Four years ago this week, Connecticut became the second state to allow same-sex couples to legally marry. Since then, four states — plus the District of Columbia — have joined Connecticut and Massachusetts in ending marriage discrimination.
In the last four years, the momentum was palpable. But nothing provided quite the same jolt to the national consciousness and sense of momentum as last week’s Election Day. Marriage equality was on the ballot in four additional states and won.
With that four-state sweep in Maine, Maryland, Washington and Minnesota, the opponents of marriage equality lost their final talking point, putting to rest the last desperate argument that victories in courts and legislatures somehow are not legitimate and that only a vote of the people counts.
via Voters boost marriage equality movement – Courant.com.
Now that voters have approved marriage equality in three new states, the savvy tourism folks in Maine, Maryland and Washington are wasting little time in rolling out their red carpets to gay and lesbian nuptial-planning couples.
And no wonder: A study released Monday by the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law suggests that same-sex weddings in the states could generate more than $166 million in revenue over the next three years, with $88.5 million coming from WA, $62.5 million from MD, and $15.5 million coming from ME
via Md In MD? Becoming We In ME? Let The Gay Wedding Destination Duke-Out Begin | GayCities Blog.
Three states — Maine, Maryland and Washington — became the first to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote, and the national trend toward full implementation of same-sex marriage continues and, in fact, is likely to pick up momentum.
That is good for the country. We do not progress by relegating any segment of society to second-class status. We should celebrate with our gay and lesbian friends when they enter into committed relationships, just as we celebrate with our heterosexual friends when they get married.
More people are understanding that marriage is a civil contract with the government giving a couple a series of specific rights under the law. There is no legal reason two consenting adults should be prohibited from entering into such a contract, regardless of gender.
And the marriage of my gay friends certainly does not threaten my 33-year marriage to my wife Veronica.
This can be a religious issue, and that’s understandable.
But churches forever have decided which marriages they would bless or deny. My wife and I were married in a Baptist church, but we would not have been able to have, say, a Catholic wedding or a Mormon wedding. Just as those denominations have a right to refuse to bless marriages of same-sex partners, they also have a right to refuse to bless marriages of those who aren’t members of their congregations (many other denominations follow the same practice; these are only examples).
via Same-sex marriage wins big on Tuesday, as the march toward equality continues (Joey Kennedy) | al.com.
Americans for the first time approved gay marriage at the ballot box on Tuesday, pointing to changing attitudes on the divisive issue.
In Maine and Maryland, voters approved ballot initiatives to begin allowing same-sex unions. Those wins mark a first for a cause that previously had been rejected by voters in more than 30 states, including as recently as 2009 in Maine.
And in Minnesota, where gay marriage already isn’t allowed, voters declined to back an initiative that would have enshrined in the state’s constitution a definition of marriage as only a union between a man and a woman.
In Washington state, where voters also weighed an initiative to legalize gay marriage, the vote count was expected to stretch for days. With about half of the precincts counted nearly 52% of voters supported the idea.
In Maine, campaigners for same-sex marriage said the win marked a turning point for their cause.
via Gay Marriage Makes Gains in States – WSJ.com.
“It’s unbelievable to me that people’s lives and relationships are literally being voted on in a matter of days,” Pitt wrote in an email sent to HRC members and posted on the HRC website. “In Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, voters will go to the polls to decide if gay and lesbian couples—our friends and neighbors—are worthy of the same protections as everyone else. But that’s the system we have and I’m not going to back down from the fight of loving and committed couples to have the ability to marry.”
via Brad Pitt Donates 100000 To Marriage Equality Campaign | E! Online.
Recently I visited Minnesota to meet folks involved in the same-sex marriage debate. I was inspired by the amount of energy that people were devoting to the cause, and to emphasizing dialogue and conversation instead of shouting and slogans.
