Oodles of gay marriage news

The gay. Make it stop.

I can’t even keep up with the number of gay news stories coming into my inbox.  So, I’m summarizing a gazillion of them in one post.  Skim through, pick what you want to read.

As you may know, the Supreme Court will be hearing arguments today and tomorrow about gay marriage (specifically DOMA and Prop 8).  I will be heading shortly to the Supreme Court to get some photos and video of the protests, etc. going on outside.  Then I’ll head back and wait for the transcripts of the hearings, which should be out shortly after they’re done (which is noon eastern time).

The court is expected to issue its decision by the end of June.

I know the blog has been a bit “gayer” than usual recently – the gay news has simply exploded.  Especially in the past few days, with the Supreme Court cases coming up.  So rather than cherry pick, I decided to list all the interesting stories that will give you more background on what’s going on at the Supreme Court today, and more.

Now for the crazy-ass list of gay news stories.

NYT: Background on same-sex marriage case at Supreme Court

What to look for in the Supreme Court arguments, via ScotusBlog and Bloomberg:

READ THIS: Three excellent charts from  Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post, showing why the political battle over gay marriage in the US is over, we won.  Here’s one particularly interesting finding:

While young people are the most supportive of gay marriage — eight in ten in the most recent Post-ABC survey — every generation is growing more accepting of the idea as they age. That’s a critically important finding since it suggests that as young people age — and as middle age people grow older — they don’t reverse course and become less supportive of the idea of gay people being married.

Olson and Boies in WSJ: Gays deserve equal rights

Because of their sexual orientation—a characteristic with which they were born and which they cannot change—our clients and hundreds of thousands of gay men and lesbians in California and across the country are being excluded from one of life’s most precious relationships.

Opening to them participation in the unique and immensely valuable institution of marriage will not diminish the value or status of marriage for heterosexuals, but withholding marriage causes infinite and permanent stigma, pain and isolation. It denies gay men and lesbians their identity and their dignity; it labels their families as second-rate.

That outcome cannot be squared with the principle of equality and the unalienable right to liberty and the pursuit of happiness that is the bedrock promise of America from the Declaration of Independence to the 14th Amendment, and the dream of all Americans. This badge of inequality must be extinguished.

Buzzfeed: Alaska Sen. Mark Begich says “same sex couples should be able to marry”

After remaining mum on the subject when asked about it last week, Sen. Mark Begich’s office issued a statement Monday night from the senator supporting marriage equality.

“I believe that same sex couples should be able to marry and should have the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as any other married couple,” the Alaskan senator said in what appears to be his first direct statement on the subject.

“Government should keep out of individuals’ personal lives—if someone wants to marry someone they love, they should be able to. Alaskans are fed up with government intrusion into our private lives, our daily business, and in the way we manage our resources and economy,” he continued.

CBS: Dem. Sen. Claire McCaskill now backs same-sex marriage

McCaskill, who was embroiled last year in a controversial, high-profile re-election campaign against Republican challenger Todd Akin, made the announcement on he rTumblr last night. She argued that while “the question of marriage equality is a great American debate,” the government shouldn’t dictate who can and cannot get married.

“I have come to the conclusion that our government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love,” she wrote. “While churches should never be required to conduct marriages outside of their religious beliefs, neither should the government tell people who they have a right to marry.”

Buzzfeed: Sen. Mark Warner Reverses Course, Supports Marriage Equality

On the eve of the Supreme Court’s argument’s on same-sex couples’ marriage rights, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner reversed his longstanding position and announced his support for marriage equality,
On Facebook, he wrote Monday afternoon, “I support marriage equality because it is the fair and right thing to do. Like many Virginians and Americans, my views on gay marriage have evolved, and this is the inevitable extension of my efforts to promote equality and opportunity for everyone.”

