Hawaii became the 15th state to legalize gay marriage this week. Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the bill on Wednesday after it was passed by the Hawaii Senate the day before. Many expected Illinois to become the 15th state to legalize gay marriage; however, Illinois’ governor has not signed the bill yet. He is expected to do so on November 20th.
“Hawaii’s gay marriage debate began in 1990 when two women applied for a marriage license, leading to a court battle and a 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court decision that said their rights to equal protection were violated by not letting them marry,” the Washington Post explained Wednesday.
FENUXE spoke to gay Hawaiian resident Cody Stewart who said, “I would say that the legalization of same-sex marriage in Hawaii has been a big step in continuing to show the world the Aloha Spirit; that we are all one family, and we must treat ALL people with respect and love. This is something that is ingrained in the Hawaiian culture and is still very much alive today.”
Legalizing gay marriage would be a wonderful Christmas present for Georgia, but we don’t stand a chance of getting it so soon. However, there are three states that could see gay marriage legalized by Christmas: New Mexico, Hawaii, and Illinois.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is arguing a case today before the New Mexico Supreme Court regarding marriage certificates issued to gay couples earlier this year. Eight county clerks in New Mexico took it upon themselves to issue marriage certificates to gay couples and now the ACLU is asking New Mexico’s highest court if their unions are legal.
New Mexico is a state to watch because it doesn’t have a constitutional gay marriage ban and “its the only state where laws regulating marriages don’t have references to specific genders,” the Washington Post reported. Marriage equality advocates believe that this unique set of circumstances will allow them to soon realize success.
So, what is New Mexico’s chance for success? They’ve got a good chance of getting a positive court decision; however, their chances aren’t quite as good as Hawaii’s.
Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie
Further west in Hawaii a special legislative session is planned so legislators can debate and actually vote on a same-sex marriage bill. The special session was called by Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie and starts next Monday. Hawaii’s Governor is a Democrat and its House and Senate are controlled by the Democrats. Governor Abercrombie supports the legislation and gay marriage advocates believe Hawaii will be the 15th state to legalize gay marriage. Michael Golojuch, president of the GLBT Caucus of the Hawaii Democratic Party told Hawaii News Now, “It’s not if we win — it’s how big we win.”
Hawaii’s chances? They’re great! This is a state to watch closely next week.
Marriage equality supporters back East in Illinois are once again urging lawmakers to approve gay marriage. Advocates this week marched around the Capitol in Springfield and rallied with speeches from U. S. Senator Dick Durbin and Illinois’ Governor Pat Quinn. The Illinois Senate previously passed legislation legalizing gay marriage; however, the bill failed in its House. Marriage equality advocates hope that enough representatives in the House will support the legislation during their fall session.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
Giving hope to Illinois’ marriage equality supporters is Governor Pat Quinn who not only rallied in support of gay marriage, but also publicly promised to sign the legislation if passed by the House and Senate. Yet, the success of gay marriage legislation in Illinois is completely dependent on timing. “Lawmakers will start filing re-election paperwork at the end of November, so casting a vote for gay marriage now would leave a month or so for challengers opposed to it to gather enough signatures to get on the March primary election ballot. That’s left some lawmakers pushing to delay a vote until after January, when they will know who they are running against,” the Chicago Tribune explained.
Will Illinois see marriage equality before Christmas? Probably not.
Even Chris Christie couldn’t stop gay marriage in New Jersey… and it wasn’t from a lack of trying. Christie attempted to block gay marriage from coming to the Garden State; however, “the state’s Supreme Court denied Christie’s attempt to block the weddings and suggested that he will have a difficult time winning an appeal of the lower-court ruling that allowed them,” the New York Times said Friday.
Last month FENUXE reported that Judge Mary Jacobson of the Mercer County Superior Court opened the door for marriage equality in New Jersey when she wrote in a decision: “This unequal treatment requires that New Jersey extend civil marriage to same-sex couples to satisfy equal protection guarantees of the New Jersey Constitution as interpreted by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis. Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.” Judge Jacobson picked October 21st for the start of gay marriage in New Jersey which prompted Christie to seek a stay in court.
