Entries in Gay Marriage (41)


Eric Holder: Gay Marriage Is the Next Civil Rights Issue

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has “evolved” on gay marriage, his administration opposes the federal law against it, and now, Attorney General Eric Holder says it’s the next big civil rights issue.

In an exclusive, wide-ranging interview on Wednesday, ABC’s Pierre Thomas asked Holder how the Justice Department will approach the U.S. Supreme Court challenge to California’s Prop. 8 marriage ban.

While Holder declined to hint whether his department would take sides by filing a brief in the case, Holder did address gay marriage as an issue.

“From my perspective, this is really the latest civil rights issue,” Holder told ABC News.  “It is the question of whether or not American citizens are going to be treated with equal protection of the laws.  And so with regard to Prop. 8, we’re in the process now of deciding what position we’re gonna take.”

In a February 2011 letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Holder announced the administration’s intention to drop its defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) ban on gay marriage -- a holdover from the last Justice Department, which had similarly sought to uphold the law.

The Justice Department’s move was seen as a victory for gay rights advocates, who had listed overturning DOMA among a handful of top priorities for the Obama administration since the president took office.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Illinois Senate Approves Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) -- Illinois lawmakers took a major step in legalizing same-sex marriage on Thursday when the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a bill that would sanction the unions.

The vote was 34 to 21 with two abstentions.

Although Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn said he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk, passing the measure in the House will likely be more problematic.

Currently, Illinois permits civil unions for both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

Catholic leaders in the state are vehemently opposed to any same-sex marriage legislation, arguing that the Bible says marriage is only between one man and one woman.

If the measure passes, the definition of marriage officially would be altered in state law from an act between a man and a woman to two people.

Illinois is trying to join nine other states and the District of Columbia that allow same-sex couples to wed.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ohio Catholic School Administrator Fired for Supporting Gay Marriage

Mike Moroski(CINCINNATI) -- An Ohio Catholic school administrator who was fired for supporting gay marriage on his personal blog says his faith is unshaken and he has no regrets for taking a stance on the issue.

"My point was I wish I had time to care who married each other but I don't," Mike Moroski, 34, told ABC News.

On Monday, the 12-year teaching veteran was fired from his job as dean of student life at Purcell Marian High School in Cincinnati for "public postings" that "directly contradict well-known teachings of the Catholic Church," according to a letter sent from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to students and parents.

Church officials said they would not comment on personnel issues but did provide ABC News with the letter.

Moroski, who is married to a woman, said he posted a quote on Facebook from President Obama's inauguration speech supporting marriage equality.  It sparked a public discussion with a friend who had an opposing view.

"My friend -- part of the reason I love him so much -- is we have extremely different views on a lot of things, even if we're both Catholic," Moroski said.

When Moroski started a personal blog in late January, he used the discussion as an inspiration for a post titled "Choose Your Battles."

"I unabashedly believe that gay people SHOULD be allowed to marry.  Ethically, morally and legally I believe this," he wrote on Jan. 27.  "Gay marriage is NOT something of which to be afraid."

The principal of Purcell Marian was made aware of the post on Jan. 31, and soon, Moroski said, word made its way to the archdiocese.

Moroski said he was given an ultimatum.

"They said, 'You take it down, recant your statements and agree to publicly not disparage the archdiocese,'" he said.

In order to keep his job, Moroski would also have to create an "action plan" for himself detailing how he planned to live with morality, he said.

"I really, really believe in my conscience and the morals I've developed in my lifetime in the Catholic Church," he said.  "I knew from the get-go I wasn't going to take [the post] down."

On Monday, he received a phone call telling him he was terminated.

"I definitely never thought I would lose my job over something like this," Moroski said.  "I have experienced God more in the past week than my entire life.  I feel like I'm on the right track."

Moroski said he isn't sure what's in store for him next, but he said he already misses his students.

"Because of the stance I'm taking, I can't be with them, but I hope they know I'm doing it to reinforce what I've taught for 12 years," he said.  "Be kind to everyone."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


National Cathedral to Officiate Same-Sex Marriages

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The wedding bells will chime in the 106-year-old Washington National Cathedral as Rev. Gary Hall affirmed that -- effective immediately -- same-sex weddings may be celebrated at the Cathedral of the Episcopal Church located in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C.

The National Cathedral has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors and held both celebrations and funerals for U.S. presidents past.

In August 2012, the church approved the ceremonial use of a rite adapted from an existing blessing ceremony to acknowledge same-sex marriage.  The Episcopal Church will be among the first to recognize marriage for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender couples.

“For more than 30 years, the Episcopal Church has prayed and studied to discern the evidence of God’s blessing in the lives of same-sex couples,” Rev. Gary Hall of the National Cathedral said in a statement Wednesday.  “We enthusiastically affirm each person as a beloved child of God -- and doing so means including the full participation of gays and lesbians in the life of this spiritual home for the nation.”

