July 11, 2012
By Matt Baume
All eyes are on the Supreme Court, with a big marriage showdown shaping up on the horizon. Two county clerks in Illinois have won right to defend the state’s marriage ban. And equality gets a thumbs up from Methodists, and a thumbs down — for now — from Presbyterians.
New court filings by the Department of Justice and a Congressional legal group mean that multiple marriage equality cases are now converging on the United States Supreme Court. The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has petitioned the Supreme Court in the case Gill versus Office of Personnel Management versus Gill. Meanwhile the DOJ has also petitioned for review in that case. And in an unexpected move, the DOJ also petitioned for review in another case, Office of Personnel Management versus Golinski.
That’s unexpected because the Golinski case hasn’t been though appeals process yet. So the DOJ is asking to skip the appeal and go right to the nation’s highest court.
In addition to these two DOMA cases, AFER’s Prop 8 case may soon reach the Supreme Court as well. Their next term starts this fall, which is shaping up to be a very busy time for the national marriage equality movement.
Turning to the states, two county clerks in Illinois have been granted permission to defend the state’s ban on marriage equality. Last month, twenty-five LGBT couples filed suit against the state when they were prevented from marrying. It was initially unclear who would defend the law, since state officials agreed that it was unconstitutional. But now these local officials, represented by the conservative Thomas More Society, have stepped in to oppose the LGBT families.
The United Methodist Church of the Northwest has voted to endorse Washington State’s pending marriage equality law. That law will only take effect if voters approve it at the ballot in November.
But the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church voted Friday to reject marriage equality. That vote was very close — three hundred and eight supporting equality to three hundred and thirty three opposed. The freedom to marry has widespread support among younger church leaders, including 82% of young seminarians.
And finally this week, more positive polling numbers. In Oregon, marriage equality is holding on to a narrow margin of support at 46 to 45%. That’s a slight improvement from last year, when 43% supported marriage. Oregon leaders have no immediate plans to return to the ballot, and instead are currently pursuing an education campaign to build public support.