What's next?

For nationwide gay marriage, more battles ahead
Associated Press
Jun 26, 2013

Even as they celebrate a momentous legal victory, supporters of gay marriage already are anticipating a return trip to the Supreme Court in a few years, sensing that no other option but a broader court ruling will legalize same-sex unions in all 50 states.

In the meantime, as one gay-rights leader said, there will be "two Americas" — and a host of legal complications for many gay couples moving between them.

Wednesday's twin rulings from the high court will extend federal recognition to same-sex marriages in the states where they are legal, and will add California — the most populous state — to the 12 others in that category. That will mean about 30 percent of Americans live in states recognizing same-sex marriage.

But the court's rulings have no direct effect on the constitutional amendments in 29 states that limit marriage to heterosexual couples. In a handful of politically moderate states such as Oregon, Nevada and Colorado those amendments could be overturned by ballot measures, but that's considered highly unlikely in more conservative states.

"It would be inefficient to try to pick off 30 constitutional amendments one by one," said Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights group. "Eventually this will have to be settled by the Supreme Court."

The Human Rights Campaign's president, Chad Griffin, told supporters outside the Supreme Court building that the goal would be to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide within five years.

To sway the justices in such a time frame, activists plan a multipronged strategy. In addition to possible ballot measures in a few states, they hope lawmakers will legalize same-sex marriage in states which now offer civil unions to gay couples, notably New Jersey, Illinois and Hawaii.

There also will be advocacy efforts in more conservative states, ranging from expansion of anti-discrimination laws to possible litigation on behalf of sex-couples there who are denied state recognition even though they married legally in some other jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court's decisions "underscore the emergence of two Americas," Griffin said. "In one, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) citizens are nearing full equality. In the other, our community lacks even the most basic protections."

Jonathan Rauch, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, suggested that efforts to end that division would not be easy, given that many states have electorates that seem solidly opposed to gay marriage.

"The fight is far from over," Rauch wrote in a commentary. "By refusing to override those majorities, the court green-lighted the continuation, probably for a decade or more, of state-by-state battles over marriage."

In Florida, where voters approved a ban on gay marriage with 62 percent support in 2008, the gay-rights group Equality Florida called on its supporters to "get engaged and fight" for recognition of same-sex marriage.

The high court rulings "are a major step forward for the country, but for Floridians they fall far short of justice," said the group's executive director, Nadine Smith. "The Supreme Court has said we can go states like Minnesota or Iowa and get married, but we return to Florida legal strangers in our home state."

Florida State Rep. Joe Saunders, a Democrat from Orlando and one of the state's first openly gay lawmakers, said "every strategy is on the table" as activists ponder ways to eliminate the 2008 ban, including warnings of economic consequences.

"If 13 other states provide protections to gay and lesbian families, what does that mean for our ability to keep those families here in Florida?" he said. "Until we can promise them the same basic protections, we're going to be economically disadvantaged."

Increasingly, political swing states like Florida, as well as more solidly Republican states, could become gay-marriage battlegrounds.

One example of the forthcoming strategy: The American Civil Liberties Union announced Wednesday that it has hired Steve Schmidt, former communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee and adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to build support among GOP state politicians for striking down gay-marriage bans.

"For a full civil liberties victory, we need broad-based support from coast to coast," the ACLU's executive director, Anthony Romero, said.

On the conservative side, there was deep dismay over the Supreme Court rulings, but little indication of any new strategies or initiatives.

"The debate over marriage has only just begun," said Austin Nimocks, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which staunchly opposes same-sex marriage, called upon Americans "to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life."

Lee Badgett, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, predicted that the ruling on federal recognition would prompt thousands of gay couples to get married, now that there were additional financial incentives to so.

This group could include couples in states which don't recognize same-sex marriage but who are willing to travel to a state that does recognize such unions.

However, Rea Carey of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said many gay couples either would be hard pressed to afford such trips or would forgo them out of principle.

"Many people in this country, straight or gay, want to get married in their own state, their own backyard," she said.