The District of Columbia and Maryland (as well as eight other states) have adopted the legality of civil marriage for same-sex couples.  The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, whose Episcopal Diocese of Washington includes D.C., as well as four counties in Maryland, decided this December to follow suit expanding the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples in her diocese as well.

But the decision to institute the same-sex rite at the Washington National Cathedral was ultimately made by Hall who serves as the Cathedral’s dean.

“In my 35 years of ordained ministry, some of the most personally inspiring work I have witnessed has been among gay and lesbian communities where I have served,” Hall said.

He continued, “I consider it a great honor to lead this Cathedral as it takes another historic step toward greater equality -- and I am pleased that this step follows the results made clear in this past November’s election, when three states voted to allow same-sex marriage.”

The same-sex weddings that will be conducted at the Cathedral will fulfill the same role as Christian marriages.  Eligibility to marry in the National Cathedral follows the protocol of the Christian faith.

At least one of the members in the couple must have been baptized and the couple must be active, contributing members of the congregation unless otherwise specified by the dean.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Gay Marine Proposes to Boyfriend at White House

Mike Tapscott / American Military Partner Association(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Matthew Phelps made history Saturday at the home of his commander in chief.

The 35-year-old active-duty officer proposed to his boyfriend, Ben Schock, 26, in the Grand Foyer of the White House at the end of a holiday tour.

It’s believed to be the first time two gay men have gotten engaged inside the White House, and a first for an active-duty member of the U.S. military.  A transgender man proposed to his partner in the East Room earlier this year.

“Our first date was to the White House, so I wanted to propose to him there,” Phelps told ABC News. “When I got invited to the holiday tour — six months to the day that we had been there on our first date — it was way too much of a coincidence to pass up.”

The moment, which Phelps described as a complete surprise to Schock, was captured on camera by fellow tour-goers. Some of the images have since gone viral online.

The White House declined to comment on the engagement. No word on whether the Obamas knew what happened in their halls.

Phelps said his public engagement — made possible in part because of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — has been well-received among his Marine Corps peers. But he noted that there could be a rocky road ahead for their relationship after the nuptials planned for next spring.

“The one thing that is overshadowing things,” he said, “is the fact that the Defense of Marriage Act is still in effect and the DOD [Defense Department] isn’t going to recognize our marriage.

“I’m expecting to get orders to Japan next summer, but as of right now, because they’re not going to recognize Ben as my spouse, they’re not going to pay for him to accompany me; he’s not going to have any health care coverage; and, he’s not going to have access to the base while I’m gone,” he said.

“I’d have to get permission to live out in town as a ‘single officer,’ so we’ll have to figure that out,” he said.

The Supreme Court will later this year review the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage for federal purposes as between one man and one woman.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Supreme Court to Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court Friday decided to take up two major cases regarding gay marriage, one of which could ultimately lead the court to decide whether there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage.

The justices announced that the court would hear a challenge to Proposition 8, the controversial California ballot initiative that passed in 2008 that restricted marriage to opposite-sex couples, as well as a challenge to a federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Check Out Same-Sex Marriage Status in the U.S. State By State

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down "Prop 8" in February, ruling that it "serves no purpose , and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California and to officially reclassify their relationship and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples."

It was a narrow ruling, specific to California and its history with Prop 8. The court did not reach the broader question of whether there was a fundamental right to gay marriage.

Supporters of Prop 8 are asking the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of that ruling. Gay marriages have been put on hold in California until the Supreme Court decides the issue. The cases will likely be argued in March.

Opponents of Prop 8 are represented by David Boies and Theodore Olson, two lawyers who argued on opposite sides in the historic Bush v. Gore case that resulted in Bush's election as president.

They contend in court briefs that the question about whether the states might discriminate against gay men and lesbians in the provision of marriage licenses could be the "defining civil rights issue of our time."

The court will also hear a challenge to a key section of a federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. At issue in this case is not whether there is a fundamental right to gay marriage, because the same-sex couples are legally married in states that allow gay marriage, but that the gay couples alone are denied federal benefits such as the Social Security survivor assistance.

Recent ABC News-Washington Post polls say that 51 percent of Americans support gay marriage, which is legal in nine states and the District of Columbia.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Washington Voters Approve Same-Sex Marriage

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- Washington State voters have joined Maryland and Maine in approving same-sex marriage referendums that were put on the ballot on Election Day.

The delay in the Washington outcome was due to the closeness of the vote.  It wasn’t until Thursday that opponents of Referendum 74 conceded they had lost.

Last February, Washington technically became the seventh state in the nation to permit gay and lesbian weddings after Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a measure passed by the Legislature into law.

