December 12, 2012
By Matt Baume
It’s official: The Supreme Court will hear the Prop 8 case. Meanwhile, support’s growing in Congress for a repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. And progress in state legislatures could mean even big advances for marriage in 2013.
Now we can look forward to briefings and oral arguments in the spring, with a ruling probably by the end of June. These are going to be a very busy couple of months for marriage equality.
It’s a big deal that the court took both the Prop 8 case and a DOMA case, because the cases take two different approaches to marriage equality.
Prop 8 is a state law, which means that it forces California to deny the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples. DOMA, on the other hand, isn’t about the right to marry. The couples in those cases are already married. Instead, DOMA prevents the federal government from recognizing those marriages. If the court invalidates both Prop 8 and DOMA, it sets the stage for marriage equality at the state level and at the federal level.
Of course, there are a lot of different ways that the court could rule. And there’s sure to be lots of activity in those cases between now and June. We’ll have instant updates whenever there’s news in case. Subscribe here on YouTube and at AFER.org to stay up to date.
While those cases work their way through the court, Congressional support for DOMA repeal is at an all time high. Last year, 109 Representatives supported the Respect for Marriage Act, which would overturn DOMA. This year, that’s up to 159. Passage in the House requires 218.
And national polling on marriage continues its trend in our favor. New data from Quinnipiac and Gallup show support climbing over last year.
Turning to states, marriage began this weekend in Washington, with nearly 300 licenses issued in just the first few hours after midnight. Across the country, Maine marriages begin on December 29. Several towns there will hold special Saturday hours to issues licenses. And marriage in Maryland begins on January 1.
One of the next states to watch for progress on the freedom to marry is Minnesota. Governor Mark Dayton this week expressed his eagerness to sign a marriage bill if it can pass the legislature, which is now controlled by Democrats.
Organizers in Illinois are also pushing a bill in the legislature. It may come to a vote as early as January. A new survey from Public Policy Polling shows the bill would be supported by 47% of Illinois voters, with 42% opposed.
Support is even stronger in New Jersey, at 53% to 36% opposed. Lawmakers there need 27 Senate votes and 54 Assembly votes to override Governor Chris Christie’s veto of a marriage bill. Organizers say they’re close to reaching those numbers, but not quite there yet.
It’s been a huge year for marriage. But 2013 is already shaping up to be even busier yet. We have at least two major cases before the Supreme Court, some very close votes in state legislatures, and a handful of states that could be close to putting marriage on the ballot.
Subscribe here on YouTube and at AFER.org to stay up to date on all this work, and to find out where you can get involved.