While gay-rights activists pursue their ultimate goal of nationwide recognition of same-sex marriage, the short-term legal situation for many gay couples could be complicated.

Peter Sprigg of the conservative Family Research Council said the court ruling on federal recognition "raises as many questions as it answers."

"Will recognition be based on the law in the state where the marriage was celebrated or the state in which the couple resides?" he said. "The doors may now be wide open for whole new rounds of litigation."

The National Conference of State Legislatures said the situation was clear for married gay couples in the 13 states recognizing same-sex marriage: They will be eligible for all federal marriage benefits.

"Outside of these states, federal marriage benefits become more complicated, as many commonly thought-of federal benefits, such as jointly filing on federal income taxes, are tied to a married couple's place of residence," the conference said.

Gay-rights activists immediately began lobbying the Obama administration and other federal officials to extend as many benefits as possible on the basis of where a gay couple's wedding took place, not on the state where they live.

"The Obama administration can make clear, through regulation, that the federal government will recognize those marriages and not participate in state-sponsored discrimination," said Suzanne Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School.

Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, one of the groups most active in building support for same-sex marriage, urged the administration to adopt a "clear and consistent" standard that would apply equally to all married gay couples, regardless of their state of residence.

"Marriage should not flutter in and out like cellphone service," he said. "When it comes to federal programs, even if states are discriminating, the federal government should not."

Wolfson, like many of his allies, was already looking ahead to another rendezvous with the Supreme Court, confident that public support for same-sex marriage would continue to increase.

"We have the winning strategy," he said. "We win more states, we win more hearts and minds, and we go back to the Supreme Court in a matter of years, not decades, to win the freedom to marry nationwide."

___

Follow David Crary on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/craryap

 

Comments

JudgeMeNot

Hollywood libs will probaly make Brokeback Mountain into a tv show.

Raoul Duke

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights), Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc., and Remarks advocating illegal or violent actions.

Informed

Ignorant comment.

Free Man

looks like nasa slumbrook

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Strip the benefits out of a marriage that only married couples of any gender/orientation enjoy that single people (or even poly couples because that happens whether people know/like it or not) don't and there would be even less contention over the issue. If someone wants to have a "legal best friend" who is given first dibs to property and decisions for the other individual that is fine for them as per their contract. But they aside from forming a compact like a business partnership should have no more intrinsic advantage over any other citizen be they single or an informal couple.

The luxury of our first-world civilization has shifted the needs of the citizens to not have to worry about basic survival such as reproduction to continue the species which is why marriage as a social activity was encouraged and developed. Not that a marriage before had to lead to it, but in a day and time when you were lucky to live until 35 naturally you needed to reproduce ASAP to carry on the species and just as early man chose which animals to breed and crops to plant, so too did they try and choose mates.

Concepts of personal property, feelings of jealousy, and Abrahamic (and beyond) ideals spread across the lands reigning in civility from the quite literal throbbing masses as a way to show off one's wealth, stature, and ability to dedicate yourself to "only needing" one person. Which is fine, if that is what they want to do!

Similarly, it was attractive in days of yore to be fat as it proved you had wealth and the luxury known as leisure time. But, because fat is so abundant today it is considered a personal trait of being sloppy, easy, or lazy. There is nothing special nor ostentatious about it today since anyone can be fat. Not being fat (or being fat...ahem I like calling it being "well marbled") is a personal decision and one you can take pride in as you so desire. It is your lifestyle, goal, and desire.

So, too, in today's first-world-luxury-filled existence, to be married. I personally don't care who marries who, but I do mind if by that act they are privy to more advantages than a single or unwed couple as it isn't warranted nor punished if defied. For the most part we are no longer an agrarian society, thusly many of our individual and collective needs have changed.

There is a very, very good parable about this in the Bible: that being the story of Cain and Abel! It showcases how civilization advances and as it does the older ways and generations die off or are killed by it. Cain was a product of the dawning of metalworking while his brother were the old, prehistoric hunter-gatherers who lived solely off the land. As time and society progressed, the old ways died as the new were literally forged by the advancement of society.

