Entries in Same-Sex Marriage (37)


Boehner Won't Change Views on Same-Sex Marriage

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner says he cannot envision a situation where his views would shift away from his opposition to same-sex marriage, even if one of his children came out as gay.

The Ohio Republican made his comments during a pre-taped interview that aired Sunday on ABC's This Week shortly after Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced his support for same-sex marriage.

Portman acknowledged his change of heart came after his college-aged son, Will, told him and his wife that he was a homosexual.

Boehner told ABC's Martha Raddatz that while Portman is a close friend of his and that he respects his views, "I believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.  It’s what I grew up with.  It’s what I believe.  It’s what my church teaches me.  And I can’t imagine that position would ever change."

Most Republican public figures agree with Boehner, although there has been some shifting of views about same-sex marriage as a group of more than 100 people with connections to the GOP have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn California's Proposition 8, which bans gay and lesbian nuptials.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bill Clinton Says 'It's Time to Overturn' Gay Marriage Law He Signed

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for TRANS4M(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Bill Clinton is adding his name to the list of those who say the Supreme Court should overturn the federal law restricting marriage to one man and one woman. Seventeen years after he signed the law that did just that, Bill Clinton says the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, should be thrown out.

Clinton writes Thursday in a Washington Post op-ed that 1996 was "a very different time."   

He explains:

"In no state in the union was same-sex marriage recognized, much less available as a legal right, but some were moving in that direction. Washington, as a result, was swirling with all manner of possible responses, some quite draconian. As a bipartisan group of former senators stated in their March 1 amicus brief to the Supreme Court, many supporters of the bill known as DOMA believed that its passage 'would defuse a movement to enact a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which would have ended the debate for a generation or more.' It was under these circumstances that DOMA came to my desk, opposed by only 81 of the 535 members of Congress."

Today, gays and lesbians can marry in nine states and Washington, D.C.  To deprive them of rights under federal law, Clinton says, is discriminatory and "incompatible with our Constitution."

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on DOMA, and California's Proposition 8, later this month.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


President Obama Explains Legal Argument for Same-Sex Marriage

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama strongly suggested Friday that his interpretation of the Constitution does support a fundamental right to same-sex marriage, even if he didn’t put that argument in writing before the Supreme Court in a legal brief against California’s Proposition 8.

“What we’ve said is that same-sex couples are a group, a class that deserves heightened scrutiny, that the Supreme Court needs to ask the state why it’s doing it, and if the state doesn’t have a good reason it should be struck down,” Obama said Friday at an impromptu news conference in the White House briefing room. “That’s the core principle, as applied to this case.

“The court may decide that if it doesn’t apply in this case, it probably can’t apply in any case,” he said.  ”There is no good reason for it. … If I were on the court, that would probably be the view that I’d put forward.”

On Thursday, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to strike down the California ban on same-sex marriage but stopped short of calling for a fundamental right to marriage in every state under the Constitution.

The administration argued on paper that California’s Proposition 8 violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution, noting that the state extends all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage to gay and lesbians, but forbids them the designation of “marriage.”

The brief suggested that if the court were to agree with the administration’s position, gay marriage laws in seven other states could be in jeopardy. Those states – Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island – offer same-sex couples access to civil unions, which carry the same package of legal benefits as marriage without the name.

“The specific question presented before the court right now is whether Prop 8 and the California law is unconstitutional. And what we’ve done is we’ve put forward a basic principle which applies to all equal protection cases,” Obama said Friday.

“Whenever a particular group is being discriminated against, the court asks the question, what’s the rationale for this, and it better be a good reason, and if you don’t have a good reason we’re going to strike it down,” he said.   “When the Supreme Court essentially called the question by taking this case about California’s law, I didn’t feel like that was something that this administration could avoid.”

Experts say the administration’s legal argument to the Supreme Court on Prop 8 reflects Obama’s recognition that the court prefers to move incrementally on major social issues and is unlikely to approve of a sweeping 50-state solution at a time when 39 states still ban same-sex marriage.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


George Will: ‘Quite Literally, The Opposition to Gay Marriage Is Dying’

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- While Supreme Court watchers ponder how justices will come down in the debate over gay marriage, ABC’s George Will said Sunday on ABC News “This Week” it’s clear where public opinion is headed.

