September 26, 2011
By Matt Baume
Holy cow. Where to begin? Dustin Lance Black’s play about Prop 8 hit Broadway for an incredible night. The tapes of the Prop 8 trial might actually get released. Florida’s working on domestic partnerships, North Carolina’s marriage ban is even worse than we thought, New Hampshire might repeal marriage, and Missouri — yes, Missouri — favors legal recognition for gay couples. All that, plus the first Republican co-sponsor for the repeal of DOMA. Wow.
I’m sure you noticed that I didn’t do an episode last week. That’s because I was in New York for the star-studded Broadway premier of Dustin Lance Black’s new play, “8,” based on the transcripts of the Prop 8 trial. It was even more amazing than anyone could have hoped, and if you missed it, don’t worry: it’s coming to your town. Now that it’s had its premiere, the plan is to license the play to local community theater and student groups all over the world. Visit BroadwayImpact.com for more information.
Meanwhile on the very same day as the show, the Federal Circuit Court in California ruled that the tapes of the Prop 8 trial should be unsealed. This is huge, but it’s not a done deal yet. The tapes are still locked up for another week, during which time the Prop 8 proponents will appeal the order. Then we’re probably looking at several weeks for the appeal to play out.
Let’s turn now to Florida, where Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen became the first congressional Republican to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the federal marriage ban. That brings the total number of co-sponsors to nearly 130, a record high.
Also in Florida, two Democrats have introduced a domestic partnership bill. But the state already has a constitutional amendment banning recognition similar to marriage, so it’s unclear if Florida would even be allowed to recognize domestic partnerships.
The language of North Carolina’s proposed constitutional amendment to ban marriage is even more harsh than was previously agreed to. Lawmakers debated a version of the bill that permitted employers to opt in to providing partnership benefits, but the version that will go before voters leaves that provision out. Polling currently shows the bill losing by a very slim margin, which could be a problem since the vote will occur in May, during the Republican primary when conservative turnout will be high.
And In New Hampshire, Republicans have introduced a bill to end marriage equality in that state. The proposed measure would ban more than just marriage — it would leave couples with even fewer protections than they had under civil unions. The House Judiciary Committee will vote on the bill next month.
Those are the headlines, visit us over at MarriageNewsWatch.com for more on all these stories and more. And connect with us at Facebook.com/MarriageNewsWatch to get breaking alerts right on your wall. See you next week.