Technically, New Jersey’s Supreme Court only ruled on Christie’s request for a stay and not gay marriage as a right; however, the justices made it clear to Christie that they didn’t think his appeal would be successful. New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Stuart Rabner wrote: “The state has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today. The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative,” the New York Times published.
Current mayor of Newerk and Sentor-elect Cory Booker has promised to start conduct gay marriage ceremonies on Monday, October 21st starting at 12:01 a.m., the Huffington Post is reporting. That’s when gay marriage will officially be legal in New Jersey.
Booker was elected to the U.S. Senate to represent New Jersey in a special election on Wednesday night.
Chris Christie has given up the fight to keep gay marriage illegal in New Jersey. Last Friday New Jersey’s Supreme Court refused Christie’s request for a stay and hinted that his efforts to stop gay marriage would ultimately prove fruitless.
Today Christie said that disagreed with the court’s decision, but acknowledged the court “left no ambiguity” prompting him to drop his appeal.
Gay couples began marrying shortly after midnight on Monday. As promised, Senator-elect Cory Booker officiated weddings early Monday morning in the Garden State.
By D. David Kinney Gay marriage will soon be legal in New Jersey after a court decision from Judge Mary Jacobson of the Mercer County Superior Court on Friday. The Huffington Post is reporting that gay marriage will be legal in the garden state starting on October 21st.
Judge Jacobson wrote in her decision: “This unequal treatment requires that New Jersey extend civil marriage to same-sex couples to satisfy equal protection guarantees of the New Jersy Constitution as interpreted by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis. Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.”
Here is a copy of Judge Jacobson’s decision:
(Document may not be available on certain Apple devices due to Flash)
The United Kingdom is officially the 16th country to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. Queen Elizabeth signed off on the bill approved by the House of Commons and the House of Lords on Wednesday.
However, gay couples in England and Wales will have to wait until 2014 before they can say, “I do.” Once the bill goes into effect, “gay couples [will be able] to get married in both civil and religious ceremonies in England and Wales. It also will allow couples who had previously entered into a civil partnership to convert their relationship to a marriage,” according to the Huffington Post.
Despite concerns from conservatives, theTelegraph is reporting that, “the government hopes legalizing gay marriage will bring an overall boost to the economy, estimating that the change could bring in up to 14.4 million pounds a year for caterers, hotels, and the rest of the wedding industry.” This would be a real shot in the arm for the United Kingdom’s economy.
Late Friday a group called ProtectMarriage, who sponsored the 2008 ballot measure banning gay marriage, asked the California Supreme Court to order clerks to not give marriage licenses to same-sex couples stating that Governor Jerry Brown overstepped his authority when he ended enforcement of Proposition 8.
In the 50 page challenge, ProtectMarriage asked the court to act under a specific California constitutional provision that prohibits state officials from enforcing a law before an appellate court has determined whether or not the law is unconstitutional.
In this challenge they contend that “the end result will be to allow one federal district judge – empowered by state officials who openly advocated for and ceded to Proposition 8′s demise – to nullify a constitutional initiative approved by more than seven million voters.”
This new challenge is aimed right at Judge Vaughn R. Walker, the district judge of the United States Northern District of California. On April 25, 2011, supporters of Proposition 8 filed a motion in district court to vacate Judge Walker’s decision to overturn Proposition 8 citing that he was a homosexual man and was thus clearly biased. Fortunately, District Court Judge James Ware heard these arguments and denied it the very next day, writing “the presumption that Judge Walker, by virtue of being in a same-sex relationship, had a desire to be married that rendered him incapable of making an impartial decision, is as warrantless as the presumption that a female judge is incapable of being impartial in a case in which women seek legal relief.”
Fortunately, legal analysts have said that ProtectMarriage’s action is a long shot. According to UC Davis law professor Vikram Amar, “The California Supreme Court will likely stay out of this and say the scope of Judge Walker’s order is a matter for the federal courts to determine. State courts generally won’t get into the business of construing federal court orders. They leave that to the federal courts”
The Supreme Court of California meets on Wednesday to decide such matters, but could act any day of the week. The court could ask for written arguments or could simpy refuse to intervene.
