RECENT MEDIA NEWS ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGES (SSM) & CIVIL UNIONS:
2006-JAN-18: Current status of same-sex marriage in the U.S.:
Florida: A same sex couple who had been married in Massachusetts
challenged the federal Defense of Marriage Act by asking that their marriage be
recognized in Florida. They lost. U.S. District Judge James Moody ruled that the
government has a valid interest in banning same-sex marriage.
Louisiana: A decision by a state district court to negate the
constitutional amendment restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples was
overturned by the state Supreme Court.
Pennsylvania: A constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex
marriage is expected to be introduced into the state House in late January.Virginia:
The Senate Privileges and Elections Committee approved a constitutional
amendment restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples by a vote of 11 to 3. It
will shortly be debated in the state Senate. The state House passed the bill
earlier in January.
Alabama, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee: Voters in all
four states will vote on state constitutional amendments restricting marriage.
2006-FEB-26: Canada: Priests issue letter against Catholic teaching:
Nineteen priests from the dioceses of Montreal, Saint-Jean-Longueuil,
Gatineau and Gaspé in Quebec, Canada, issued a letter denouncing the Roman
Catholic Church's teaching on rejecting men with a homosexual orientation
for seminary training, and opposing same-sex marriage. It was published in
the French language newspaper La Press with the headline "Enough
is enough." The letter criticizes the Church teaching that homosexual
orientation is disordered; it suggests that this leads to homophobia and is
LifeSiteNews, a Roman Catholic pro-life group that
opposes equality in marriage, reported that:
"Canon Lawyer Peter Vere told LifeSiteNews.com that the situation is
now beyond local bishops and that the faithful should contact the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to express their concerns.
Noting that the story on the dissent has made international news, Vere
said, 'It's no longer just a scandal for a particular diocese. It is a
scandal for lay people who are legitimately confused by the antics of
these priests, who will likely mistake silence (on the part of the
bishops) for consent.' 'At this point I would encourage people to write
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) because it no
longer concerns priests or bishops but concerns a direct attack on the
faith and morals of the Catholic Church,' Vere added."
2006-APR public opinion polls: Peter D. Hart Research Associates conducted a poll in 2006-APR among
802 registered American voters. The margin of error is ~+mn~ 3.5 percentage points:
When asked "Would you support amending the Constitution to make it
unconstitutional for homosexual couples to get married anywhere in the U.S.
or should each state make its own laws on homosexual marriage?" Results were:
49%: Each state should make its own laws.
33%: Favor amending the U.S. Constitution
18%: Not sure.
When asked whether they agreed with the statement: "Regardless of how
I feel about gay people getting married, I have concerns about changing the
Constitution over this issue," results were:
46% strongly agreed
17% somewhat agreed,
11% somewhat disagreed,
21% strongly disagreed.
Political independents were 62% in agreement; Roman Catholics were 69%
and seniors 63%.
Support for SSM appears to be dropping even as support for civil unions is
increasing. Results for a poll in 2004-MAY and 2006-APR were:
Gay/lesbian couples should have the same right to marry
as men and women do.
Give civil unions or other legal rights to same-sex
Give no legal regulation to gay or lesbian couples
The Human Rights Campaign, a gay-positive human rights group, writes:
"Catholic voters are especially wary of the amendment. Majorities of
Catholic voters say states should make their own marriage laws (53
percent, while only 37 percent support the amendment). When asked about
the statement 'Marriage is
about love and commitment. Regardless of how I personally feel about gay people
getting married, I don't think it's my place to judge these people's love for
and commitment to each other,' an overwhelming 80 percent agreed."
"General political environment for gay issues is changing. In a similar survey
done by Hart in May 2004, only 40 percent of voters said it was very important
that we ensure gays and lesbians receive the same rights under law as other
Americans. In this poll, 51 percent said it was very important." That is an
unusually large change in 23 months. 4
2006-MAY-31: State United Methodist
Conference approves SSM: The Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church passed nine
petitions related to homosexuality. Victoria Rebeck, communications director
for the Conference said: "The biggest news is that we had a good,
respectful discussion of these very emotional issues and people really
listened to each other." The closest vote was a real squeaker: 358 to
356. It involved a petition to change the definition of marriage from "a
man and a woman" to "two adult persons," and to delete a sentence
supporting laws that define marriage as between a man and woman. The resolutions will be passed on to the 2008 General
Conference. 5More details.
2006-JUN-07: US: Federal Marriage Amendment resurfaces: The Federal Marriage Amendment
has reappeared in the Senate.