Phew, this was a lot to post...maybe I'll take a break, but I think the point has been made? If nothing else it was good to vent.

Nemesis

Your first paragraph says it all - there shouldn't BE any government benefits associated with it. The proper decision would be to end civil marriage and let people contract whatever they want. Allow everyone one adult dependent regardless of the nature of the relationship.

shucks

For starters:
Cain was a farmer.
Abel was a shepherd.

- Genesis 4:2

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Yes, farming was an advancement of culture, technology, and civilization over hunter-gatherers which includes shepherds. The parable still stands as a lesson to us all about the old falling to the new, the societal shifts, and even the possible dangers and passions it incites. The simple ways of the proto-humans fell before the advances eras like the Bronze Age brought. Then so too did the story play again as Bronze led to other, more advanced ages.

When looked at in context, at what the symbolism and heart of the text is, there are actual lessons to learn that are still relevant today. So perhaps here in context of the news article (as to not get flagged for making meandering remarks) we see the story of Cain and Abel play out once more. Once more we are reminded of this passing and can mourn, contemplate, recuperate, or adapt to it to survive another cycle.

Blues

LOL... Whatta messed up way to look at life from mythology. Certainly it has some merit as far as telling stories to keep us all in line. BUT to reduce it to a few lines in/from one book. Damn, what a dismal world to live in.

shucks

Cain killed Abel out of anger.
Cain was angry because God did not accept his gift.

Read Genesis 4:3-8

shucks

Just read it.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Read and reread from my own personal copy of the Bible but still doesn't seem to detract from the point about this being a cautionary tale about societal change. Even disregarding Noddist lore which includes Adam's first wife (ironic given the ultimate topic) Lillith having existed, the fall from a culture of complete dependence and subjugation by God to one of independence remains. If I took the passages literally then God doesn't respect farmers. Which is nonsensical and the same mistake ardent unbelievers make. The Bible is a storytelling medium through which we are given suggestions and guidance from characters who have felt the same emotions we do now as that part of us has not changed, simply recalibrated for today's times.

shucks

"Even disregarding Noddist lore..."

So, the Book of Nod has more authority than the Bible?
...seriously?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Why would it have less? That point aside, what am I to take from this then? That the description of Cain and Abel is not a story chronicling the fall of early man and rise of modern man? That there is no storytelling in the Bible? Taking it literally would mean God abhors farmers and protects murderers.

What, then, is your interpretation of it since I am wrong?

thinkagain

With Adam and Eve we see the root of sin. With Cain and Abel we see the fruit of sin, in this case jealousy, led to murder.

The reasons for God’s rejection of Cain’s offering are known to Him and Him alone. It might be God foreshadowing the Old Testament sacrificial system which was to come. The beginning of forgiveness of sin through substitutionary atonement versus human merit. Culminating with the death of his own Son. When Jesus Christ died upon the cross, He became the substitutionary atonement for our sins.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Thanks, thinkagain, this is another way one can see the events play out or the purpose for the telling of this story. Biblical lore is a bit of a fascination of mine and I enjoy hearing others' takes on it! It could very well be a literally epic foreshadowing of things to come or a cautionary tale to mankind about what happens the further you remove yourself from God.

It is clear either way that it is proof that society, humankind itself, changes over time yet endures.

shucks

-The Hero Zone
Apparently you haven't asked yourself the hard questions about life and death and life after death, otherwise, you wouldn't regard the Bible as another fantasy book.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I very much have asked and answered those questions and will be happy to talk to you about them, however the comment section on this story will suffer as it is off-topic to the report. Also, let's be fair, I never called the Bible a fantasy book. I called it a medium through which stories about humanity were told...because it is.

Lessons learned through comparisons, examples, parables, and allegory. In every way I support it as something that should be read so others can form their own opinions and learn their own lessons from the tales within. Then they, too, can be as receptive, questioning, or hostile to it as they please. But at least they have read it.

If you feel I am incorrect in lauding the story of Cain and Abel as a great, Biblical telling of the rise of modern society and "next generation-ism", please correct me or share your own as thinkagain has done.