Gay couples in California were issued legal marriage licenses from June 16, 2008 through November 5, 2008. They began issuing licenses again on June 28th of this year.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule tomorrow and it’s anyone’s guess which way the winds will blow. The Supreme Court justices don’t (always) vote predictably, so it’s kinda fun to try your hand at guessing.
After all, the nine individuals who comprise SCOTUS are actual human beings who come from a variety of backgrounds, both personal and political.
While no one can predict how each member will vote, here are some quick facts about each, as well as some of their responses during the Prop 8 and DOMA oral arguments, so you can take your best guess:
Chief Justice John Roberts: Conservative, encyclopedic knowledge of the law, flexible.
Concerning same-sex marriage: During hearings on DOMA, Roberts asked Ted Olson, the attorney in support of marriage equality: “You don’t doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same sex-marriage laws in different states is politically powerful, do you? As far as I can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case.”
Antonin Scalia: Conservative, inquisitive, BFFs with Ruth Bader Ginsberg (a liberal justice).
Concerning same-sex marriage: During hearings on DOMA, Scalia also addressed Olson, asking: “When did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage?” (Olson’s response: “When did it become unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriages?” Boom!)
Anthony Kennedy: Often the swing voter for tough decisions, sides more with liberals on gay issues, a libertarian idol.
Concerning same-sex marriage: During hearings on DOMA, the question on Kennedy’s mind was whether prohibitions on same-sex marriage are a form of gender discrimination, acknowledges an “immediate” legal harm to the children of same-sex couples who cannot be married.
Clarence Thomas: Most conservative justice, usually aligns with Justice Scalia, doesn’t speak much — especially to press.
Concerning same-sex marriage: Justice Thomas was characteristically silent during the DOMA and Prop 8 oral arguments, but appeared to agree with the other conservative justices that the case should go forward.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Liberal, feisty, fan of gender equality.
Concerning same-sex marriage: Though quiet on the issue of marriage equality, Ginsburg has been quoted in the past: “If you’re writing a constitution today, are you going to look back at an 18th century model?”
Stephen Breyer: Mostly liberal, pragmatic, doesn’t interpret the constitution in absolute literal terms.
Concerning same-sex marriage: During oral arguments for Prop 8, Breyer dropped this bomb: “There are lots of people who get married who can’t have children. What is the justification for saying no gay marriage?”
Samuel Alito: Conservative with a liberal streak, the only dissenting opinion on the Westboro free speech ruling, usually aligns with Scalia.
Concerning same-sex marriage: During oral arguments for DOMA, Alita told Cooper: “You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of [gay marriage] which is newer than cell phones or the internet.”
Sonia Sotomayor: A newer justice, seen as liberal, normally votes with Ginsburg and Breyer.
Concerning same-sex marriage: During the oral arguments for DOMA, Sotomayor asked Cooper: “Can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them?”
Elena Kagan: Newest member, Ivy-Leaguer, served as policy adviser under Clinton.
Concerning same-sex marriage: To back up Justice Breyer on the ‘marriage is for having children’ argument, Kagan added: “I can just assure you, if both the woman and the man are over the age of fifty-five, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage.” (Bonus fact: No one on the bench is in a marriage that would allow for natural pro-creation.)
So it’s anyone’s guess really, but I’m sure you (just like the staff here at FENUXE) are hoping SCOTUS will settle this once and for all … and that the gavel will drop on the side of equality.
Berlin Sylvestre, Staff Writer and D. David Kinney, Digital Editor
The gay community is on pins and needles waiting for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to weigh in on two separate items that affect us deeply.
Today, let’s explore Proposition 8, which doesn’t just affect gay couples in California, but could also make for a historic ruling on marriage equality that affects the entire country. There’s a quick history leading up to where we are and, though it’s legal as all get-out, it doesn’t have to be so intellectually demanding.