“There is something like an emerging consensus,” Will said, noting voters in three states recently endorsed same-sex marriage initiatives. “Quite literally, the opposition to gay marriage is dying.  It’s old people.”

Democratic strategist James Carville agreed the 2012 election marked a “profound” shift on the controversial issue.

“Look in Salt Lake City, the 12 Apostles.  The Mormon Church after the election says, well, ‘Maybe we’re going to change our position on homosexuality is a choice. You’re not born that way,’” he said. “I mean, the effects of an election reverberate all the way through society.”

On the table is a case challenging Proposition 8, the hot-button 2008 California ballot measure restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples. The Court will also hear a challenge to a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman said the Court’s decision to take on gay marriage could have a major impact on upcoming elections.

“It’s actually a positive [for Democrats],” Krugman said. “This is a significant bloc of voters that will make a decision based on which party they see as being favorable to equal rights.”

But Republican strategist Mary Matalin said there are other issues at play.

“There are important constitutional, biological, theological, ontological questions relative to homosexual marriage, but people who live in the real world say the greatest threat to civil order is heterosexuals who don’t get married and are making babies,” Matalin said.

“That’s an epidemic in crisis proportions. That is irrefutably more problematic for our culture than homosexuals getting married,” she added.

Currently, gay marriage is legal in just nine states and in the District of Columbia — but polls suggest support is growing. A recent ABC News-Washington Post poll found 51 percent of Americans support gay marriage, while a recent Pew poll shows national support at 48 percent — up from 35 percent in 2001.

“To me, the consensus has already emerged on this issue,” said ABC News’ Matthew Dowd. “It’s just a question of … is the Supreme Court going to catch up and follow that wind of the pack, or get ahead of it or put a block in the path of it?”

Watch George Will’s comments here:

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Decision to Hear Same-Sex Marriage Cases Reignites Debate

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock)(NEW YORK) -- The Supreme Court's announcement that it would hear two cases challenging laws prohibiting same-sex marriage has reinvigorated one of the most hotly contentious social debates in American history, a debate that has been fueled by a dramatic change in attitudes.

With some states taking significant steps towards legalizing gay marriage, the hearings come at a critical moment.

This week in Washington State, hundreds of same-sex couples lined up to collect marriage licenses after Gov. Christine Gregoire announced the passing of a voter-approved law legalizing gay marriage.

"For the past 20 years we've been saying just one more step. Just one more fight. Just one more law. But now we can stop saying 'Just one more.' This is it. We are here. We did it," Gregoire told a group of Referendum 74 supporters during the law's certification.

Washington is just the most recent of several states to pass legislation legalizing same-sex marriage, signifying a significant departure from previous thinking on the controversial subject.

A study by the Pew Research Center on changing attitudes on gay marriage showed that in 2001 57 percent of Americans opposed same-sex marriage, while 35 percent of Americans supported it.

The same poll shows that today opinions have greatly shifted to reflect slightly more support for same-sex marriage than opposition -- with 48 percent of Americans in favor and 43 percent opposed.

In fact, just two years ago, 48 percent of Americans opposed same-sex marriage while only 42 percent supported it -- indicating that opinions have changed dramatically in the last couple of years alone.

It's hard to imagine that only 16 years ago, the fervent gay marriage debate led to the conception of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union solely held between a man and a woman.

While debating the Defense of Marriage Act in September 1996, former Sen. Robert Byrd said: "If same-sex marriage is accepted, then the announcement will be official: America will have said that children do not need a mother and a father. Two mothers or two fathers will be OK. It'll be just as good. This would be a catastrophe."

Even a few short years ago a newly-elected President Obama did not support the legalization of gay marriage. It wasn't until earlier this year, at the end of his first term and with the impending election in sight that the president told ABC's Robin Roberts the he'd "been going through an evolution on this issue."

Obama went on to attribute his shift in stance to the influence of his daughters.

"You know, Malia and Sasha, they've got friends whose parents are same-sex couples. It wouldn't dawn on them that somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently," he said. "That's the kind of thing that prompts -- a change in perspective."