At the time, Gregoire declared it was "a day that historians will mark as a milestone for equal rights."

However, same-sex marriage opponents managed to accrue 240,000 signatures to put the matter up for a vote.

Washington, which passed a Defense of Marriage Act in 1998, has been more open toward gay rights since then, instituting a Domestic Partnership law five years ago.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Faces Affirmative Action and Gay Marriage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- For anyone fearing that this Supreme Court term might lack the drama of the last one: fear not.

On Monday, for the first time since delivering the explosive health care decision last spring, the justices will take the bench and officially begin a new term.  On the docket is a major case regarding affirmative action to be argued in early October, and later in the fall the justices could also vote to hear cases on gay marriage and voting rights.

The justices have had the summer to recover from the grueling schedule of last spring, and the biting dissent from four of the conservative justices aimed at Chief Justice John Roberts, who voted to uphold the health care law as a tax the government has a constitutional power to levy.

Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas did not mince their words, writing that the majority's decision "amounts to vast judicial overreaching."

Over the summer, Scalia and Thomas refuted suggestions that their jurisprudential disagreements would lead to any personal rifts on the court.

"There are legal clashes on legal questions, but not personally," Scalia told CNN.  "The press likes to paint us as, you know, nine scorpions in a bottle we're all in.  That's just not the case at all."

During a talk at the National Archives, Thomas spoke more generally about the court and praised his colleagues.

"I've been there now through a number of members of the court," he said, "and in the years I have been there I honestly come away thinking that every member really wants to make it work."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NFL Punter Goes on Tirade for Gay Marriage

Tom Dahlin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is a professional at drop kicking footballs, and Friday he proved he could rhetorically do the same to a legislator who he said tried to trample the First Amendment rights of another player.

In a scathing, insult-laced letter, Kluwe berated Maryland Rep. Emmett Burns for trying to silence Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a vocal supporter of gay marriage.

“I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful c**kmonster,” Kluwe wrote, using a slang term for the male anatomy. “They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population.”

The letter from Kluwe, who punts footballs 50 yards every week, was a swift kick of sarcasm:  "You may want to hire an intern to help you with the longer words,” peppered with a colorful collection of insults -- “you also come across as a narcissistic fromunda stain,” condemning Burns for trying to prevent Ayanbadejo from standing up for “freedom.”

Last week Burns sent a letter asking Ravens owner Steve Biscoitti to force Ayanbadejo to keep his political opinions to himself.  Burns said the linebacker should “concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base,” which Burns claimed was “aghast and appalled” to learn that Ayanbadejo supported gay marriage.

“I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football Franchise owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employee and that he be ordered to cease and desist from such injurious actions,” Burns wrote to Biscoitti. "I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.”

That plea for silence was just enough to set Ayanbadejo’s fellow NFL player aflame. Kluwe took to the blogosphere, responding to Burns’ letter with his own, posted to Deadspin Friday.

“I find it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland’s state government,” Kluwe wrote. “Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level.”

The Vikings player goes on to call Burns “mind-boggingly stupid” for trying to strip his fellow NLF player of his First Amendment right to free speech. Kluwe points out that Burns, a Baptist minister, also enjoys the First Amendment right to religious freedom.

“To call that hypocritical would be to do a disservice to the word,” Kluwe wrote. “Mindf**king obscenely hypocritical starts to approach it a little bit.”

Kluwe said in the letter that he hopes his response makes Burns “reflect upon the magnitude of the colossal foot in mouth clusterf**k you so brazenly unleashed.”

“P.S.,” Kluwe concludes, “I’ve also been vocal as hell about the issue of gay marriage so you can take your ‘I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing’ and shove it in your close-minded, totally lacking in empathy piehole and choke on it. A**hole.”

Burns could not be reached for comment. His office voicemail box was full.

Read the full text of Kluwe’s letter here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Will Likely Be Finally Arbiter on California's Prop 8

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The hot button issue of same-sex marriage is headed to the Supreme Court.

After the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last spring struck down California's Proposition 8, which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, its proponents vowed to take the matter to the high court.

It happened Tuesday as Prop 8's sponsor, Protect Marriage, formally asked the Supreme Court to reject the two-to-one decision.  Attorney Andy Pugno said it shouldn't have been left to the appeals court to overturn the November 2008 vote approved by California voters.

Pugno told reporters, "We hope the court will take this case and take a good sober look at whether or not the Constitution requires same-sex marriage or whether this is something that the people in each state get to decide for themselves."

As it happens, the high court might get to determine the legality of same-sex marriages on state and federal levels by ruling on both Prop 8 and the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which the Obama administration has decided to no longer defend.

Gays and lesbians were allowed to marry in California briefly in 2008 and their unions are still considered legal.

However, the current ban is still in effect until the Supreme Court rules on the final appeal, probably before this time next year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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