NYT: Scalia’s gay marriage problem

… Can Justice Scalia hold his ego and intemperance in check for the two hour and 50 minute duration of the two marriage arguments? Will he even try? … His increasingly cranky and intolerant pronouncements have become an embarrassment even to people who tend to agree with him. …

LAT: The conservative legal star who is fighting for gay marriage.

Mike Signorile: How we got to the Supreme Court.

NBC summarizes the two cases being heard today.

NYT: The players in the same-sex marriage hearings.

NYT: A sea change in less than 50 years as gay rights gained momentum.

CNBC: Corporate America has already voted for gay marriage.

GOP youth evolve on gay marriage.

Dr. Richard Land, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told POLITICO that young members of his community are no longer interested in vocalizing opposition to same-sex marriage.

“Basically, they just don’t think it’s something we want to talk about,” said Land, who strongly opposes same-sex marriage. “[They say,] ‘It feels intolerant. We believe what we believe, they have a right to what they want to believe. Marriage should be a church thing, not a legal thing.’”

Ohioans now in favor of repealing state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

The Christian Science Monitor says it matters that Chief Justice Roberts’ lesbian cousin is coming to hear the arguments.

NPR has a big story on Prop 8.

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post: Will SCOTUS transform the national landscape on gay rights?

There are two ways SCOTUS could reach broad rulings with far reaching implications for gay rights. The first would be if the Court found a fundamental Constitutional right to marry, as it did in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down a state law forbidding interracial marriage, and other rulings. (This is what Ted Olson and David Boise, the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs, have argued.) The second would be if the Court found that laws that discriminate must pass a “heightened scrutiny” test — i.e. their rationale must be subjected to an extremely high standard — and that this scrutiny reveals that Prop 8 violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause. (This is what Obama’s solicitor general has argued.)

Either of these rulings would be historic, and could be used as a weapon to topple other state laws banning gay marriage as unconstitutional. So watch the discussions about the implications of such a ruling. If Kennedy asks whether ruling that way would be dictating on an issue that’s very sensitive to the states and short circuiting the political process, that could signal discomfort with going the broad route. On the other hand, Kennedy might also want to give Prop 8 opponents a chance to explain why such a ruling is legally defensible. Look for them to argue that this would not be an imposition of anything on the states, but rather that the states don’t have the authority to impose on gays who want to get marriedby depriving them of their constitutional rights.

CNN poll: “Rob Portman effect’ fuels support for same-sex marriage

“The number of Americans who support same-sex marriage has risen by almost the same amount in that time – from 40% in 2007 to 53% today – strongly suggesting that the rise in support for gay marriage is due in part to the rising number of Americans who have become aware that someone close to them is gay,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

“Some people have recently taken to calling it the ‘Rob Portman effect,’ after the Republican senator from Ohio who learned that his son is gay and changed his position on gay marriage as a result,” adds Holland.

Yale Daily News: GOP Sen. Portman’s son Rob writes about coming out:

In February of freshman year, I decided to write a letter to my parents. I’d tried to come out to them in person over winter break but hadn’t been able to. So I found a cubicle in Bass Library one day and went to work. Once I had something I was satisfied with, I overnighted it to my parents and awaited a response.

They called as soon as they got the letter. They were surprised to learn I was gay, and full of questions, but absolutely rock-solid supportive. That was the beginning of the end of feeling ashamed about who I was.

PEW: Supreme Court’s favorable ratings still at historic low.

Buzzfeed: In Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision, public opinion is no guarantee

Buzzfeed: The Senators who flipped on DOMA.

Buzzfeed on Evan Wolfson and Andrew Sullivan, two early fighters in the gay marriage debate.

Politico: Republicans see cash opportunity in gay marriage shift.

Republican fundraisers say the changing views of gay marriage in their party could unlock big money from GOP donors in places like New York, California and Florida — where some Republicans have kept their checkbooks closed over what they saw as misplaced priorities, at best, or intolerance, at worst, at the highest ranks of the party.

Daily Mail (not the crappy one): Senator Rockefeller wants Defense of Marriage Act repealed.