Obama isn't the only one to experience an evolution in thinking on the matter of gay marriage. Attitudes towards same-sex marriage have shifted dramatically over the past decade across the board, particularly in the past few years.

Gone are the days when a majority of people opposed same-sex marriage; the days when gay politicians and supporters of same-sex marriage could not get elected.

Today, nine states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex unions -- a number likely considered inconceivable just a few short years ago. And yet, the same-sex marriage debate still begs for the answering of a question: Will this newfound public opinion, largely driven by young people, women and Democrats, have an effect on the Supreme Court's ultimate decision on the matter?

"I think (gay marriage is) just not a big deal for a lot of young people," Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center says. "The justices are human beings so they're not completely immune to public opinion. ... I think the real question for them is going to be do they want to be on the wrong side of history?"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court to Decide Whether to Take Gay Marriage Case

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- When the nine Supreme Court justices retreat behind closed doors on Friday for their regularly scheduled conference, they will consider the issue of gay marriage and decide whether to take up a case that could ultimately determine whether there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage.

At issue is Proposition 8, the controversial 2008 California ballot initiative that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.  It passed with 52 percent of the vote.

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in February struck down "Prop 8," 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."

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 whether to step in and hear the case.

In court briefs, Charles J. Cooper, a lawyer for, the original sponsor of Prop 8, writes, "Californians of all races, creeds, and walks of life have opted to preserve the traditional definition of marriage not because they seek to dishonor gays and lesbians as a class, but because they believe that the traditional definition of marriage continues to meaningfully serve society's legitimate interests, and they cannot yet know how those interests will be affected by fundamentally redefining marriage."

Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who authored the Prop 8 decision, made clear that the court was ruling on the "narrowest grounds" specific to circumstances concerning the passage of Prop 8 and was leaving the more general question concerning whether under the Constitution same-sex couples "may ever be denied the right to marry" to be resolved "in other states" and by "other courts."

Opponents of Prop 8 are represented by David Boies, and Theodore Olson, two lawyers who argued on opposite sides in Bush v. Gore.

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."

They say that the Prop 8 case might be an "attractive vehicle for approaching, if not definitively resolving, that issue."

"By eliminating the right of individuals of the same sex to marry, Proposition 8 relegated same-sex couples seeking government recognition of their relationships to so-called 'domestic partnerships.'  Under California law, domestic partners are granted nearly all the substantive rights and obligations of a married couple, but are denied the venerated label of 'marriage' and all of the respect, recognition and public acceptance that goes with that institution," Boies and Olson say.

But because they won at the lower court, even though it was a narrow ruling, they have urged the Supreme Court not to take up the case.  In part, they argue, the court should decline the case because more review would delay the ability of their clients to marry in California.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan on Social Issues: Where Does He Stand?

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mitt Romney's pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate set off weekend-long debates about the young Wisconsin rep's fiscal policies, but less was said about his stance on social issues. Where does Romney's running mate stand on such issues as abortion and gun rights?

ABORTION:  Ryan is firmly against abortion rights. He has a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, the nation's largest anti-abortion rights organization. He co-sponsored the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a bill that would define human life as beginning at conception.

President Obama tweeted earlier today: "Make sure the women in your life know: Paul Ryan supports banning all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest."

Ryan, however, has said that he was willing to disagree, "with mutual respect," with others on the issue.

GAY RIGHTS:  Ryan's record on gay rights is mixed, and gay rights is one issue on which Ryan and Romney disagree somewhat. Ryan's said he's anti-same-sex marriage, and he's voted against adoption rights for same-sex couples. Romney has said he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt.

But Ryan did break with his party to vote for the Sexual Orientation Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would prohibit discrimination in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Romney has said that he would not support that legislation at the federal level, saying those decisions should be made by the states.

GUNS: An avid outdoorsman who hunts, Ryan has received an "A" record from the National Rifle Association for his stance and voting record on gun rights. In the past, Ryan has voted "yes" on the Firearms Manufacturers Protection Bill, which would prohibit "misuse" lawsuits against gun manufacturers, and "no" on the 72 Background Check Amendment, which would increase the required background check time period for purchasing a gun from 24 hours to 72 hours.

