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Religious Tolerance logo

Same-sex marriage (SSM) & civil unions

Media news during 2008

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  • 2008-MAR-03: USA: Focus on the Family Action raises fear of professional decertification: Maggie Gallagher is co-founder and president of the National Organization for Marriage. It is a conservative religious group whose goal is "protecting marriage and the faith communities that sustain it." The term "protecting marriage" is frequently used by religious and social conservatives to refer to actions taken to prevent same-sex couples from marrying. According to Focus on the Family Action, a fundamentalist Christian group, Gallagher said that gay activists want to change the definition of marriage because they say the traditional definition is irrational and bigoted.

    Gallagher is quoted as saying:

"What does that mean down the road, if the idea that our ideas about marriage and about sexual morality generally make us the exact equivalent of bigots? You can't have a professional license in this country you can't be a physician, a social worker, a teacher, a lawyer, a psychotherapist, a marriage counselor if you're openly racist."

Some might try to make the case that a person who is opposed to same-sex marriage is bigoted against homosexuals and bisexuals. It is not clear to us how this makes a person bigoted on the basis of race.

  • 2008-MAR-04: CA: Status of SSM: The state supreme court holds hearings today on whether the state constitution grants marriage equality -- i.e. equal marriage rights to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. The California Supreme Court will have to decide whether clauses in the state constitution guaranteeing equal treatment to all citizens and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender, or whether the existing marriage laws and a year 2000 Proposition 22 will be the deciding factors in granting or denying marriage equality to same-sex couples.

    Meanwhile, ProtectMarriage.com, a coalition of national, state and local groups, is conducting a petition drive as the first step towards amending the California constitution so that same-sex marriage would be made unconstitutional. They have until April to collect 1.1 million signatures in order to have the public vote in 2008-NOV. 2

  • 2008-MAY-17: CA: Supreme Court authorizes SSM: On 2008-MAY-14, by a 4 to 3 vote, the California Supreme Court determined that the California Constitution requires the legalization of same-sex marriage. California became the second state to do so, after Massachusetts. Same-sex couples began marrying on 2008-JUN-16. More information.

  • 2008-MAY-22: Ellen DeGeneres interviews Senator John McCain on SSM: Presumptive Republican candidate for the Presidency, John McCain was interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres on her TV show. He said that he opposes a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. He reportedly also said:

    "Well, I think that marriage has a religious connotation in this society, in our culture, that makes it very difficult to disentangle from the civil aspects of marriage. And as a consequence it would be extraordinarily difficult and distracting to try to build a consensus around marriage for gays and lesbians. What we can do is form civil unions that provide all the civil rights that marriage entails to same sex couples. And that is something that I have consistently been in favor of. And I think that the vast majority of Americans don't want to see gay and lesbian couples discriminated against, when it comes to hospital visitations and so on."
    McCain appears to be unaware that civil unions in the few states where they are available, and same-sex marriage in Massachusetts and California only give same-sex couples a few hundred rights. Over a thousand rights and privileges given to all opposite-sex married couples by the Federal Government are denied same-sex couples.

    Ellen continued the interview with an apparent allusion to Rosa Parks and racist laws in Montgomery, AL. 3 She said: "We are all the same people, all of us. You're no different than I am. Our love is the same. When someone says, 'You can have a contract, and you'll still have insurance, and you'll get all that,' it sounds to me like saying, 'Well, you can sit there, you just can't sit there'."

    At the end of the interview, referring to her upcoming marriage to Portia de Rossi she asked McCain: "So, you'll walk me down the aisle?" He answered, sort of: "Touche." 4
  • 2008-JUL-29: MA: Bill to repeal racist law passes Legislature: The Massachusetts house voted 118 to 35 to repeal a 1913 racist law that was originally created in order to prevent interracial marriage to out of state couples. It has since been used to prevent out of state same-sex couples from marrying in Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill repealing the law. Same-sex couples who do not live in Massachusetts can now go to that state and marry. This is of particular interest to residents of New York state, whose state will recognize same-sex marriages contracted outside of New York. More info.

  • 2008-AUG-20: USA: Most newspapers accept same-sex wedding announcements: Six years ago, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) started its "Announcing Equality" campaign. It urged newspapers to run same-sex wedding announcements. At the time, only about 5% of daily newspapers allowed them. This has since risen to 72%. 5

  • 2008-OCT-10: CT: Court introduces SSM in Connecticut: The state Supreme Court ruled that the state's provision for civil unions did not give same-sex couples rights equal to opposite-sex married couples. Since the state constitution requires all citizens to be given equal protection under law, the majority of judges voted in favor of same-sex marriage. All loving, committed couples in Connecticut will be able to obtain marriage licenses as of 2008-OCT-28. 6 More details

    A newspaper online poll shows over 70% support among their readers for SSM. 7


  1. "Anthropologists Agree on Traditional Definition of Marriage," CitizenLink.com, 2008-MAR-03, at: http://www.citizenlink.org/
  2. Devon William, "Marriage on trial before the California Supreme Court," CitizenLink.com, 2008-MAR-03, at: http://www.citizenlink.org/
  3. Lisa Cozzens, "The Montgomery Bus Boycott," at: http://www.watson.org/
  4. Clarke Hamlin, "Ellen presses John McCain on marriage " Gay.com/PlanetOut, 2008-MAY-22, at: http://www.gay.com/
  5. "More than 1,000 newspapers accept gay wedding announcements," CitizenLink.com, 2008-AUG-20, at: http://www.citizenlink.org/
  6. Mark Spencer, et al., "High court grants marriage rights for same-sex couples," Hartford Courant, 2008-OCT-10, at: http://www.courant.com/
  7. "Same-sex Marriage in Connecticut?," Hartford Courant, 2008-OCT-13, at: http://www.courant.com/

Site navigation: Home page > Homosexuality > Same sex marriage > News > here

Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2008-AUG-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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