Here’s the scoop:
In May of 2008, six separate couples in California brought a case before the state’s Supreme Court asking the court to rule on whether same-sex marriage was legal in The Golden State. After hearing the arguments, the court ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violated the state’s constitution. After all, there was no terminology in the constitution that excluded same-sex couples from marrying. One month later, gay couples were getting married.
This ruling was called: In re MARRIAGE CASES.
By November, though, an angered California electorate (which basically calls on the majority opinion of the public in order to change laws) proposed an amendment to the state constitution stating that marriage should be “between one man and one woman.”
This was Proposition 8.
Voters in California were asked to decide whether gays should be able to marry. If voters agreed that same-sex marriage was a legal right, gay couples in California could still legally wed. If voters wanted to make marriage strictly between one man and one woman, an amendment would be made to the state’s constitution to define marriage as such.
To the dismay of same-sex marriage supporters, 52 percent of Californians voted “yes” to Proposition 8 and the amendment was made.
More protests were held and the case went back to California’s supreme court in May of 2009. The court heard both sides of the argument and decided that though the amendment was constitutional, couples who married while same-sex marriage was legal could remain married under the eyes of the law.
This was Strauss v. Horton.
But supporters of same-sex marriage weren’t about to let it go. They took the case to the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and in August of 2010, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the U.S. Constitution’s fourteenth amendment, which deals with due process and equal protection clauses, had been violated. In other words, the act of not wanting something doesn’t make that “something” unconstitutional.
From here, it was up to the Ninth Circuit of Appeals (where appeals for California and eight other states are heard) to uphold Judge Walker’s verdict.
Though narrowly, the appeals court decided to uphold his decision, meaning gay marriage should be good to go in California.
However, the ruling was stayed (meaning, like it sounds, that it’s going nowhere) until a higher court decides its fate, which is where SCOTUS (may or may not) come into play.
This is Hollingsworth v. Perry … what we’re currently awaiting a ruling for.
So why wouldn’t SCOTUS check into the case? Believe it or not, the highest court in the land doesn’t always make time to squash the quibbling of lower courts. If the justices on the bench believe the matter has already been resolved in a sound, constitutional manner, then what more is there to say? There isn’t. The ruling of the lower courts will be upheld and put in place (which would rock for California).
If SCOTUS decides to weigh in on same sex marriage for California, it can go one of five ways. (We’ll rate them from best to worst.)
1) SCOTUS can strike down Prop 8 on the grounds that marriage is a constitutional right available to every American, granting all 50 states the right to marry. This would make Hollingsworth v. Perry a landmark case that would usher in dramatic change, similar to Brown v. Board of Education. Is the court ready to settle the matter once and for all?
2) SCOTUS can decide that a state cannot bar same-sex marriage if it already grants the same benefits to civil unions that it does to marriage. This would make gay marriage legal in the nine states that offer comprehensive civil union and domestic partnership laws.
3) SCOTUS could rule that Prop 8 is unconstitutional, but narrow the scope of their decision only to California — not the entire nation.
4) SCOTUS can dismiss the case on procedural ground arguing standing, meaning Judge Walker’s verdict in the lower court stands and that gays can marry in California. (Wanna go further? Usually a state’s governor or attorney general would defend state law in court. However, both the governor and attorney general in California refused to defend Prop 8. Therefore, the Court could easily rule that the private group suing to defend the law doesn’t have proper standing to sue.)
5) SCOTUS can decide that same-sex marriage is not protected by the U.S. Constitution. This would severely set back the marriage equality movement. The Court’s decision would take precedent, making it much harder to get rid a state’s constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
And that’s, folks, is Hollingsworth v. Perry (or “the Prop 8 case”) that we’re waiting on The Supreme Court of the United States to rule on …
… any … minute … now.
In the meantime, check out this uplifting video and cross your fingers with us:
Marriage equality naysayers are slinging some pretty weird stuff our way in an attempt to sway public opinion on the matter — and potentially the Supreme Court’s decision, due any day now.
