Entries in Proposition 8 (4)


Supreme Court to Hear Arguments Regarding Gay Marriage this Week

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments from both sides of the same sex marriage debate this week.

At issue are California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. Both prohibit same sex marriage, but public opinion seems to increasingly be in favor of gay marriage.

The big question is whether the Court will rule such bans unconstitutional nationwide or if it will leave the issue up to individual states to decide. Opponents of same sex marriage are against the issue being resolved in such a top-down manner by the courts rather than through elections, but most experts seem to think that the Court likely won’t go that far in its ruling.

“They see the wave developing in support of gay marriage. We've seen that develop now majority support in the country. It's moving very, very quickly,” said ABC Chief Political Correspondent George Stephanopoulos.

“They're not gonna wanna risk looking anachronistic …What they're likely to do is create the space for states to make their own decisions.”

California State Attorney General Kamila Harris believes that same sex marriage is about equality. “The majority of Americans believe it, the majority of Californians believe it, the majority of Catholics in this country believe it,” Harris said on CNN's State of the Union.

Austin Nimocks of the Alliance Defending Freedom disagrees with Harris’s assessment.

“We're talking about Californians going to the ballot box twice in a nine year period and voting to uphold marriage between one man and one woman,” he said on State of the Union. “That's our most fundamental right in this country is the right to vote and the right to participate in the political process.

The proponents of same sex marriage note that protecting the rights of minorities has traditionally been done by the courts rather through elections.

Evan Wolfson, President of the advocacy organization Freedom to Marry compared the current marriage debate to another similar case in the 1960's during an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation.  

“The Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry and 70 percent of the American people at that time were against inter-racial marriage. Fortunately, in America we don't put everything up to a vote.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marriage Equality: Too Much, Too Soon?

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This week, gay rights advocates will head to the Supreme Court to hear Theodore Olson, a lawyer opposing Prop 8, argue for marriage equality at the Supreme Court. Olson’s argument is as broad as can be, asking the court to recognize a right to gay marriage.

But many gay rights advocates, who have worked behind the scenes for years, initially disagreed with Olson’s strategy to take a challenge to a state ban (Prop 8, California) on gay marriage to the Supreme Court. They thought he was asking for too much too soon.

Last week Linda Greenhouse, who won a Pulitzer prize for her New York Times coverage of the Court, said Olson was right, that his lawsuit has in fact had the effect of “speeding and enhancing public understanding” and support for marriage equality. She says this is due in part to the fact that the lower court held a trial on the issue and gave people the time to think through the issues.

When asked about the early schism between gay rights advocates on a conference call last week, Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said the disagreement “is really water under the bridge.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


White House Brief Foreshadows Supreme Court Arguments on Gay Marriage

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House has asked the Supreme Court to strike down a main provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, but in the legal paper filed with the judiciary it may have signaled a wider push for same-sex marriage as a constitutional right on the horizon.

The Justice Department issued an amicus brief Friday urging the court to repeal Section 3 of DOMA when it hears a challenge to the act late next month. The portion bars the federal government from recognizing same sex marriages for health benefits, income tax purposes, and other issues.`

In 2011, President Obama announced the executive branch would cease upholding the 1996 law, although it remained on the books. Given that the Obama administration has been named a party to the case, the filing with the court does not come as a surprise, yet the equal protection issues covered in United States v. Windsor are relatively narrow in scope.

Instead, court watchers have been waiting to see whether the president would weigh in on a separate case involving gay marriage: California’s Proposition 8. The administration has until next week to decide whether to join other parties in challenging the ballot-approved state law, later overturned, that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. Friday’s brief could serve as hat-tip that the Justice Department is preparing for such a move.

Any ruling regarding Prop 8 would have sweeping ramifications over a much broader issue than DOMA: Whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees a fundamental right to gay marriage.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. is not required to file a so-called “friend of the court” brief in that, but sources say the administration is considering the possibility at the highest levels.

In an interview Wednesday with San Francisco’s ABC station, KGO-TV, Obama said his administration had yet to reach a decision.

“I have to make sure I’m not interjecting myself too much into this process, particularly when we’re not party to the case,” he told KGO-TV. “I can tell you, though, that obviously my personal view is that I think that same-sex couples should have the same rights and be treated like everybody else.”

Historically his administration has left such decisions to the states; the administration has not previously offered an official statement on Prop 8 because the federal government was not directly affected by it.

Although the California case and DOMA do not directly intertwine Friday’s brief does offer a window into the language likely to be employed by the Justice Department in Prop 8, should it become involved. The brief can be found at the well-established

“Gay and lesbian people are a minority group with limited political power,” reads the administration statement. “Although some of the harshest and most overt forms of discrimination against gay and lesbian people have receded, that progress has hardly been uniform (either temporally or geographically), and has in significant respects been the result of judicial enforcement of the Constitution, not political action.”

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has also filed a brief urging that the law be upheld, arguing gay-rights issues would be better left to the democratic process.

“Gays and lesbians are one of the most influential, best-connected, best-funded, and best-organized interest groups in modern politics, and have attained more legislative victories, political power, and popular favor in less time than virtually any other group in American history,” it says.

The House named itself a party to the case after the executive branch announced its decision to abandon the legislation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


House Democrats Protest California‚Äôs Proposition 8

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A collection of House Democrats are protesting silently against Proposition 8 Wednesday, participating in a photo shoot to draw attention to California’s state law banning same-sex marriage.

Wednesday the NOH8 campaign released images of 10 members of the House of Representatives from its “NOH8 on the Hill” photo shoot; the campaign opposes California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage, and supports the LGBT community with its stand against bullying and discrimination.

Four Democratic lawmakers from California -- Reps. Judy Chu, Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee and Jackie Speier -- joined Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), William Keating (Mass.), Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Niki Tsongas (Mass.), Jared Polis (Colo.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) in the cause.

“Equality before the law is an American value articulated in our Constitution and it’s at the heart of the NOH8 Campaign,” Polis, one of a handful of openly homosexual members of Congress, said. “With a focus on our nation’s value of freedom and an unflagging insistence on equality for all, we can look forward to a time when equal rights for all is a given.”

Earlier this month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling that California’s ban on same-sex marriage violates both the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution. That ruling, however, is pending further appeal.

The photo shoot, which occurred on Capitol Hill on Feb. 15, was open to any members of Congress willing to take a stand against the controversial law, although no Congressional Republicans participated.

Each member issued a statement explaining why they had the NOH8 logo applied to their face, along with a piece of silver duct tape covering up their mouths.

“Gay and lesbian Americans are part of the fabric that makes this country strong,” Blumenauer said. “The notion that we could ask these men and women to do everything from paying taxes to serving our country in uniform while denying them the right to marry is offensive to everything I believe in as a public servant. I won’t stop working for equal rights in Congress until they have been extended to every American.”

“These pictures speak volumes about the will of the American people to be treated the same, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation,” Chu stated.

Proposition 8 is the ballot initiative passed in 2008 to amend the California constitution and ban same-sex marriage. About 18,000 same-sex couples had already obtained marriage licenses in the state before voters approved the law.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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