This would have been the first step that leading to the U.S. Constitution being
modified to prevent same-sex couples from marrying. If implemented, it would
be the first time that a discrimination clause would appear in the
Most observers expected that it would fail to reach the required 67 positive votes.
The Senate voted in 2004 on an identical bill; results were 50 in favor and
48 opposed. The vote in the house was 227 for and 186 against. Both were
short of the two-thirds majority required for passage.
The vote this time was essentially the same. The amendment will not
progress to the states. More details.
2006-JUN-10: Canada: This is the third anniversary of the 2003
decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal which legalized SSM in that
province. Since then, over 10,000 same-sex couples have been legally married
2006-JUN-19: Canada: Poll shows remarkable change in SSM acceptance:
The Environics Research Group poll indicates that Canadians are
increasingly accepting of same-sex marriage. They area also overwhelmingly
opposed to reopening the matter in Parliament, as has been proposed by the
ruling Conservative government. Poll results indicate that:
62% of Canadian adults consider SSM to be a settled matter;
27% want SSM reopened and debated once more in Parliament;
Only 38% of Conservative Party voters favored reopening the issue; 52%
59% agreed that same-sex couples should have the same right to civil
marriage as opposite-sex couples. 32% are opposed. That is close to a 2
to 1 ratio.
These are truly remarkably large and rapid changes since SSM became available
across Canada in 2005-OCT. 6,7More details.
2006-JUL-07: USA: NEA endorses same-sex marriage and civil unions:
The National Education Association voted overwhelmingly to endorse the
legalization of civil unions and same-sex marriages. The resolution modifies
Section B-10 of the NEA handbook which covers "Racism, Sexism, Sexual
Orientation and Gender Identification Discrimination." The NEA promotes the
elimination of discrimination based on "...race, gender, sexual orientation,
gender identification ...." The amendment reads:
"The Association also believes that these factors should not affect
the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally-recognized
domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage in regard to matters
involving the other partner, such as medical decisions, taxes,
inheritance, adoption, and immigration."
Jeralee Smith, a California teacher and past chairperson of the NEA
Ex-Gay Educators Caucus, announced that she is considering leaving the
NEA. She said:
"People who share our values, which is traditional family and a few
other things, can have no integrity unless they are either active on the
inside to try and change things, or they leave the union and take their
money out of the union's hands.... I just think it's time for Christians
to really pray about their relationship to the union and do some real
soul-searching on their loyalty."
After a heated debate, the delegates decided to replace the word "tolerance"
with "acceptance" in their policy statements. 8
2006-JUL-07: GA: Referendum upheld: A
referendum passed by 76% of the voters in 2004-NOV amended the state
constitution to forbid same-sex marriage. A trial court declared it to be
invalid in 2006-MAY. The reason given is that the wording violated the
single-subject rule. It addressed two topics -- marriage and civil unions --
about which voters may well have different opinions. But it allowed only a
single yes/no response. The
Georgia Supreme Court unanimously overturned the trial court ruling, and sustained the
amendment. Governor Perdue said:
"We don't do a referendum very often. But when we do a referendum
such as a Constitutional amendment, I think we need be very respectful
of the people's voice and listen to that. I think the Supreme Court has
done that and I'm very grateful for their action and their affirmation
of the people's voice in overturning the trial court's opinion."
"Perdue also said that he hopes gay Georgians do not feel
marginalized by the decision. He said they are free to work and live
their lives here they simply can not marry in the state of Georgia."
2006-JUL-07: NY: Court says right to marry does not exist: The
Court of Appeals in New York state heard arguments favoring marriage
equity in 2006-MAY. In July, they handed down their ruling. They found that
the state's "one-man, one-woman" definition of marriage did not violate the
constitutional rights of same-sex couples. They also stated than any changes
would have to be made by the legislature. Jay Weiser is a law professor at Baruch University who
helped write a brief in support of gay marriage for the New York City Bar
Association. He said that:
"New York's decision is a fairly narrow view of
what guarantees the state constitution provides.... So far, the
courts are mixed but the majority of cases have passed defense of
marriage or constitutional amendments barring same-sex marriages."
Alan Van Capelle, executive director of The Empire State
Pride Agenda, a New York state gay-positive civil liberties group, said:
"This community has never been handed anything for free.
I know that winning marriage will be a long battle ... and the gay
community has the stamina to win gay marriage in New York."
