Save Marriage Equality
Posted on October 21, 2008
Filed Under Gay News Blog
The past few months have witnessed notable successes in the civil rights struggle for marriage equality. Earlier this month, Connecticut’s Supreme Court struck down the state’s civil unions law, ruling that same-sex couples have the right to marry beginning on Oct. 28. “Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same-sex partner of their choice,” Justice Richard Palmer wrote for the majority. “To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.” Last month, New York’s Supreme Court dismissed right-wing challenges to a directive by Gov. David Paterson (D) ”that all state agencies recognize same-sex marriages performed outside New York.” Supporters of marriage equality are trying to keep up this progress in California, but are locked in a heated struggle with right-wing activists in California over Prop. 8, a ballot proposal to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. LGBT activist and Atlantic writer Andrew Sullivan has called defeating the referendum “the most important in the history of our civil rights struggle.” Help progress on marriage equality by supporting the No on 8 movement here. The Center for American Progress has also put together A Progressive California Voter Guide with information on all the state’s ballot measures.
FIRST STEPS: In May, California’s Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on gay marriage, making the state the second in the country with marriage equality. The court found that “an individual’s sexual orientation — like a person’s race or gender — does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.” Even before the Court reached this ruling, right-wing organizations were planning to go around the judiciary and get a gay marriage ban on the November ballot. However, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) — breaking with his preferred presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who supports the ban — immediately put out a statement saying that he was against any constitutional ban: “I respect the Court’s decision and as Governor, I will uphold its ruling. Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling.” Many supporters were hopeful that California would push the nation in a more progressive direction LGBT issues. Schwarzenegger, along with the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that they were confident that the ruling would boost the state’s economy. In August, the California Supreme Court also “barred doctors from invoking their religious beliefs as a reason to deny treatment to gays and lesbians, ruling that state law prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination extends to the medical profession.”
STOP PROP. 8: Prop. 8 has a very real chance of passing. A recent internal poll from the No on 8 campaign found that 47 percent of California voters support Prop. 8, while 43 percent oppose it. According to the newest financial data submitted by the two sides, “ProtectMarriage.com, which wants to ban same-sex marriage, had raised $25.4 million through Sept. 30, compared with $15.8 million for Equality California (noonprop8.com).” However, since Oct. 6, No on 8 has had a 9-to-1 edge in contributions. Approximately 40 percent of the money raised for the marriage ban since July has come from members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, has also donated more than $1 million. With time running out, however, No on 8 supporters have become more active. Last week, the California Teachers Association (CTA) donated $1 million to defeat the same-sex marriage ban. “For us, it’s a civil rights issue,” said CTA President David Sanchez. “We don’t believe people should be treated differently.” Ellen DeGeneres, who recently married her partner, actress Portia deRossi, has bought $100,000 of television airtime to urge Californians to save marriage equality. Other high-profile opponents of Prop. 8 include Google — which took the unusual step of coming out against the measure because of its “chilling and discriminatory effect” — and Vice President Cheney’s daughter, Mary Cheney.
RIGHT-WING SCARE TACTICS: Supporters of the marriage ban have been increasing their misleading ads and scare tactics in recent weeks. The most recent round of TV and radio ads warn that if voters don’t approve Prop. 8, “Churches could lose their tax exemption,” and “gay marriage taught in public schools.” Both of these claims are lies. “No church is at any risk of losing its tax-exempt status if it refuses to perform same-sex weddings,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California-Irvine. Even the manager for the Yes on 8 campaign has admitted that a chuch “would be very likely permitted to refuse to perform a gay wedding in the church with no risk to their tax exemption.” To support the claim that young children will be learning about gay marriage in public schools, Yes on 8 supporters point to a Massachusetts case in which parents sued a school when their children came home with a book concluding that families with two mothers were “just fine.” Massachusetts Superior Court judge Timothy Frawley ruled against the parents, but stated, “Current state law does not require school districts to teach anything about marriage or same-sex marriage at any grade level.”
This posting was automatically generated from a feed from Gay News Blog Read more….PFLAG Heralds Marriage Equality Decision in Connecticut, State Becomes 3rd in Country to Legalize Marriage Equality for Same-Sex Couples
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Marriage equality in California is now losing by 5 points ….