I am in the wrong business if I were to prejudge others' concepts or fascinations.

shucks

"Also, let's be fair, I never called the Bible a fantasy book. "

You unwittingly did and you've said it in other ways, but I'll just give this one example below:

ME..." So, the Book of Nod has more authority than the Bible?"
YOU.".Why would it have less?"

Why would it have less?... IT's PURE FANTASY!!!

To say The Book of Nod ( which is fantasy) has more authority than the Bible, is the same as calling the Bible fantasy.

shucks

That point aside,

I would like to know how you answered those hard questions.

Nobody cares if the the comment section on this story will suffer as it is off-topic to the report."

It's up to you if you want to continue with this dialogue.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I have answered them through observance of and participation in life. With others. Reading books, talking, doing things. Living. Opening myself up to questions and explanations. I have, as an example, on my shelf not only the Bible but the Book of Mormon, Lovecraft's Necronomicon (collected stories of the Cthulhu mythos), a book on the origin of Buddhism, various books on culture, and a healthy selection of pure fantasy as well. By learning about what is out there, by asking questions, I have come to a very spiritually sound point.

In fact so convinced am I that I advocate the reading of these pieces to others, including the Bible, as they contain valid points on existence, psyche, philosophy, and can alter one's life in significant ways. It would seem that you don't believe the fact that I am advocating the Bible as one valid source of reference for the emergence of humanity from the Fertile Crescent and explain, through story/example/metaphor, how we are the people we are today.

To bring the point back around, you deny my claim that the story of Cain and Abel is a parable the Bible presents about the fall of early man and the dawning of a new age of humanity (be it for better or worse). How am I wrong? Is it actually nothing more than a note on a page that "This guy was this guy, that guy was that guy. Then this happened. The end."? If so, you are doing the Bible a great disservice treating it as nothing more than minutes of a meeting instead of a symbolic work of literature.

shucks

How do you get to Heaven?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

That depends on which faith (or sect, honestly, because each are picky) to which you broadly subscribe. Regardless of that you reach heaven by completing that which you were meant to do with your life. Broadly asking a Christian, it would be through the acceptance of the teachings/beseeching of forgiveness from Jesus Christ. A broad sweep of Buddhists would tell you that knowing yourself wholly, and the easing of suffering brought on by our desires/passions so that there is no need to be reborn is the way to Heaven. One who follows Yog Sothothery will tell you that to awaken the Great Old Ones from their Slumber and welcome them at the gates of R'lyeh is the pinnacle of existence.

The beliefs are different but the conclusions are the same that you must meet your human potential and then open yourself up to something greater than humanity in order to complete yourself.

shucks

What about you?
Where are you going after death?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I fully intend to reach Heaven as defined above and work every day towards that goal. Life is more than an arrangement of chemicals and to only see yourself as that (which I am not saying YOU do, but it is a broad atheist belief) is, in my opinion, sad and incomplete. I do not intend to be a pile of chemical components when it is all said and done.

shucks

So what are you?
A Christian, Buddhist, a follower of Yog Sothothery ?

shucks

I believe too that our bodies are just stacks of atoms.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I am me. That is a pretty good summary. Student of the world. Observer of ways. Weaver of stories. There is no need, in my opinion, to limit oneself to one ideal. Why only celebrate Christmas when you can also enjoy Samhain? Why only observe Passover when Holi can be significant, meaningful, and educational too?

shucks

Your eyes will open and you will experience a whole new and wonderful world when you place your faith in Jesus.
(And it will be real.)

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I have (presuming we are generally talking about the same Jesus - Protestant Jesus? Or Catholic Jesus? Mormon Jesus? Jesus from the point of view from a Messianic Jew? Jesus as a prophet as described in the Quran?), how do you think I have come to these realizations? My eyes are opened quite widely as are my arms and thoughts to those teachings, but it isn't about just being able to see or even experience new worlds it is the ability to comprehend them, understand them. Even that isn't the end point. You then must be able to share, to pass down the story to others.

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