Posts Tagged ‘gay marriage’

Victory for CA Families – Prop 8 Overturned (for now)

February 7, 2012

This afternoon, a federal appeals court found that Proposition 8 – the 2002 voter-approved ban on same sex marriage in California – is in violation of the U.S. Constitution.  The 2-1 ruling will have  little bearing on the struggle for same-sex equality in other states, however, because the ruling was based on the fact the freedom to marry a same-sex partner was – at one time – granted to Californians. The decision states:

“Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted.”

And further:

Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.” [Em. mine]

It’s been a long road for California on this issue, and no one believes that this ruling is the end of the line. In fact, yet another “stay” is expected to be placed on the ruling – preventing same-sex marriage while a third such ruling is appealed.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) condemns the ruling and doggedly vows to take the matter to the Supreme Court. Interestingly, NOM’s The Threat to Marriage page conatins absolutely no explanation of how same-sex marriage threatens marriage. Go figure.

Op-ed columnist Frank Bruni had a piece in the NY Times yesterday that gives a good perspecitive on this. He points to the policies of forward-thinking companies as an augur of times to come:

…same-sex marriage, enacted in New York last June and now under serious consideration in Maryland, Maine and New Jersey. It’s the future. And the response of corporate behemoths based in the state of Washington reflects that.

In addition to Starbucks, Microsoft and Amazon spoke up for same-sex marriage. All have surely taken note of several polls over the last year suggesting — for the first time — that a slight majority of Americans supports it. All have no doubt taken even greater note of a generational divide. In a Gallup poll, 70 percent of people in the 18-to-34 age range favored same-sex marriage…

More so than politicians, corporations play the long game, trying to engender loyalty for decades to come, and they’re famously fixated on consumers in their 20s and 30s.

Further info:

Prop 8 Trial Tracker – a project of the Courage Campaign Institute

Prop 8: The Musical – The 2009 classic. Still funny & compelling.

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What’s Uncle Sam Doing in My Marriage?

November 26, 2007

Art from NYTimes

Great op-ed in the Times this week examining “WHY do people — gay or straight — need the state’s permission to marry?” Columnist Stephanie Coontz notes:

For 16 centuries, Christianity…defined the validity of a marriage on the basis of a couple’s wishes. If two people claimed they had exchanged marital vows…the Catholic Church accepted that they were validly married.

In 1215, the church decreed that a “licit” marriage must take place in church. But people who married illictly had the same rights and obligations as a couple married in church: their children were legitimate; the wife had the same inheritance rights; the couple was subject to the same prohibitions against divorce.

Not until the 16th century did European states begin to require that marriages be performed under legal auspices. In part, this was an attempt to prevent unions between young adults whose parents opposed their match.

Fast-forward to the early part of the 20th century and the US state legislature begins making it illegal for whites to marry blacks, “mulattos,” Japanese, Chinese, Indians, “Mongolians,” “Malays” or Filipinos.

Twelve states would not issue a marriage license if one partner was a drunk, an addict or a “mental defect.” Eighteen states set barriers to remarriage after divorce.

In the mid-20th century, governments began to get out of the business of deciding which couples were “fit” to marry. Courts invalidated laws against interracial marriage, struck down other barriers and even extended marriage rights to prisoners.

She points out that being unmarried does little to absolve one from responsibility toward a partner or your children, but it does deny one the rights granted only by a government-sanctioned union.

Remind me again, whose rights are defended in the Defense of Marriage Act, and why is the government involved at all?

The American Anthropological Association release this statement on marriage in 2004 in response to Bush’s introduction of the D of M Act:

Statement on Marriage and the Family from the American Anthropological Association

Arlington, Virginia; The Executive Board of the American Anthropological Association, the world’s largest organization of anthropologists, the people who study culture, releases the following statement in response to President Bush’s call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage as a threat to civilization.

“The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that other civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.

The Executive Board of the American anthropological Association strongly opposes a constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples.”

Media may contact either of the names below: To discuss the AAA Statement please contact: Elizabeth M. Brumfiel, AAA President (847) 491-4564, office. To discuss anthropological research on marriage and family please contact: Roger Lancaster, Anthropologist, author, The Trouble with Nature: Sex in Science and Popular Culture , 2003 (202) 285-4241 cellular. [Emphasis original, links mine]

060607_bi_gaypanicex_2 Also check out Jacob Weisburg on SLATE in 2006, writing about the GOP’s “Gay Panic Button“. And the history of marriage on wiki.