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.

Defense of Marriage Act to Be Overturned? and More Recent News on Gay Marriage

February 6, 2009

There’s exciting news on the Defense of Marriage Act — and the possibility of it being overturned — we wanted to make sure you were aware.

There’s a good story here and the original brief here, both in the Los Angeles Times, details yesterday’s potentially landmark decision. From the lead of today’s article:

“Brad Levenson and Tony Sears spent Thursday fielding congratulatory calls from gay rights supporters around the nation for their success in getting a federal judge to call into question the legality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled earlier this week that Sears — who married Levenson, a deputy federal public defender, last July — is entitled to the same spousal benefits that heterosexual couples employed by the department receive.”

Though the ruling is not final, it potentially paves the way for the 1996 rule to be struck down in federal court for not meeting the Constitutionality test.

We’ve also run across a couple of other interesting updates on anti-gay marriage legislation over the last couple of weeks we wanted to share.

First, in California, Proposition 8 is awaiting a March 5 hearing in the California Supreme Court, to determine whether or not the recently-passed ban on gay marriage is constitutional. This Los Angeles Times story gives a good overview as to what might happen in the hearing, as well as what might happen to the couples who were married during the period in which LGBT couples were legally allowed to marry.

One of our favorite reporters, the Associated Press’s Lisa Leff, wrote this story, noting that if Proposition 8 is upheld, a proposition to overturn it could be voted on in California as early as 2010. While some gay rights advocates are concerned that its defeat could be seen as further reinforcement for LGBT discrimination, others feel that it should be put to the voters again, to allow Californians to stand up for LGBT equality.

And in Ohio, where anti-gay marriage legislation has been in effect since 2004, one church, as detailed in this story, has decided not to sign marriage licenses for straight couples until gay marriage is legal in the state, joining a growing number of churches making the same civil rights stand.

We believe that 2009 is going to be a crucial year in the fight for LGBT equality. Now more than ever, it’s important for straight allies to speak up for LGBT equality. While the continuing court debate on DOMA and the upcoming hearing on Proposition 8 will help us gauge where the courts are on discriminatory legislation, it’s up to us to help the nation gauge the importance of achieving LGBT equality, starting with this fundamental right to marry.