Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2012-DEC: Accelerating steps toward same-sex
marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
We use the acronym "SSM" throughout this section to represent "same-sex marriage"
We use the acronym "LGBT" to refer to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. The acronym "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
See also the previous essay describing events during 2012-NOV
The Obama administration announced on 2011-FEB-23 that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. Some commentators predicted that this decision would generate a tipping point that will lead to a more rapid decline in discrimination against sexual minorities in the U.S.
One remarkable confirmation of this prediction occurred almost two years later on the evening of election day, 2012-NOV-06, when the results from four state referendums on same-sex marriage (SSM) became clear:
All four referendums resulted in SSM-positive decisions with a margin of about 5 to 6 percentage points. This compares to referendums which terminated SSM in California during 2008 and Maine during 2009 by about the same margin.
The momentum towards marriage equality continues.
Developments during the month toward marital equality and a lessening of discrimination against sexual minorities:
2012-DEC-05: Washington: SSM licenses available: Referendum 74 had been passed on election day, 2012-NOV-06. On DEC-05, Governor Chris Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the vote. It repeals a 2009 referendum and thereby enabled an earlier marriage equality law. It took effect at 12:01 AM Pacific time the next day. DEC-06.Â
All loving, committed Washington couples, who meet the requirements of the marriage act -- whether of the same gender or opposite gender -- were able to buy marriage licenses throughout the state starting on Thursday, 2012-DEC-06. Also, from DEC-06 onwards, couples who live in Washington state and who had been married elsewhere are now recognized as married in Washington.
There is a three day waiting period in Washington. Those couples who obtained their marriage licenses on DEC-06 will be able
to get married on Sunday, DEC-07. More details.
2012-DEC-06: Maryland: First licenses issued to same-sex couples: Governor Martin O'Malley certified the referendum results which allow same-sex couples to marry on or after 2013-JAN-01. Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler gave Circuit Court clerks the option of issuing postdated licenses starting the same day. Some same-sex couples picked up their marriage licenses on DEC-06. However, they have to wait until 2013-JAN-01, or afterwards, to actually marry. More details.
2012-DEC-06: New theory on cause of homosexuality: There have been lots of belief systems created to account for the cause of homosexual and bisexual orientation. Scientific studies all seem to point to some sort of genetic cause. Almost all religious conservatives point to an environmental cause such as parenting styles and sexual molestation during childhood. But the "gay gene" or collection of "gay genes" have never been identified. Also, overbearing mothers, distant fathers, and molestation never seem to correlate with a homosexual orientation. Now, scientists at the Working Group on Intragenomic Conflict at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) have proposed a new theory involving the science of epigenetics and the actions of epi-marks. The latter involve an extra layer of information that regulates the expression of genes during gestation. A malfunction in this system may end up with a feminized male fetus or a masculinized female fetus. The research team believes that the epi-marks can affect sexual orientation and/or gender identity after birth. More details.
DEC-07: California: The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) accepted the Prop. 8 case for review: SCOTUS met on DEC-07 and decided to to grant certiorari to the Prop. 8 case Hollingsworth v. Perry. The time line: Supreme Court of California ruled during 2008-MAY that loving, committed same-sex couples could marry. Prop. 8 was a referendum held on election day in 2008-NOV. It was narrowly passed by the voters, and terminated future SSMs in the state. Hollingsworth v. Perry was launched in federal District Court with the goal of having Prop. 8 declared unconstitutional. The District Court, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals, and the full Court of Appeals all agreed that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will hear the case during their 2012/2013 session, probably in the spring of 2013. A decision is expected about 2013-JUN. More details.
DEC-07: California: The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) accepted one of the federal Defense of Marriage (DOMA) lawsuits for review: DOMA prohibits the federal government from recognizing legal marriages solemnized according to state law if the couple is of the same gender. Legally married same-sex couples are thus denied about 1,140 federal government benefits, protections, and recognitions that are automatically given to opposite-sex couples. SCOTUS met on DEC-07 and decided to to grant certiorari to a DOMA case Windsor v. U.S. There are many other anti-DOMA lawsuits in federal court that are attempting to declare DOMA unconstitutional. The Northern New York District Court and in the 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals heard "Windsor;" both courts found Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional. That is the section that requires the federal government to discriminate against same-sex couples.
