to start my family with Jeff.”
The court is unlikely to announce its decision until June.
In the most recent video, Bill Clinton for Marriage Equality, from Marriage News Watch, we learn that not only is the former president for gay rights but that in addition to forward movement for Colorado’s civil unions, there are several favorable polls for marriage equality in key political states.
A recent article by Mark Oppenheimer in the New York Times discusses the shifting perspective on same-sex marriage by David Blankenhorn, a traditional marriage advocate. The unprecedented move may illustrate an overall shift in the GOP’s acceptance of same-sex marriage.
David Blankenhorn, a traditional-marriage advocate and star witness in the Proposition 8 trial in California in 2010, shocked his allies with an Op-Ed article in The New York Times last June announcing that he was quitting the fight against same-sex marriage. “Instead of fighting gay marriage,” Mr. Blankenhorn wrote, “I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen marriage with straight people who want to do the same.”
He is about to find out how much support such a coalition can get.
On Thursday, Mr. Blankenhorn’s research group, the Institute for American Values in New York, plans to issue “A Call for a New Conversation on Marriage,” a tract renouncing the culture war that he was once part of, in favor of a different pro-marriage agenda. The proposed conversation will try to bring together gay men and lesbians who want to strengthen marriage with heterosexuals who want to do the same.
President Obama’s Inauguration address is the first ever in the history of the United States to discuss marriage equality at an Inauguration. The American Equal Rights group released a video update on the recent movement that has been made in the realm of equal rights and gay marriage.
“We’re making major progress in multiple states, with bills advancing in Rhode Island and Colorado. Plus historic words from President Obama, strong polling numbers, and the anniversary of the Prop 8 trial.”
Check out the video below.
On Sunday, the French showed their support for marriage equality as thousands gathered to rally in Paris for same-sex marriage bill. In face, police estimate that 125,000 individuals marched in the streets to show support for the same-sex marriage bill that is set to go up for debate by lawmakers this Tuesday.
The French President, François Hollande, had promised during his campaign that he would legalize gay marriage within a year of taking office. He took office back in May of 2012 and there are hopes that the bill could indeed pass and become law by this time. According to the New York Times, the bill, “redefines marriage to stipulate that it is ‘contracted between two persons of different sex or of the same sex,’ and the words “father” and “mother” in existing legislation are replaced by “parents.” The bill also would allow married same-sex couples to adopt children.”
Passing of the bill would be monumental for marriage equality in France and would help to set a precedent for the United States and other European nations.
Read the full article by Steven Erlanger from the New York Times, here.
(Image Benjamin Girette/Associated Press)
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper gave his longest State of the State address on Thursday, January 10th, 2013. While the speech did cover expected topics such as gun control, marijuana regulation and Medicaid, Hickenlooper did make a point to mention civil unions. This topic has not been on the forefront of recent Colorado debates given the media attention on other issues. However, Gov. Hickenlooper did take the time to urge lawmakers in Colorado to pass legislation allowing civil unions for same-sex couples.
Any mention in favor of gay rights and marriage equality in politics is favorable and we hope to see the encouraged legislation passed sooner than later.
See a clip of Denver Post reporters discussing Hickenlooper’s speech in the video below or read more about the speech from Tim Hoover’s article in the Denver Post.
Read more:Hickenlooper’s speech touches on issues from guns to civil unions – The Denver Posthttp://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22347649/gov-hickenlooper-calls-universal-background-checks-gun-sales#ixzz2HoMXx2eU
The Washington National Cathedral announced on Wednesday, January 9th, that they will soon host same sex marriages. The National Cathedral, where new presidents are celebrated and national tragedies are mourned, will be among the first episcopal congregations to host gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender weddings.
The cathedral’s dean, Very Rev. Gary Hall, explained more behind the decision for the National Catedral to perform same sex weddings. “As a kind of tall-steeple, public church in the nation’s capital, by saying we’re going to bless same-sex marriages, conduct same-sex marriages, we are really trying to take the next step for marriage equality in the nation and in the culture.”
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest group for gay rights in the U.S., applauded the move and said that the cathedral’s actions sent a strong message to LGBT Episcopalians, that they are loved for just the way they are.
Gay weddings are allowed immediately but the Cathedral will most not likely see any marriages until this summer due to being booked for the next six months.
We are only a week into the New Year and there are already exciting developments. Two brand new marriage equality bills for Rhode Island have been introduced. Also, while the vote on same sex marriage stalled in Illinois, the bill will be presented again and may be voted on as soon as February. Marriage News Watch covers the above as well as the latest news on a Congressional bill to repeal DOMA in the video below. 2013 will be an exciting year indeed.