Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
2013-MAR-01 to 14: Accelerating steps toward
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 2013-FEB
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, and has become a groundswell.
Why developments have peaked during 2013-MAR:
During February, many dozens of amici curiae (legal briefs) were submitted by the government, individuals, and groups to the U.S. Supreme Court concerning:
The constitutionality of the 2008 Proposition 8 in California: This citizen initiative terminated future same-sex marriages in the state; they had been legalized in May of the same year by the California Supreme Court. Prop 8. has been ruled unconstitutional by a California Division Court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court has agreed to review the case and make a final decision. The impact of the Court's decision will probably be limited to California and perhaps to any other state in the future in which a referendum had terminate SSMs. If the Court finds Prop. 8 to be constitutional, then a new citizen initiative to repeal Prop. 8 is inevitable. It will probably succeed because support for SSM in California currently exceeds 60%.
The constitutionality of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This law prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages that have been solemnized in the District of Columbia or in one of the nine states that have legalized SSM to date. Loving, committed same-sex married couples are cut off from 1,148 government benefits and protections for themselves and their children that opposite-sex couples enjoy. Two U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, and multiple federal Division Courts have also ruled that the act is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has accepted one of the lawsuits -- Windsor v. United States -- for a final ruling.
The Justices at the Court are scheduled to hear oral arguments on the cases on MAR-26 & 27.
Many political leaders, religious leaders, and advocacy groups have been advocating this month, both for and against SSM. In part, they may be trying to influence the thinking of the Court Justices on SSM. Two marches on the Supreme Court are planned. Rulings from the court are expected during late 2013-JUN. Like many previous rulings on moral and ethical topics, a split 5:4 decision is likely.
Developments during 2013-MAR toward marital equality and a lessening of discrimination against sexual minorities:
2013-MAR-02: BC, Canada: Proposed law school discriminates: The religious freedom of Christian conservatives has taken another hit. As is becoming increasingly common, it is not the religious freedom to hold unusual beliefs, to assemble with others, to proselytize, etc that is at stake. It is rather the new, emerging version of religious freedom: to discriminate against, denigrate, and oppress minorities. In this case, the victims are lesbians, gays and bisexuals. Trinity Western University (TWU) describes themselves as "... a Christian University of the arts, sciences, and professions." 1 The addition of a law school -- the first Christian law school in Canada -- is being considered. Opposition to its accreditation is based on the "Community in Covenant" contract which students must accept. It discriminates against lesbians, gays and some bisexuals, and would in particular appear to discriminate against same-sex married couples who came to the school as students. More details.
2013-MAR-07: USA: Bill Clinton wants DOMA to be declared unconstitutional: Former president Clinton wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post saying:
"On March 27, DOMA will come before the Supreme Court and the justices must decide whether it is consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional"
"As the President who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution. ..."
"Among other things, ... [married same-sex] couples cannot file their taxes jointly, take unpaid leave to care for a sick or injured spouse or receive equal family health and pension benefits as federal civilian employees.¬ Yet they pay taxes, contribute to their communities and, like all couples, aspire to live in committed, loving relationships, recognized and respected by our laws. ..."
"We have yet to celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, but a society that denied women the vote would seem to us now not unusual or old-fashioned, but alien. I believe that in 2013 DOMA and opposition to marriage equality are vestiges of just such an unfamiliar society. ..."
"We understand that, while our laws may at times lag behind our best natures, in the end they catch up to our core values." More details.
2013-MAR-12: CO: Legislature passed the Senate civil rights Bill #11: In a nearly party-line vote, three House committees and the full House passed a bill to legalize civil unions. Two female Republican representatives voted with the Democratic majority. Rep. Cheri Gerou, (R) who supported the bill said: "What this bill is about is personal freedom and individual liberties. This is a good conservative bill." Rep. Carole Murray said "Most important, as my upbringing has taught me, it‚s not for me to judge others, but to leave that up to God. While on earth, Jesus asked us to love one another. In this spirit, I will be a 'yes' vote." However, Rep. Lori Saine (R) probably expressed the beliefs of most Republican representatives. She said: "What this bill is about, really is the Bible. Is it right or wrong?" Governor John Hickenlooper (D) has promised to sign the bill into law. That would make 9 states with civil unions, and both the District of Columbia and 9 states with same-sex marriage (SSM). The U.S. is getting close to having a majority of states recognizing same-sex relationships. More details.
2012-MAR-12: A remarkable LifeWay poll found that most Americans believe that SSM is a civil rights issue and that SSM will inevitably come in every state.Lifeway Christian Resources is an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. Their poll showed that:
58% of adults believe that equal rights for homosexuals is a civil right like age, race and gender; 29% disagree; 12% have no opinion or didn't answer.
64% believe that SSM will inevitably be available across the U.S.; 23% disagree; 12% don't know or didn't answer. 2 More details.
2013-MAR-14: LGBT rights and immigration reform: According to the Christian Post:
"Prominent Hispanic organizations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) are backing provisions for gay couples in immigration reform talks."
However, as one might expect, Hispanic evangelicals want to separate the two issues. Noel Castellanos, CEO of the Christian Community Development Association, trying to include gay rights in immigration reform is too controversial. 3 They appear to want equal rights for heterosexuals within the Hispanic community, but to continue discrimination against the Hispanic LGBT community.