Same-sex marriage is legal in Indiana

Craig Bowman and Jake Miller - first same-sex married couple in Marion County
Craig Bowman and Jake Miller – first same-sex married couple in Marion County

Yesterday, a federal court judge threw out Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, ruling that the Gay marriage ban violates Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause. See the the summary judgement here [pdf]. Because there was no stay on the ruling, Indiana couples could begin marrying immediately, and the Marion County Clerk’s office was prepared for the lines of same-sex couples who showed up to apply for a license.

Lines of same-sex couples waiting to get married in Marion County Clerk's office
Lines of same-sex couples waiting to get married in Marion County Clerk’s office
Lines of same-sex couples waiting to get married in Marion County Clerk's office
Lines of same-sex couples waiting to get married in Marion County Clerk’s office

219 marriage license were issue to same-sex couples in Marion County yesterday, and 150 ceremonies were performed in the Marion County Clerk’s Office. And the Clerk’s office is anticipating hundreds more marriages today.

Because Stephanie and I were married in 2008 and our marriage suddenly was valid in Indiana, we thought it would be fun to take flowers to all the folks waiting to get married yesterday. We handed out over 125 flowers to individuals inline – we ran out of the first 9 bouquets and then went to the florist to get more.

Flowers for same-sex couples getting married in Marion County

Flowers for same-sex couples getting married in Marion County

We saw tons of friends getting married yesterday – it was amazing. I’m still giddy.

County Clerks all over the state were issuing licenses and marriages, although there was some confusion and refusals by some counties to issue licenses. This map was accurate as of sometime yesterday evening. Late in the evening Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller issued a notice to all county clerks advising them to follow the ruling of the court.

Indiana Counties issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Of course Zoeller waited to make that statement until well after he had filed an appeal for a stay on the federal court ruling.

Continue ReadingSame-sex marriage is legal in Indiana

Essential Follow-up Reading on HJR-3

Indy StarThe intrigue behind the curtain cloaking the HJR-3 debate
“When the Indiana Senate cast its vote Monday on the proposed same-sex marriage ban, it all seemed pretty straightforward, even predictable. The vast majority of Republicans voted for the measure and it passed 32-17.

But outside public view, another story was playing out. In the days and hours leading up to the vote, a group of socially conservative senators was plotting in private to kill the marriage amendment.”

Commentary from inside the organization fighting HJR3 on this article: “I read it twice. A lot of it has an element of reality, some is off base. But we’ve got to be ready for 2015. No question.”

Digital Media News — Reporters Notebook: Indiana Senator’s Twitter War A Fascinating Read
“First, some disclosure. In Indiana State Senator Mike Delph’s world, I am a “liberal”. I am not a moderate, independent…nope…I am a “liberal” because I do not agree with his position regarding gay marriage. Second, Delph was punished, in part, for contents of a Twitter war that topped 250 tweets over two or three days best described as a melt-down over the demise of HJR-3 which was a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Indiana. Senate President Pro Tempore David Long has disciplined Delph — taking away leadership roles and even moving his seat — for violating Senate protocol when he tweeted about the same-sex marriage amendment. According to Long’s office, Delph used Twitter to report information, garnered from a GOP private caucus, on the fate of Senate action on House Joint Resolution 3.”

Continue ReadingEssential Follow-up Reading on HJR-3

How Marriage Equality Opponents’ Three National Strategies All Contradict Each Other

From Think Progress: How Marriage Equality Opponents’ Three National Strategies All Contradict Each Other.

At the federal level, opponents currently have three proposed strategies for rolling back some of the recognition that same-sex couples now have. Particularly in the wake of the Utah and Oklahoma decisions, groups like the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and Family Research Council (FRC) have been emphasizing two talking points: that states should have the right to establish their own definition of marriage and that the religious views of people who oppose marriage equality should be protected. Each of the three proposed strategies would limit same-sex marriage to a certain extent according to these talking points, but the principles that inform each strategy are in conflict with each other.

Good read for understanding the strategy. Or lack thereof.

Continue ReadingHow Marriage Equality Opponents’ Three National Strategies All Contradict Each Other

Indiana House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR-6) Marriage Discrimination Amendment

Yesterday, State Rep. Eric Turner filed Indiana House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR6) – the Marriage Discrimination Amendment in the Indiana House. It was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. You can track the status of the bill at this link.

SECTION 1. The following amendment to the Constitution of the State of Indiana is proposed and agreed to by this, the One Hundred Seventeenth General Assembly of the State of Indiana, and is referred to the next General Assembly for reconsideration and agreement.

SECTION 2. ARTICLE 1 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF INDIANA IS AMENDED BY ADDING A NEW SECTION TO READ AS FOLLOWS: Section 38. Only a marriage between one (1) man and one (1) woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized.

The second sentence of this bill has a terrible effect on ALL unmmarried couples, not just same-sex couples, in Indiana. In other states, similar language has been used to strip away spousal abuse laws for unmarried partners, leaving domestic partners who are not married vulnerable to violence with no legal protections.

This is the second trip for this bill through the Statehouse; it was passed in a previous year. If it is passed again this year, it will be added to the ballot to be ratified as an amendment by the public.

1) To figure out your district and state legislators visit this link: District Look Up and enter your address. Contact information – usually a phone number and the legislator’s website – is listed. Call their 1-800 number, or visit their website and find contact information for an email.