Glen Lavy, of the Alliance Defense Fund, an anti-gay legal
"I don't have a crystal ball. You don't know what the
rule is going to be, but I did not think the court was going to reverse
the decision because of how strong the lower court decisions were. We
keep hearing from the opponents to redefine marriage that they have a
clear legal trend moving their way. But really what we have is a clear
trend moving the other way. We only have one clear court that is an
outlier - and that's Massachusetts." 11
2006-JUL-26: WA: State supreme court finds
DOMA to be constitutional: The court decided by a vote of 6 to 3
that the state's Defense of Marriage Act does not violate the
Washington State Constitution. This decision overturns trial court decisions
in King and Thurston Superior Courts in this case. Justice Barbara Madsen
"...the legislature was entitled to believe that limiting
marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers the State's legitimate
interest in procreation and the well-being of children...[Our]
decision is not based on an independent determination of what we
believe that law should be. A judge's role when deciding a case...is
to measure the challenged law against the constitution and the cases
that have applied the constitution. Personal views must not
interfere with the judge's responsibility to decide cases as a judge
and not as a legislator." 11,12
2006-JUL-24: USA: Summary of SSM activities
during July: Cheryl Weinstein of the Washington Times (not to be
confused with the Washington Post) wrote that between JUL-06 and 14, "...a
federal appeals court, four state supreme courts and a state superior courts
issued rulings against homosexual plaintiffs..." who had hoped to be allowed
to marry and thus legally protect each other and their children. With the
Washington state Supreme Court decision above, this number of adverse
decisions is increased by one.
Brian Fahling, a lawyer with the American Family Association Center for
Law and Policy in Tupelo, MS, a conservative Christian legal defense
"The early success of homosexuals using the
courts to force their radical agenda on an unwilling nation appears to
be turning on them."
Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights
Campaign, a gay-rights organization, said:
"We knew the fight for marriage would never
be easy nor quick, but the country is on a clear trajectory toward
equality, and we must never give up until we reach that point."
Of the six recent rulings, the 8th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals' affirmation of Nebraska's marriage amendment has been most
reassuring to conservative lawyers.
The Nebraska amendment, passed in 2000, defined marriage as the union of
opposite-sex couples and outlawed recognition of homosexual unions.
On July 14, three judges of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the
anti-SSM amendment to Nebraska's constitution. They ruled that it and other
state marriage laws "...are rationally related to legitimate state
interests and therefore do not violate the Constitution of the United States."
Elsewhere, a superior court in Connecticut upheld state marriage laws, while
the supreme courts of Georgia and Tennessee upheld the validity of marriage
2006-AUG-18: USA: President approves
pension tax law: The Federal Pension Protection Act became law.
One part of the law allows the retirement plan benefits of a person who has
died to be transferred to their domestic partner's Individual Retirement
Account (IRA) without tax charges. A second part allows same-sex couples to
remove money from their retirement funds in the event of a medical or
financial emergency. Previously only married couples benefited from these
Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign said:
"Today marks an important day for fairness under the law in
America....In a challenging political climate, we persevered and helped
to secure critical federal protections that will make difficult times
for domestic partners a little easier." 14
Covenant News reported this news item as
two tax provisions that give "...special benefits to sodomites and
2006-AUG-24: South Africa: Cabinet approves
same-sex marriage bill: The cabinet has given the green light to a bill
that would legalize same-sex marriage in the country. If the bill becomes
law, it would make South Africa the first country in Africa to give same-sex
couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples. South Africa would be the
fifth country in the world to attain marriage equality, after Holland,
Belgium, Spain and Canada.
2006-AUG-30: AB: Same-sex marriage bill defeated in Legislature:
Conservative Member of the Alberta Legislature, Ted Morton, introduced Bill
208 which would have:
Allowed marriage commissioners in the province to refuse to marry
Granted parents the right to prevent their children from hearing
discussions in public schools on same-sex relationships.
Permit teachers to refuse to teach the curriculum topics about
For the second time, Liberal and New Democratic Party MLAs blocked the
bill from proceeding. It is now dead, at least for the current legislative
2006-OCT-07/08: South Africa: Catholic
Cardinal says constitution is anti-life: Cardinal Wilfrid Napier,
president of the Southern Africa Catholic Bishop's Conference
described South Africa's constitution as "fiercely
anti-life" because it permits the sale of contraception products, allows
abortion access and permits loving, committed
same-sex couples to marry. Denigrating the
relationships of loving, committed same-sex couples and of infertile
couples, he said that the
constitution is: "... against nature. It is against what marriage was
intended for - to have children. That kind of activity cannot bring life.