IMMIGRATION:  Ryan voted against the Dream Act, legislation that would offer a route to citizenship to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and had gone to college here. On his congressional website, Ryan said that the legislation "attempts to treat a symptom, rather than the root cause, of our current problem." Ryan favors placing a priority on securing the border, "developing a more secure employee verification system" and working on creating "an enforceable guest worker program."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Democrats Poised to Include Same-Sex Marriage in Party Platform

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats are poised to include support for same-sex marriage in the party’s platform of official policy positions when they meet at the national convention in September, sources told ABC News.

A committee of Democrats drafting the platform unanimously approved a same-sex marriage plank during their meeting in Minneapolis this weekend.  It’s the first time the party as a whole has formally expressed support for the unions.

The language endorsing same-sex marriage must still be approved by a larger committee of Democrats tasked with finalizing the platform before being put to convention delegates for final approval, sources familiar with the process said.

The move follows public calls by several high-profile Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to include marriage rights for gays and lesbians as an official policy position.

In June, President Obama reversed his longstanding opposition to same-sex marriage in an interview with ABC News, a shift that many advocates say cleared the way for inclusion of the issue in the Democratic Party platform.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama and Gay Marriage: Opinions Divide and Sharply, Poll Finds

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- Americans divide essentially evenly in their responses to President Obama’s new position on gay marriage, with views more strongly negative than positive and stark divisions across political, ideological and other groups -- including a broad gender gap.

All told, 46 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll express a favorable impression of Obama’s statement in an interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts last week that he personally has come to support gay marriage, while 47 percent respond unfavorably.  That includes a 10-point tilt towards “strongly” negative rather than strongly positive views, 38 percent vs. 28 percent.

Mirroring a wide gender gap in Obama’s support more generally, 54 percent of women respond favorably to his backing of gay marriage, compared with 37 percent of men.  There’s an even broader gap by age -- 63 percent of young adults favor the president’s position vs. 34 percent of seniors.

While it’s unclear how the issue may play out in the fall, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds striking intensity of sentiment in some groups.  Unusually large numbers of conservatives, Republicans and conservative Republicans respond not just unfavorably, but strongly so -- 61, 65 and 71 percent, respectively, peaking at 80 percent of very conservatives.

For their part, most liberals, Democrats and liberal Democrats respond strongly favorably, albeit not always at commensurate levels.  Notably, at 52 percent, strongly positive views of Obama’s position among Democrats are 13 points lower than strongly negative views among Republicans.

There’s an intensity gap between the sexes as well: While women, as noted, are much more apt to express overall favorable views of the president’s announcement, more men respond strongly negatively, 45 percent, than women see it strongly favorably, 35 percent.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Faces Questions on Federal Fight for Same-Sex Marriage

ABC/Lou Rocco(NEW YORK) -- Just days after affirming his support for same-sex marriage, President Obama Monday declined to say whether he would go a step further and publicly take up the fight to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

While the administration has already stopped defending legal challenges to the legislation, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, the president said the rest is up to Capitol Hill.

“Congress is clearly on notice that I think it’s a bad idea,” the president said in an interview on ABC’s The View.

“This is going to be a big contrast in the campaign, because you’ve got Gov. Romney saying we should actually have a constitutional amendment installing the notion that you can’t have same-sex marriages,” Obama said.

When asked by ABC’s Barbara Walters if he would fight federal laws that limit the rights of gay and lesbian couples, the president said, “We don’t think the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional.”

“This is something that historically had been determined at the state level and part of my believing ultimately that civil unions weren’t sufficient, and I’ve been a longtime supporter of civil unions for same-sex couples, was partly because of the issue of Social Security benefits and other laws,” the president said.

Obama had long said he opposed same-sex marriage, but repeatedly qualified that by saying that his view was “evolving,” as he delayed taking a firm stance on the social issue. But last week, in an interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts, the president declared he now believes same-sex couples should have the right to marry.

Obama was making his fourth appearance on The View, and his second as president. Obama made history as the first sitting president to make an appearance on daytime television when he visited the women of The View in July 2010.

The full interview airs Tuesday on ABC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio