Friday, May 08, 2009

Gay marriage battles resume; U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says it is not a priority for Congress

Despite a massive coalition, the ban on same-sex marriage in California passed while states like Maine (story), Connecticut (story), and others have succeeded in securing marriage equality. Some bloggers called this a 'tipping point,' but we disagree (reasons we disagree).

  • 29 states have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage.
  • 12 states have laws preventing same-sex marriage.
  • 4 states have neither a constitutional amendment in place, nor any laws making it legal. These states include: New Mexico, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, New York, and New Jersey.
  • 5 states make same-sex marriage legal with most under legal attack, as well as being attached in the court of public opinion with new television ads being aired in various states by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

California coalitions are planning a large rally to kickoff a campaign they hope will change minds-and votes. Their goal: to undo Proposition 8. In the meantime, they have damage control to address like California celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

In choosing Fresno, supporters of same-sex marriage are moving far from the supportive urban environs of San Francisco and West Hollywood, and coming to hostile territory.

The passage of Prop 8 in California led the Board of Directors of Equality California to snatch the executive director of EqualityMass (Equality Massachusetts) to be the new "Marriage Director."

The California Supreme Court has until June 03, 2009 to issue its ruling on the legality of Prop 8.

The rally is being called "Meet In The Middle For Equality." Actress Charlize Theron is expected to attend and organizers predict the rally could attract up to 3,000 people from throughout California.

While supporters hope to overturn the will of the people (not that majority rule is always best), the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is challenging the recent legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in the State of Maine by using a law provided in the Maine Constitution called a 'people's veto'.

Gay couples in Maine hoping to take advantage of this week's legalization of gay marriage may be forced to wait months or even a year to hold their ceremonies. (previous story)

To get the bill on the ballot in November, they have 90 days to collect 55,000 signatures opposing gay marriage. This means the bill will be put on hold until then. Depending on when petitions are submitted, a referendum may not be held until June 2010.

Brian Brown, the executive director of NOM, said: "We will devote staff, volunteers and resources to this battle in Maine. Marriage means a man and a woman, and we will work hard to ensure that voters in Maine have the ability to do what voters in every other state where they have had a chance have done and stand up for marriage as we have always known it."

Betsy Smith of EqualityMaine, said pro-gay marriage campaigners would fight any attempt to repeal the bill, although she added that fundraising could be an issue in the present economic climate.

As far as federal recognition of same-sex marriage in states that have approved it, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it is not a priority for Congress.

"Right now on our agenda we are talking about turning the economy around, dealing with an energy policy, health care for all Americans, education. We have an economic crisis of the magnitude none of us have seen in our lifetime," Pelosi told reporters at a Wednesday press conference.

The battle for marriage equality is far from over.

In Kentucky, the Family Foundation is so scared about the recent gay marriage victories, and possibly the launch of Marriage Equality Kentucky, they have planned a series of 'save marriage' workshops around the Commonwealth.
(previous story)

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