There is no way we can give a person the right to do something that is
morally wrong." Denigrating the beliefs of Agnostics, Atheists,
Buddhists, Humanists, and others, he said that: "Human beings cannot
function without a deity." He believes that people have not challenged
the constitution on these matters because such an action may be seen as unpatriotic,
undemocratic and/or racist. 16
2006-OCT-25: New Jersey:Supreme Court rules on same-sex
marriage: The state supreme court gave the
legislature two options: to pass legislation that allows same-sex couples to marry, or
create a system of domestic partnerships with the same state rights as marriage.
Although generally ignored by the media, the magnitude of this court decision
was immense. The seven justices voted unanimously
unanimously that equal rights must be granted to
same-sex couples. By a 7 to 0 vote, the court determined that the
state could no longer grant special rights to committed opposite-sex couples
while denying those same rights to committed same-sex couples.
The 4 to 3 split widely reported among the justices was on a different
matter: whether it:
"was the Court's right or the responsibility of the legislature to define
these equal partnerships as marriages. [The majority] ... decided that the
Court had the responsibility to mandate equality, but that the legislature
had the responsibility to name it." 17
2006-NOV-07: USA: Amendments to state constitutions to ban SSM:
Associated with the mid-term elections, there were constitutional amendments
and/or initiatives on the ballot affecting same-sex couples in:
Arizona: For the first time in the U.S., a ban against SSM failed by a
vote of 51% against and 49% for.
Colorado: A ban against SSM passed 56 to 44%; A domestic partnership
initiative failed 53 to 47%.
Idaho: A ban against SSM passed 63 to 37%
South Carolina: A ban against SSM passed 78 to 22%.
South Dakota: A ban against SSM passed narrowly, 52% to 48%.
Tennessee: A ban against SSM passed 81 to 19%.
Virginia: A ban against SSM passed 57 to 43%.
Wisconsin: A ban against SSM passed 59 to 41%.
Percentages are reported as of the evening of 2006-NOV-08, typically with
98% of precincts reporting.
Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task
Force, said: "What we're seeing is that fear-mongering around same-sex
marriage is fizzling out."
It is worth noting that in 1958, in a most ironically named case "Loving v. Virginia," an
inter-racial married couple was convicted of a felony under Virginia's
law in 1958 for the crime of being married to each other. They were
exiled from their home state for 25 years, which was cut short when the
U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling and allowed all loving,
committed inter-racial couples to marry. At the time, about 70% of
American adults favored a ban on inter-racial marriages -- not unlike
today's ratio on same-sex couples. 19
2006-NOV-21: Israel: Country must register
same-sex marriages: According to LifeSiteNews.com:
"In a decision sure to cause unrest in the Holy Land, the Israeli
High Court of Justice ruled today that homosexual 'marriages'
obtained in Canada must be registered by Israeli authorities. The
justices ruled 6-1 in the precedent setting case launched by
homosexual activist couples who 'married' in Toronto, Canada."
LifeSiteNews, a pro-Catholic group, does not recognize that same-sex
marriages are really marriages. So they enclose the word "marriage" in
2007-DEC-07: Canada: Motion to reopen SSM to debate failed:
Parliament voted on a motion to reopen the debate on SSM to debate which had
originally been approved during 2005-JUL. Since then, over 12,000 same-sex
couples had married. The motion was rejected 175 to 123.
A minority of 13 Liberal MPs voted against the motion, and neatly cancelled
out the 13 Conservative MPs who voted in favor.
According to Equal Marriage Canada, a gay-positive group:
The spread between equal marriage
supporters and opponents more than doubled compared to the vote on C-38
in 2005-JUN -- the bill that legalized SSM.
The percentage of MPs who voted for
marriage equality increased in each party.
No MPs who voted for bill C-38 voted in
favor of the motion. 21
Various commentators had predicted a spread of 30 to 40 votes. The actual
spread was 52! Some observers speculate that a dozen or more Liberals who are
religious and/or social conservatives had been expected to vote for the motion,
but actually voted against it for two reasons:
It respected the approximately 12,000 existing same-sex marriages made
since SSM became legal on 2005-JUN-20, and
It accepted the concept of civil unions for same-sex couples which would
have given them some or all of the benefits of marriage.
"Marriage victories across the nation," E-Alert, Massachusetts Family
John-Henry Westen, "Quebec Priests Bash
Church on Homosexuality - Real Problem is the Bishops, LifeSiteNews Publishes
All Names of Rebellious Priests," LifeSiteNews, 2006-FEB-27.
John-Henry Westen, "Quebec Priests Bash
Church on Homosexuality - Real Problem is the Bishops, LifeSiteNews Publishes
All Names of Rebellious Priests," LifeSiteNews, 2006-FEB-27.