Since we’re playing the Bible game, maybe we should examine what else the text has to say about it. Here are a few passages we grabbed from the New American Standard Bible, just to keep it homegrown:
Deuteronomy 22:28 – “If a man find a damsel that is a virgin that is not betrothed and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found, then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife.” (In other words, if a guy sleeps with a virgin, he’s got to pay her dad some dowry and marry the lady! I wonder if the government should make sure the bride-to-be checks out a virgin … if we’re playin’ by Biblical rules, I mean. But what if she isn’t a virgin?)
Deuteronomy 22:20 – “But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel, then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death.” (Holy … cow. If a man’s betrothed isn’t a virgin, you yank her outta Dad’s house and let a gang of dudes throw rocks at her until she’s dead! Bible, you scary!)
Deuteronomy 25:5-10 – “If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married unto a stranger. Her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her.” (Right. So if your sister’s husband died, you’d better be ready to man up with your sister-in-law. Sucks when that happens! And it happens all the time, right? Because we’re playing by the rules, right?)
2 Samuel 12:8 – “I also gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your care, and I gave you the house of Israel and Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added to you many more things like these!” (Wives? As in … more than one? Is this a traditional marriage?)
Ezra 10:2 – “And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said unto Ezra, ‘We have trespassed against our God, and have married foreign women of the peoples of the land: yet now there is hope for Israel concerning this thing.’” (D’oh! That speaks directly to interracial couples. That passage was used on the constant in Loving v. Virgina, the supreme court case involving a white man fighting for the right to stay legally married to his African-American wife. Are we going to undo those rights?)
Mark 10:11-12 – “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” (So if you divorce your wife and marry another, you’re committing adultery? That’s a big one — it’s even in the Top 10! Good thing we have folks like Rush Limbaugh, currently on wife number four, letting Congress and the American people know that gays are in moral dissension.)
These are just a few that pertain to marriage, but are curiously left out of the “one man/one woman!” conversation.
How about some other strange things in The Good Book that most of us (Christian and otherwise) are guilty of?
1 Corinthians 14:34 – “Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak.” (Ouch!)
Exodus 31:14-15 – “Six days may work be done but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.” (I know a seven-day workweek is killer, but there’s really no need to execute someone for it. Or is there? We don’t make the rules.)
Leviticus 19:27 – “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” (I’m sorry, what?)
And yes, some of these are from the Old Testament.
Picking and choosing isn’t just for the things you aren’t Biblically guilty of doing.
So it’s fair to say that the arguments against gay marriage are … unfair. They leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the holiness of millions of Americans’ marriages and create a double standard that LGBT citizens are expected to live by.
Let’s just remember that we’re in the land of the free, whether it means the freedom to follow religious doctrine … or deciding that your life is free of religious doctrine.
The first same-sex ceremony in France has gone off without a hitch.
In the face of heavy (and sometimes violent) opposition to equal marriage — signed into law in early May 2013 — the French couple became the first gay couple to wed, and pulled it off in the beautiful southern city of Montpellier. The ceremony took place on May 29.
Vincent and Bruno Autin, 40 and 29 respectively, have been together for more than five years and plan to start a family right away.
In an interview with the L’Agence France-Presse, the couple stated that they were aware the ceremony could have had a negative public impact, but didn’t let that fact deter them.
“We will make this wedding an occasion for everyone. It will be public, open to all activists, to heads of French and international [gay lobby] groups, to the press,” Vincent told the AFP a day before the ceremony. “There will also be moments of love.”
Concerning a family, Vincent added:
“The law will allow that, but we’re very aware that we won’t have the child we both want right away. Mentalities have to change. And of course the path to adoption is long, even for straight people.”
Because of its large LGBT community, Montpellier is known as the “French San Francisco.”
French President Hollande signed the equal marriage proposal into law, making France the fourteenth country in the world to allow same-sex marriage. Opponents hoped that challenging the bill before the Constitutional Council would deter the legislation from passing, but after lengthy debates, the Council declared: “The law allowing same-sex marriage conforms with the constitution.”