Prop 8 Upheld, But Same-Sex Marriages Upheld as Well

May 26, 2009

And the battle will continue in California.

It was just announced that the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, though it also said that the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples married in California last year would continue to have their marriages legally recognized.

Here are the thoughts of Atticus Circle founder Anne Wynne on the decision:

“While we’re disappointed in the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage, we know this isn’t the final word in the debate over equal rights in California.

Recent victories for same-sex marriage rights in Iowa, Vermont, and Maine indicate to us that attitudes are evolving, and more and more people are beginning to understand LGBT couples deserve the same protections and rights that straight couples enjoy.

While the ruling disappoints us, we are glad that the Court decided to legally recognize the marriages of the estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who were allowed to legally marry in California last year. We are hopeful that more LGBT couples in California will someday be able to exercise the right to marry those they love.

As straight supporters of LGBT rights, we in Atticus Circle will continue to speak out in support of LGBT couples and families, who are just as deserving of the basic legal rights that straight couples and families receive through marriage.”

If you’re looking for an immediate action, there are rallies happening across the country — check out this wiki site for the rallies taking place in your state.


Proposition 8 Ruling to Be Issued Today

May 26, 2009

At 10 am Pacific Time today, the California Supreme Court is expected to rule on Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage ballot measure voted in by Californians last November, as well as on the legal status of the estimated 18,000 couples who were married in California last year, during the period in which same-sex marriage was legal in California. Experts observing the Court expect that, while Proposition 8 will be upheld, the same-sex marriages performed in 2008 will still be recognized by the state.

We’ll post an announcement on the blog as soon as the verdict comes in. No matter what happens today, there will still be more work to be done in forging ahead for LGBT rights.

Gay Marriage On Hold in New Hampshire

May 21, 2009

The latest news on same-sex marriage legalization in New Hampshire is disheartening — but as one supporter put it, merely a push of the pause button rather than the rewind button. As this news account details, a new version of the same-sex marriage bill — forwarded to satisfy concerns from Gov. John Lynch over protection for churches — failed by the slimmest of margins, 188-186. So while there’s hope that the House will reconvene on the issue and eventually deliver a bill that Lynch will sign into law, the issue is on hold for now.

Here, once again, is information on how to reach Gov. Lynch, to remind him of how many of us are invested in New Hampshire doing the right thing. And, since the decision is largely in the hands of the House, here’s how to reach out to Rep. Terie Norelli, the current New Hampshire Speaker of the House.

Let’s show them how many straight and LGBT alike want equality for all!

How Gay Marriage Can Boost the Economy

May 19, 2009

At Atticus Circle, we’re ultimately seeking equal rights for LGBT people everywhere. Yet we also find it helpful, in educating people about the need for LGBT rights, to point out the advantages for those states who stand for gay rights. In Texas, for example, we’re helping with efforts to help the state’s university systems offer competitive insurance benefits to LGBT partners of university employees. Part of the thinking there is that if Texas can’t be competitive with other states in the benefits it offers to all employees’ families, the more likely it is that talented employees will flee that university system for other systems that better serve employees’ families.

There’s some evidence of that now, forwarded along by our friends at Freedom to Marry, from the Williams Institute at UCLA. According to a just-published study, called “Marriage Equality and the Creative Class,” the state of Massachusetts has seen significant gains in its five years of allowing same-sex marriage. The study describes:

“clear economic gains for Massachusetts that have resulted from marriage equality. Massachusetts gained a competitive edge in attracting young, highly educated ‘creative class’ professionals who are in same-sex couples, according to one study. The second study confirms that the weddings of same-sex couples have given a significant boost to the state’s economy.”

The figure, according to the article, is in the neighborhood of $100 million.

So while we’d like for all states to eventually be equal in its acceptance of same-sex marriages and LGBT couples, states in the Northeast, in following Massachusetts’s lead on same-sex marriage policy, are certainly setting themselves up to do the smart thing as well as the right thing.

Gay Marriage: Progress In New York; New Setbacks In Maine

May 14, 2009

In case you missed it Tuesday night , the New York Assembly voted to approve same-sex marriage. Governor David Paterson has already endorsed the idea — the one stumbling block may be in the New York Senate, where Democrats hold a slight majority. In the meantime, this Newsday story describes a split in opinion on gay marriage, but the article also notes a swing toward same-sex marriage rights compared to last year, as well as a majority who favor civil unions.

Maine’s governor signed a bill on May 6 legalizing same-sex marriage,
but the law could be delayed or even voided by a possible statewide referendum if opponents to the bill gather enough support in coming weeks.

As more and more states approve gay marriage, we’re seeing a refreshing continuation in this year’s trend. We hope that this should embolden calls for similar measures across the nation. However, we must still be aware of the hurdles still existing on the path towards marriage equality. We must continue to show our support and work towards same-sex marriage!

Mother’s Day for all Moms

May 8, 2009

parent \ˈper-ənt\. noun.1 one that begets or brings forth offspring 2. a person who brings up and cares for another.

Take a look in the nearest Merriam-Webster dictionary and you will find that “parent” isn’t defined in gay or straight terms – a parent is simply someone who brings up and cares for another.  Sadly, our society discriminates between LGBT and straight parents.  Because same-sex couples cannot legally marry, they cannot function as equal parents out in the world like their straight counterparts.  Here are a few ways discrimination affects the lives of the families headed by same-sex couples:

  • If the parents were to separate, a parent could be completely denied access to the child.
  • The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act allow married couples up to 12 weeks off to care for a sick child or spouse. The law does not extend these protections to same-sex couples because they cannot legally marry. As a result, if a child were to become seriously ill, her parent may not be able to take the necessary time off from work to care for the child.
  • Same-sex couples are denied many of the financial benefits of being able to marry, creating a smaller economic pool from which families can draw for their basic living needs and inevitably impacting the standard of living of the child.

LGBT parents and their children are not equally protected under law. This is why Atticus Circle is introducing two new campaigns this spring: “All Mothers’ Day” and “All Fathers’ Day.”  We want to ensure that every parent in America receives the recognition, basic rights, and “the pursuit of happiness” he or she is promised.

Our “All Mothers’ Day /All Fathers’ Day” campaigns work like this:

1. Sign up on our website. After signing up, we will send you two emails. One will have our “All Mothers’ Day/All Fathers’ Day Toolkit” attached. The other will be a sample of the e-card you will send to your friends, family, co-workers, etc.

2. We will provide you with a link to contact your elected officials.  We will provide you with a sample letter to mail to your representatives expressing your support for All Mothers and All Fathers.

3. Don’t forget: Mother’s Day is May 10 and Father’s Day is June 21.

4. Sign up for All Mothers’ Day / All Father’s Day

And Now, We Have Five

May 6, 2009

A special shout out to Maine’s elected officials for recognizing marriage equality!

Maine now joins Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Our favorite quote, thus far, is from Evan Wolfson, “Couples that have made a personal commitment in life deserve an equal commitment under the law—and in Maine, that’s called marriage.”
We do have to stay alert and keep our friends in Maine educated and mobilized. A November ballot, similar to that of Prop 8 (CA), will attempt to over turn today’s victory.

Next victory . . .New Hampshire!