October 31, 2011
We’re counting down to the next ruling in the Prop 8 case. A Republican-backed bill in New Hampshire would replace marriage with civil unions for everyone — including siblings. Get ready for a showdown on the Defense of Marriage Act, and things are heating up in Ohio.
December 5th and 10am. That’s the deadline for the California Supreme Court to rule in the Prop 8 case. And the good news is that any way they rule is a victory for marriage equality. They could either end the case right here, with Prop 8 being found unconstitutional. Or they could allow the appeal to move forward on the merits, in which case we would prove — for a second time — that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.
The ruling could come at any time, but the latest possible date is December 5th. We’ll be counting down throughout this episode and during future episodes until we have that decision.
In New Hampshire, the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would end marriage equality, replacing it with severely limited legal protections for LGBT families. Governor John Lynch opposes the measure, and so do most residents. A survey earlier this month shows just 27% support repeal, compared with 50% who are opposed. And 44% say that they’re more likely to vote against an anti-gay candidate, compared to just 14% who were more likely to vote for an anti-gay politician.
One weird quirk of the proposed bill is that it wouldn’t just apply to LGBTs. It would also allow siblings to form a civil union. The bill is sponsored by Representative David Bates, who so far has avoided explaining his eagerness to facilitate consanguinity.
Meanwhile a growing bi-partisan coalition opposes the measure. Visit StandingUpForNHFamilies.org to learn more about the organization, which includes a former New Hampshire Chief Justice, Vice-Chair of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee, a former New Hampshire Attorney General, local business leaders, politicians, and a wide array of other public figures.
Ohio’s stepping up pressure on legislators with a rally planned for this Saturday, November 5th. Equality Ohio is joining forces with a Catholic organization, GetEQUAL, and an equality org from neighboring Kentucky for a rally from 11am to 6pm in Fountain Square in Cincinnati. The action comes on the heels of a recent survey from October showing 62% of voters support some form of legal recognition for same sex couples, with only 34% opposed.
In national news, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold debate on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act on Thursday of this week. The committee is dominated by co-sponsors of the bill, so it’s likely to have an easy passage. From there, it moves to the full Senate, where its survival is far less certain.
But the assault on DOMA continues to ramp up on multiple fronts, with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network filing a lawsuit this week on behalf of soldiers and veterans. Even with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, gay and lesbian servicemembers are still prohibited from accessing the same spousal benefits that are available to straight colleagues.
And in Brazil this week, the country’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking to have their civil union recognized as a marriage. The long-term effects of this ruling are unclear, since it isn’t binding in state courts and may apply exclusively to this one couple, so we’ll need to pay close attention to see what the next steps are from Brazilian activists.
That’s the news for this week, join us online at AFER.org for the latest on the federal challenge to Proposition 8, and visit MarriageNewsWatch.com for more breaking news headlines. We’ll see you next week.