Starbucks’ CEO loves us.

Wash Post: How the immigrant movement learned from gay activists:

We learned something else from the LGBT community. Early in Obama’s first term, when most progressives were swooning about the new president and the new era his election had ushered in, LGBT activists had a different take. Dismissing the Washington-insider notion that access means influence, they made it clear that they were not going to go along to get along. Led by bloggers such as John Aravosis, Joe Sudbay and Pam Spaulding, the LGBT community developed an outside strategy that openly challenged the White House.

Their first battle was over the president’s defense of DOMA. They were confrontational and fearless. LGBT advocates then upped the pressure on the White House and Congress to move on the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Unwilling to accept the line that “we’d like to help you, but those Republicans just won’t let us,” gay activists mobilized donors, got arrested at the White House, demanded action and ultimately succeeded in repealing the military policy.

The Advocate on NOM’s money.

CNN: The county where no one is gay.

Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post: “Political debate on same-sex marriage is arguably over.”

Andy Borowitz (humor): Scalia says marriage views not affected by lifelong fear of gays.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Badgerite

    All the legal arguments aside, there is one specific fact pattern that I keep coming back to in my head, and that is that none of these states or anti gay activists or organizations that are up in arms about same-sex marriage had the tiniest bit of a problem with the convicted murderer of a 12 year old girl and many other women (Theodore Bundy) getting married during his trial for that murder. So tell me what the community’s interest was in recognizing that marriage over, say, Jim Nabors eventual marriage to his mate of 30 some years?

  • MyrddinWilt

    The problem with a court decision is that they can try to overturn it by packing the SCOTUS with clones of Scalia and Thomas.

    I can’t think of a more worthless waste of space than Clarence ‘don’t call me a harasser’ Thomas but I am sure that the GOP could find four more if they had to.

    Reading the reports, it sounds like SCOTUS are going to duck on PropH8 and just let the existing ruling stand. So I can’t see the hate mob seeing that as final.

    If DOMA goes there is no possibility of reinstating it unless the GOP gets the house, 50% of the Senate and the WH.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Help yourself. We have plenty.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    You’re right, but I have a feeling that given how close the vote was at the time, 52% v 48%, annulling existing marriages would have been a bridge too far for the mere 2.5% it would have taken to defeat the proposition. And likely made it even more unconstitutional.

    I suspect the other thing they did not anticipate was the change in CA state government, such that the state — AG and governor both — would decline to challenge Walker’s ruling. Despite what our friend MyrddinWilt suggests, it has always remained in the purview of a state government to accept a court ruling as moot and move on. There has never been any sort of requirement that it then be pursued all the way to SCOTUS. I mean, in the PropH8 case, California did defend it in court, they lost, there was a change in gov’t due to a scheduled election, and the successor elected officeholders declined to pursue the case further. They had a definitive court ruling and quite honestly, although I’m no legal expert, it probably should have stopped right there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/xgaygreghaislip Xgay Greg

    I used to be addicted to men, but 7 years ago Jesus set me FREE! (YouTube
    video) I made the switch from being married to my first wife by ditching her
    and our 2 sons to go into the gay life-choice. Today I am FREE, DELIVERED and
    married to a beautiful woman of God. I won’t go back! ALL HAIL KING JESUS!!!

    I have NOT had ex-gay therapy, unless you consider Jesus my Therapist.

  • nicho

    They made more than a few errors. They didn’t anticipate the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage coming after they submitted their proposition, and that has cost them. They didn’t include language voiding existing marriages, which they could have. Also, the sequence of events allowed the “taking away an existing right” argument.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    True, and this is where we’re in a horse race. I’m no longer surprised at the extent to which the regressive right will go to achieve their goals. I mean, who would have thought they’d actually vote to ban abortion even when the life of an adult woman is at risk? But they already have.