DEC-09: USA: ABC's "This Week" program discussed SSM: Conservative commentator George Will said of SCOTUS decision on DEC-07 about same-sex marriage:
"This decision by the Supreme Court came 31 days after an Election Day in which [the voters in] three states for the first time endorsed same-sex marriage at the ballot box -- never happened before -- Maine, Maryland, and the state of Washington.
Now, the question is, how will that influence the court? It could make them say itâ€™s not necessary for us to go here. They donâ€™t want to do what they did with abortion. The country was having a constructive accommodation on abortion, liberalizing abortion laws. The court yanked the subject out of democratic discourse and embittered the argument. They may say we donâ€™t want to do that, we can just let the democracy take care of this. 1,2
On the other hand, they could say itâ€™s now safe to look at this because there is something like an emerging consensus. Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying. Itâ€™s old people."
Also on that program, Republican strategist Mary Matalin said that unmarried heterosexuals with babies are:
"... irrefutably more problematic for our culture than homosexuals getting married." 1
Matthew Dowd of ABC said:
"To me, the consensus has already emerged on this issue. It's just a question of... is the Supreme Court going to catch up, or get ahead of it, or put a block in the path of it?" 5
DEC-08 (approx): Nanci Polosi said:
"I'm confident [that the U.S.] Supreme Court will discard DOMA and Prop 8 into the dustbin of history. Let's get this over with and on to the future!" 1
DEC-19: New Jersey: Bill to hold referendum on SSM: Assemblyperson Reed Gusciora (D) introduced bill S3611 to authorize a referendum on SSM. Most Democrats in the Senate and marriage-equality supporters are opposed to the bill because they believe on principle that same-sex marriage is a matter of civil rights . Thus it should not be subject to a public vote. There is currently heavy support for SSM in the state: on 2012-DEC-05, aPublic Policy Polling survey showed 53% support for and 36% opposition to SSM, a margin of 17 percentage points. The Legislature has until 2014-JAN to attempt to overturn the veto of Governor Chris Christie (R). More info.
DEC-20:Newt Gingrich (R) reverses stance on SSM: During his unsuccessful run for the presidential nomination for the Republican Party earlier in 2012, the former speaker of the House had said that:
"The effort to create alternatives to marriage between a man and a woman are perfectly natural pagan behaviors, but they are a fundamental violation of our civilization." 3
Also during the campaign, he promised to support the federal Defense of Marriage Act that prevents the Federal Government from extending marriage benefits and protections to legally married same-sex couples. He promised to promote a federal constitutional amendment to prohibit SSM across the entire U.S. However, after successful plebiscites in Maine, Maryland, and Washington State legalized SSM and a fourth referendum rejected a constitutional amendment in Minnesota that would have banned SSM, he seems to have concluded that a tipping point has been reached. He suggests that the debate over SSM has changed and that political conservatives have to come to terms with marriage equality. He said:
"It is in every family. It is in every community. The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to ... accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states â€" and it will be more after 2014 â€" gay relationships will be legal, period." 3
By "gay relationships" he apparently means same-sex marriages. Same-sex relationships are already legal and have been so since the 2003 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas.
Gingrich has been married to three women and divorced from two of them. He converted to Roman Catholicism and accepts his church's teaching that
same-sex couples cannot be married by clergy in his denomination. However, he now has no concern with same-sex couples entering into civil marriages. He said:
"I didnâ€™t think that [marriage equality] was inevitable 10 or 15 years ago, when we passed the Defense of Marriage Act. It didnâ€™t seem at the time to be anything like as big a wave of change as we are now seeing." 3
He is now concerned that his party could end up being on the wrong side of history if it continues in its current negative beliefs concerning SSM.
DEC-29: Maine: Same-sex couples planning marriages: Question 1, the referendum that was held on election day, 2012-NOV-06 legalized same-sex marriage with a margin of about 6 percentage points. Since Governor Governor Paul LePage (R) signed off on the results on NOV-29, marriage licenses will become available to same-sex couples 30 days later, on 2012-DEC-29. This is a Saturday, and it is not clear which town and city clerk offices will be open. Since there is no waiting period in the state, the first SSMs are expected to occur on DEC-29. More details.
DEC: Policymic predicted that:
"With seven states moving toward marriage equality in 2013, it is likely that marriage equality will be law in the majority of U.S. states by 2015." 6
The seven states are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.Â