One thing we’ve learned is that a lot of Minnesotans (and Marylanders, Washingtonians and Mainers) are sincere in supporting equal rights for gays and lesbians and simultaneously sincere in their misgivings about same-sex marriage. Yes, there are absolutely-sure people on both sides, but there are also a lot of people sincerely in the middle. If you’re one of those people, I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned as someone involved in this issue for several years now — and as someone who married my same-sex partner in New York a year ago.
First, I want to say that I get it. I know many people in the gay community who say that if you don’t support marriage equality, then you must be a bigot or a homophobe, but I know that that isn’t true. I know plenty of people who are sincerely concerned about the consequences of same-sex marriage for their communities and their values — and some of them are my friends. So this is not about bashing people who disagree. (Of course, it’s also true that there are some bigots and homophobes out there, too. But I’m not really speaking to them, because they’re not interested in what I have to say anyway!)
To those sincerely wrestling with this issue, I offer four points to consider.
Jay Michaelson: Straight Talk About Gay Marriage: 4 Points for Undecided Voters to Consider.
In a little more than a week, Maine voters will decide whether to reverse their 2009 ban on marriage equality. Will the New England state right a grievous wrong? Or will they once again leave their LGBT residents in the lurch? We gathered information on the latest polls, money raised, and advertisements for and against Question 1 to get a sense of the chances that marriage equality has in Maine.
First off, here’s how Question 1 appears on the ballot:
Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?
via Marriage Equality War in Maine By the Numbers | Advocate.com.
The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic charitable organization, has given $100,000 to Protect Marriage Maine, the group leading efforts to oppose same-sex marriage in Maine.
The money comes from the international offices of the group, according to a press release.
“I believe this gift will encourage many other Mainers to financially support our efforts to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” said Bob Emrich, chairman of Protect Marriage Maine. “We look forward to continued financial and grassroots support as the campaign gears up for its final phase of advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts prior to Nov. 6.”
Last week, the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, released a report that stated that 60 percent of the funding for the four anti-gay-marriage campaigns across the country had come from the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Church, or the National Organization for Marriage. Until this $100,000 gift, the Knights had given only about $1,000 to the Maine campaign and NOM had given $252,000.
via Knights of Columbus gives $100K to Maine anti-gay-marriage campaign | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME.
On Election Day 2012, four states, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington will all have marriage equality on their ballots. Maryland, Maine and Washington would be the first states to enact marriage equality through voter referendums. In Minnesota, the issue on the ballot is an anti-gay marriage equality constitutional amendment.
Many of the “religious liberty” or “religious freedom” arguments against same-sex marriage equality depict scenarios using threatening language:
“Homosexual couples will be banging down the doors of your local church demanding to be married in your sanctuaries if this legislation passes.”
This is just not true.
What is up for vote in states is civil marriage. A civil marriage is a legal contract within a state; it is not a religious marriage.
Pastors will still be able to perform, or not, ceremonies at their will. No pastor will be forced to marry anyone. Period. It is true today and, no matter what the vote is on November 6h, it will be true then as well.
via Same-sex marriage does not obstruct your religious liberty – LGBTQ Nation.
If you live for 80 years, Chuck Bennett told me, you see things you never imagined. Crazy, fantastical stuff.
A man on the moon. “Amazing,” he said.
The Soviet Union’s disintegration. “Also amazing.”
And on Nov. 6, if the polls are right and his hope is fulfilled, the people of Maine may pass a referendum for same-sex marriage, which no state has adopted by popular vote before.
“That’s equally amazing to me,” he said. Ten minutes later, he circled back to say it again. “I would like to reiterate how amazing it is.”
Bennett was born in 1932 and grew up in Brooklyn without anything but slurs and clinical terms to describe his attraction to other men. In the late 1950s, he was forced out of the Navy for being gay.
He never found a long-term romantic partner, thwarted in part by a disapproving society with no obvious role models for him, and he bought his dream house on the ocean here 15 years ago with two close friends, because he didn’t want to grow old alone and didn’t expect to meet anyone special, not so late in the game.
“You know that old saying, Born 50 years too soon?” he asked me. “I think I do feel something of that.”
via At Long Last, Dignity? – NYTimes.com.