Eighty-seven percent of constitutional law professors back marriage for same-sex couples, and 7 out of 10 believe the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but only a slight majority of 54% think the federal Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages. That’s the result of a survey of 485 constitutional law professors that I conducted this summer with the help of my indefatigable and indispensable research assistant, Minnesota 2L Samuel Light. In this post, I want to highlight some of the main results from the survey.
The survey was prompted by a comment from a pro-SSM law professor that the constitutional debate on the issue among scholars was over. According to him, there was no remaining doubt among specialists that recognition of SSM is required by the Constitution. I suspected this claim was too strong. Despite a common criticism, many constitutional law professors pride themselves on being able to separate their policy preferences from their constitutional views. (Whether they succeed in doing so is a different question.) So I wanted to test the hypothesis that the matter of same-sex marriage has been settled by asking professors themselves.
The survey was also prompted by the progress of some major cases challenging anti-SSM laws. One of the cases challenges California’s Prop 8; others take on the Defense of Marriage Act. These cases are teed up to reach the United States Supreme Court in the 2012 Term. (The Court will consider whether to take the Prop 8 case and at least one of the DOMA cases at its September 24 conference.) The cases don’t necessarily call for a comprehensive answer to the question whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, but that large question will definitely be in the background.
via The Volokh Conspiracy » Constitutional Law Professors: 87% Support Same-Sex Marriage, But Only 54% Believe It Is Constitutionally Mandated.
Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and 144 other House Democrats filed a brief on Friday arguing that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
The brief was filed in the case of Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian widow who sued the government after she was taxed more than $363,000 on assets that passed to her after the death of her wife in 2009 because the government did not recognize their marriage.
The two women first met in 1963 and were married in New York in 2007 after a more than 40-year engagement.
Windsor’s case has reached the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and been petitioned to the Supreme Court for review.
The brief dissects arguments made by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), instructed by House Republicans to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in court after the Obama administration refused to do so in February 2011, and argues that the Court of Appeals should uphold a New York District Court’s June ruling that DOMA violates the Constitution.
Pelosi was joined by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in signing the amicus brief, which voluntarily offers information to the court. According to the brief, there is no legitimate federal interest in denying same-sex couples the rights that come with marriage.
“It is impossible to believe that any legitimate federal interest is rationally served by depriving a widow like [Edie] Windsor of the marital deduction that allows married couples to pass property to the surviving spouse without penalty, thus maximizing the survivor’s financial well-being,” the document reads.
via Pelosi and 144 House Democrats File Brief Against DOMA – Poliglot.
At the Bagatelle Beach Club, DJ Roland Belmares spins a song while young people dance their Friday away. Cocktails flow as servers walk the area, ensuring no glass is empty.
It’s just another pool party in Las Vegas, ladies and gentlemen. Or is it?
This weekend, thousands of gay and lesbian visitors will gather in Las Vegas to celebrate at the Pride Las Vegas parade, festival and satellite events. Many of those tourists can be found at the Tropicana, home of Gay Days Las Vegas.
Gay tourism is on the rise in the city, propelled by word of mouth, new programming and targeted efforts by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
For its part, the travel board creates dedicated advertising campaigns aimed at the LGBT community that appear in gay media publications such as Curve and Out. A recent one features a stereotypical male-female couple standing in the middle of an all-male pool party under the phrase “Everyone’s welcome, even straight people.”
Kevin Bagger, senior director of marketing for the authority, said that in terms of popular gay tourist destinations, New York tops the list, while Las Vegas and San Francisco are tied for second.
“It is important to the LGBT market that the market they visit is welcoming and authentically so,” Bagger said. “You have to do more than just have a rainbow-colored logo.”
via Las Vegas tourism officials embracing value of LGBT dollars – Business – ReviewJournal.com.
The Democratic Party used the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week to make a nearly-united statement on LGBT issues, including marriage and military service. There was one dissenter, and he led the gathering’s closing prayer.
via The 15 Best Quotes About Gay Rights At The DNC.
Brendon Ayanbadejo, a linebacker for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, on Friday responded to a Maryland lawmaker who demanded that he “cease and desist” his support for marriage equality, and expressed surprise that a politician would try to stifle his free speech.
Last week, Maryland General Assembly Delegate Emmett C. Burns sent a letter to Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti, denouncing Ayanbadejo’s support of same-sex marriage, requesting that the Ravens “take the necessary action … to inhibit such expressions from your employees.”
Burns’ complaint is in response to Ayanbadejo’s ongoing support for marriage equality; last year, Ayanbadejo appeared in a video campaign of high profile Marylanders aimed at building support for same-sex marriage legislation in Maryland. The bill eventually passed in the state legislature, was signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, and will now be decided by voters in a ballot referendum on November 6.
In his letter, written on official Maryland House of Delegates stationary, Burns wrote:
“As a Delegate to the Maryland General Assembly and a Baltimore Ravens Football fan, I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo, would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player. Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or another. Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement. I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and stand clear of diving the fan base.
“I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise Owner, to inhibit such expressions for your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.”
via NFL player responds to lawmaker’s demand that he stops supporting marriage equality | San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.