    Okay, maybe I went a bit far with suggesting they’d criminalize same-sex marriage at the state level (right away, anyhow). But what’s to stop them from imposing state tax laws that single out and penalize same-sex married couples? Or a law that, at the state level, bars same-sex married couples from tax-free inheritance in the case of survivorship? Plus there are already all those laws on the books in a bunch of states that ban adoption, so that if the biological parent member of the couple dies, the state can and will come in and take the kids away.

    See, here’s the thing: The regressives do still steer the GOP agenda. Maybe not in the long run, but they still do. Just look at how many GOPers have had to immediately walk back any remarks they’ve made that sounded sympathetic to the idea of recognizing same-sex marriages or allowing for civil unions or whatever. They also have this habit of reacting in a retrograde way to any federal legislation or ruling, such that if DOMA is overturned, I could easily see the more regressively Red states trying to find ways to punish gay people who go get married in other states.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The PropH8 proponents made a crucial mistake, because there was an easy, established practice for state referenda to be defended, even in the absence of state gov’t support — and that would have been to put language in the original proposition allowing for third party litigation. It’s been suggested that the groups pushing PropH8 chose to omit such language because to do so would have left their fingerprints on the initiative. (The alternative suggestion is they were too stupid to remember they needed the boilerplate language.)

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I don’t think I agree on your point that overturning Prop8 via referendum is arguably better than letting the courts do the work.

    A referendum can just as easily be reversed by another referendum, and moreover, it sets a really terrible precedent, for gay rights to depend entirely on the present whims of a voting plurality. What a decisive court ruling does is make it clear that not only was the original proposition wrong, any future attempts to pass a similar proposition would be presumed unconstitutional and summarily overturned by lower courts.

  • MyrddinWilt

    We have not seen those particular bills pass yet and I can’t see them lasting five minutes if they did pass.

    Sure, the GOP bigots are going to try to take refuge behind states rights. But at this point the whole anti-equality thing is a net electoral cost for them and I don’t think that the owners of the party were ever interested in anything more than a cynical grab for votes.

    The conservative movement is another matter. They will be out raising money off this from the same idiots who buy the gold coins and send their money to evangelical preachers to buy whores and cocaine.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Winning PropH8 that way might be a bad thing long term. It means that state governments can nullify laws by refusing to oppose challenges to them. I am happy to take a win that way but I think it is likely to come at the cost of more than a few losses. The right wing majority on the SCOTUS has used its power to nullify a lot of progressive laws.

    But worrying about the precedent set doesn’t matter much with Scalia and co, they have no principles and make the law up as they go along so it probably doesn’t matter.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Andrew Sullivan supporting the State’s Rights position” That asshat would, thus, leaving the majority of bigots to determine the same old anti-gay laws.It mystifies me why what Sullivan has any credibility at all. He’s a pink elephant.

  • Annski1

    Yes and we need to call it what it is.. “States Rights” which was used by racists and is now used by homophobes even internalized homophobes like Andrew Sullivan

  • Naja pallida

    Standard Republican, do as we say, not as we do.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It would leave us in the gay and lesbian equivalent of the situation before Loving v. Virginia, where technically a state could be free not just to ban same-sex marriages, but impose criminal penalties for state residents who marry elsewhere.

  • http://poodyheads.wordpress.com/ Papa Bear

    In some of the first rulings from the “Bush” Court, they said that precedent was unimportant (unless it supported the conservative cause)…

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Yeah, I just finished reading SCOTUSBlog’s analysis, and from the oral arguments it seems clear the court is leaning towards dismissing the PropH8 case due to lack of standing, which would leave Walker’s original ruling intact. So marriage equality rights for Californians again.

    You’re right, DOMA is the big battle, and I have no idea where they’re going to go with it. I mean, are they even going to get into heightened scrutiny? Or just overturn DOMA itself, but allow states to continue to ban same-sex marriage if they wish to do so?

