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Movement toward same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.

2013-DEC: Accelerating steps towards
same-sex marriage (SSM), LGBT equality etc.
Hawaii, New Mexico, Utah, legalize SSM. Ohio
recognizes SSMs, but only on death certificates!
Review of 2013 activity: a very busy year!

Sponsored link.

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.

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See also the previous essay describing events during 2013-NOV

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  • 2013-DEC-02: Hawaii: Same-sex marriages began in the state with a few dozen marriages solemnized in the Sheradon Waikiki and in other locations elsewhere in the state just after midnight . There were no reports of protestors disturbing any of the events. A lawsuit is still active in the state court system to challenge the constitutionality of the SSM law. Although it has little chance of success, same-sex couples in the state who plan to get married might consider doing it sooner rather than later. In the past, Hawaii and other states have opened the window to same-sex marriages only to slam it shut unexpectedly a few hours, days, or months later.

  • 2013-DEC-03: Year-end review: Alan Greenblatt, writing for National Public Radio lists some of the advances towards LGBT equality during 2013 to date:
    • Ten years ago, same-sex marriage (SSM) was not allowed anywhere in the U.S. Prior to election day in 2012, marriage equality had been attained in six states and the District of Columbia. Close to year end, it been attained by 16 states plus DC. By Christmas, New Mexico and Utah made the total 18 states and DC. Finally, Ohio is in the unique position of not recognizing same-sex marriages by its residents who were legally solemnized out of state. However, when such a spouse dies, their death certificate will now record that they were married.

    • Perhaps the most important development during 2013 in terms of its long-term effect on LGBT equality was the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Windsor v. United States case in late June. This found that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional. The ruling had two effects:
      • It gave access to 1,138 federal government marriage programs to same-sex married couples that live in states where their marriage is recognized. These benefits and protections were previously accessible only to opposite-sex married couples.

      • It increased the pressure on state legislatures to allow same-sex couples to marry and obtain equal access to these benefits and protections for themselves and their children that were previously available only to opposite-sex married couples.

    • A second decision by the U,S, Supreme Court brought SSM back to California, the America's most populous state.

    • Greenblatt quotes:
      • Eric Marcus, author of Making Gay History who said: "This year represented the true tipping point. We've reached a moment in history where it's very difficult, if not impossible, to go back."

      • Fred Sainz, vice president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign said that 2013 has been "the gayest year in gay history."

      • Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights said: "To describe the events of the year as breathtaking is woefully inadequate." She credits millions of LGBT individuals coming out of the closet for the victories, saying: "It took the shape of a million different conversations that a newly out gay family member had with her [sic] parents or his [sic] siblings."

      • Film critic and cultural historian, Mark Harris, said: "With every state that has passed marriage equality, it becomes a little less of a headline and a little more an advance of a norm. Everybody feels like it's only going in one direction. ... The speed of our progress in the last several years has been almost unparalleled in American history in terms of a specific minority group's push for civil rights."

      • Jonathan Rauch, a resident scholar at the Brookings Institution, said: "Before Obama, it was possible to say that gay rights was a controversial but fringy concern. After Obama, it is agree or disagree, but gay rights is 100 percent mainstream."

    • President Obama has nearly doubled the number of openly gay federal judges and ambassadors.

    • President Obama described equal rights for the LGBT community as a civil rights battle in his second inaugural address. He referred to Stonewall, Selma and Seneca Falls in the same sentence as landmarks in the struggle for equal rights for gays, African Americans, and women. He said:

      "Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

    • Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) became the first openly gay senator in U.S. history.

    • The first gay professional athletes came out of the closet.

    • A Pew Research Center survey found that a sizeable majority American adults, including most opponents of SSM view legal SSM across the country as inevitable.

    • In March, another Pew poll showed that 70% of millennials -- persons aged 18 to 32 -- support SSM. 1,2

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  • 2013-DEC-03: One more topic for year end review: Current status of constitutions and laws in states that prohibit SSM:
    • 28 states have amended their state constitutions to prohibit SSMs. We expect that in the next few years, many such states will have these constitutional amendments repealed by the courts because they violate the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The results will be the legalization of SSMs in individual states.

    • 4 states prohibit SSM in state laws: Indiana. Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wyoming. We expect that many of these laws will be declared unconstitutional by the courts.

  • 2013-DEC-19: New Mexico: And then there were 17 states: As expected, the New Mexico Supreme Court issued its ruling on same-sex marriage in the state. The court unanimously ruled that the current state laws:
  • "... have the effect of precluding same-gender couples from marrying."

The court determined that this violates the equal protection guarantee embedded in the state constitution. New Mexico is the 17th state -- and the 18th political jurisdiction if one includes the District of Columbia -- to have attained marriage equality. More details.

  • 2013-DEC-20: Utah: And then there were 18 states: Federal judge Robert J. Shelby of the federal District Court for Utah issued a 53 page ruling declaring Amendment 3 to be unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 4 Amendment 3 had defined marriage as limited to one woman and one man. According to Wikipedia:

    "The ruling prevents the State from enforcing Sections 30-1-2 and 30-1-4.1 of the Utah Code and Article I, § 29 of the Utah Constitution to the extent these laws prohibit a person from marrying another person of the same sex. 5

    County offices were flooded with same-sex couples obtaining marriage licenses. In desperation, the state government attempted to stop the marriages by seeking stays to the District Court ruling from that court, from the 10th U.S. Court of Appeals and perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court. The state is also appealing the District Court ruling. More details

  • 2013-DEC-23: Ohio: The state recognizes many types of marriages in other states that it would not permit to be solemnized in Ohio. For example, Ohio will not marry first cousins, or a couple where one partner is not an adult. But if such a couple marry in another state which has relaxed requirements, Ohio automatically recognizes their marriage when they return. However, Ohio makes an exception for same-sex couples. They do not allow such marriages in Ohio and and do not recognize such marriages when solemnized out of state.

    A decision by a federal District Court has changed this situation slightly: Ohio will still not recognize same-sex marriages legally made in other states, but when a married same-sex spouse dies, their death certificate will now indicate that they were married. Ohio is the only state with this curious arrangement. The state has appealed this ruling. This situation raises the obvious question: if Ohio recognizes a person's same-sex marriage one second after they die, were they not also married one second before death? --- and one hour, one day, one year...? This is probably a temporary situation that will be resolved in the courts, either by having no recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages at all, or by automatically recognizing all same-sex marriages solemnized out of state, as is now done by Oregon and some other states. More details

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See events during 2014-JAN in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Alan Greenblatt, "How 2013 Became The Greatest Year In Gay Rights History," National Public Radio, 2013-DEC-03, at: http://www.npr.org/
  2. Liz Goodwin, "2013: A landmark year for gay rights," Yahoo News, 2013-DEC-02, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
  3. Lisa Keen, "NM Supreme Court: Marriage Equality A Reality for Same-Sex Couples," The Rainbow Times, 2013-DEC-19. at: http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/
  4. Text of "Kitchen et al v. Herbert et al," Scribd, 2013-DEC-20, at: http://www.scribd.com/
  5. "Utah Constitutional Amendment 3," Wikipedia, as on 2013-DEC-22, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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How you got here:

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM sub-menu > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM sub-menu > Tipping point > here

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Agenda & news > LGBT News > here

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2013-DEC-02
Latest update: 2013-DEC-29
Author: B.A. Robinson
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