  • Annski1

    This is obviously good news for California..dcinsider is right DOMA is the important battle. I think MyrddinWilt’s analysis..just GOP opposition whack jobs is not correct.. This I believe may still be about everything is o.k. but the money. Which of course is the issue of Federal rights. It has already moved to within our community with this morning Andrew Sullivan supporting the State’s Rights position saying he hopes they will just allow the state approved marriages to be recognized and let it continue to go state to state..Which leaves Mississippi and most southern states ..where?

  • MyrddinWilt

    I don’t think the Koch bros or their lackies give a damn. This was all just a way to get stupid rubes to vote for the GOP when their main policy proposal is to steal out pensions and give it to the Koch bros in tax breaks. They knew they couldn’t win on their real policy objective so they went for hate. Just like the southern strategy all over again. Call it the Southern Strategery if you like.

    Right now the cynics are bailing on the haters. We need to make sure that continues. And we need to also make sure that the people who were being conned into supporting the GOP over their hate plank know they were being conned.

    Some people might suggest that we don’t hold the GOP members turning tail on this accountable for their earlier positions. But rats leaving the sinking ship don’t deserve a pass when they remain rats.

  • dcinsider

    Standing, standing, standing. Once we saw the requests for briefs in this case, the outcome was pretty clear. SCOTUS will toss on standing, leaving the District Court decision overturning Prop 8 as the law. Gays and lesbians will marry in CA by July 4th.

    DOMA is where the real battle is, and the best potential for a big gay rights victory.

  • Annski1

    Naja, There is no validity to the States Rghts argument. it was always racist and now it is homophobic also.. The fact that the Sunday NYT along with the regular suspects in the last three days, are using this argument is something to watch to see where the Supreme Court goes.. We must stay mobilized until June and take on this meme being raised by the financial class, ruling class..whatever you want to call them.

  • Naja pallida

    Seems to me that the states’ rights argument is only valid if you completely ignore already established legal precedent… and I thought precedent was supposed to be very important to the Supreme Court.

  • Indigo

    There’s no such thing as “too much.” :-)

  • Annski1

    We should be watching the opposition (including the NYT) who in the last two days have been using the ‘ol States Rights arguments. This would fit in with “Everything but the money” which fits with the bankster classes predatory activities.

  • MyrddinWilt

    I am finding some of the commentary on other sites rather bizarre.

    From a rights point of view all that really matters is whether SCOTUS will strike down DOMA and if so which parts. Given Kennedy’s previous rulings it seems highly unlikely he would find for DOMA. If the federal ban on recognizing marriage goes most of the state restrictions are nullified. States could continue to bar marriages but they would be forced to recognize them through the full faith and credit clause.

    Prop-8 is much less important since it is going to be overturned either way and the arguments are based on the state constitution rather than federal. So winning Prop-8 does not mean a win anywhere else. Losing prop-8 means having to fight a referendum question on it but overturning prop-8 in a referendum is arguably better than letting the courts do the work.

    Even if DOMA is struck down and there is defacto marriage equality, albeit some people having to get married in a different state, there is going to be a long haul to get the various state laws overturned. That is going to put the GOP in a real bind because bigots are not going to get very excited about preserving largely symbolic hate laws, they have to create misery to feel good. Liberals are going to get a lot more energized about overturning those symbolic laws. So this is a net liability for the GOP across the battleground states over the next couple of cycles. It isn’t going to make a huge difference, maybe swing a point or two at most. But that plus the ongoing demographic shift could be enough to take the House back in 2014.

    There is a reason GOP pols have been leaping for the exits on hate recently: Pure self preservation.

  • S1AMER

    We’ll probably get some hints of outcomes from arguments today and tomorrow, but we’ll probably have to wait until late June (3 long months!) to know for sure.

    Part of me is hoping for the best. But we’d all be wise to expect the worst could very well occur, and plan for that outcome, and for how we regroup to push forward through legislatures and future court cases.

    No matter what happens, we’ll still have a great deal of work to do to achieve full equality in American society and law. But victory is in sight, however many more fierce battles we’ll have to fight (and win!) to get there.

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