June UPDATE: Although the bill was introduced into the legislature, it did not make it out of committee in the 2013 legislative season. Lawmakers indicated that they preferred to wait until the Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act were announced.
Continue ReadingIndiana House Joint Resolution 6 (HJR-6) Marriage Discrimination Amendment

Adorable Gay Men get marriage license

Via the Maddow Blog – Pic: Way past wonderful – The Maddow Blog, these two adorable gay men are applying for a marriage license in Washington:

Randy and Larry Get Married

Randy and Larry Get Married

One month after Washington State voters approved the state’s marriage equality law in Ref. 74, same-sex couples get marriage licenses for the first time on December 6th, 2012. At around 1:30am, Larry Duncan, 56, left, and Randy Shepherd, 48, from North Bend, Wash. got their marriage license. The two plan to wed on December 9th, the first day it is possible for them to wed in a church in Washington State. They have been together for 11 years. Originally from Dallas, Texas, they moved here 7 years ago because it’s more gay friendly. Randy is a computer programer and Larry is a retired psychology nurse.

That is very sweet, and totally different than the story that I made up for them which was this:

I love these two dudes. They look like two hunting buddies who spent so much time out in the woods together, that they were like “Larry. Let’s get married so we can spend all of our time hunting in the woods together. I love hunting in the woods with you. We could hang out in the woods all day, and cuddle up in two sleeping bags zipped together at night, next to the fire.” And Larry says, “Randy, that sounds lovely. I will make you coffee in the morning, and s’mores at night, and we will kill some deer and eat them, along with a salad that I’ll make you, because we need vegetables.” And Randy says “Cool, we’ll get a marriage certificate, then. We live in Washington, so we can.”

Continue ReadingAdorable Gay Men get marriage license

Disgrace – Obama’s position on marriage equality

Richard Just (Nation – “Disgrace: Obama’s increasingly absurd gay marriage position“) draws some interesting parallels between Woodrow Wilson’s weak stand on women’s suffrage and Obama’s weak position on same-sex marriage equality:

In the fall of 1912, as his campaign for president entered its final stage, Woodrow Wilson was speaking in Brooklyn when he was asked for his opinion on women’s suffrage. The issue was very much in the political ether, but Wilson had declined to take a stand on it. According to John Milton Cooper’s excellent biography of the twenty-eighth president, he responded by insisting that it was “not a question that is dealt with by the national government at all.” The woman who had asked the question was apparently displeased by this blatant dodge. “I am speaking to you as an American, Mr. Wilson,” she retorted.

I am speaking to you as an American: It was a wonderful rebuke, one that anticipated the rhetoric of Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders who would not rail against America but instead demand to be fully part of it. Wilson, however, was unmoved. And his slippery treatment of women’s suffrage–like his slippery approach on matters of race–did not end once he was in the White House. Running for reelection four years later, he was still playing the same exasperating game. That year, the Democrats did not endorse a constitutional amendment providing for women’s suffrage but, instead, called on the states to extend voting rights to women. Such a half-measure looks cowardly in retrospect, of course; but it also looked cowardly at the time. In November 1916, The New Republic excoriated Wilson for his weak stand on the issue. During his reelection campaign, TNR wrote, Wilson had told a group of suffragists that “[h]e was with them,” even as “he confessed to a ‘little impatience’ as to their anxiety about method.” From this, the magazine concluded that the president had “at best a vague, benign feeling about [the issue], and no conviction whatever that woman suffrage was creating a national situation which called for thorough sincerity, nerve and will.”

An evasive stance on a controversial civil rights issue from a liberal president; an insistence that the issue is primarily local, rather than national, in character; a complete failure of sincerity, nerve, and will: If these things sound familiar in 2010, it is because Barack Obama is taking exactly the same approach on gay marriage.

He goes on to discuss how Obama’s strange position – that he’s not in favor of same-sex marriage, but that constitutions shouldn’t outlaw it – sends a message not just to America about the issue but sets a tone on a world stage that is already far ahead of us.

There are also some really interesting discussion going on in the comments – dbgoroff:

As you know, Congress legislates in the area of marriage all the time. It has passed more than 1100 laws that tie benefits, at least in part, to the status of being married. It then passed DOMA, stating that for purposes of all of these federal laws,same-sex marriages will not be treated as marriages. This means that a same-sex couple married in Iowa still cannot be a “family” for purposes of the federal Family Medical Leave Act, ensure that insurance benefits for their spouse are transportable under COBRA, or partake of social security survivor benefits if their husband or wife dies, to name a few. DOMA rests on the illogical premise that the institution of marriage somehow needs to be “defended” from legal gay relationships. Obama’s current position–that he is against the right of same-sex couples to marry because of the religious association evoked by the word “marriage”–plays into that.

Also, while nominally opposing DOMA, Obama defends its constitutionality. His position is crappy constitutional law, as Perry v. Schwarzenegger and Judge Tauro’s decisions in the Massachusetts DOMA cases show. Congress, just like states, cannot legislate away the benefits of a fundamental constitutional right from a particular group. You argue that Presidents should only very sparingly not defend laws that they deem unconstitutional. First, this simply does not comport with the oath of office. Enforcing unconstitutional laws does not defend the Constitution. Second, it is not how administrations have behaved, including Obama’s, on other subjects. Third, Obama’s Department of Justice did not just say in its DOMA briefs “We have our issues with DOMA but are defending it because that is our job.” They raised every slur in the book about gay couples and compared same-sex marriages to incestuous relationships, among other treats.

Continue ReadingDisgrace – Obama’s position on marriage equality

U.S. District Court Decision: Perry v. Schwarzenegger

The whole document it’s entirety, courtesy of the New York Times. There is some scrumptious reading here; things that just make me giddy with glee.

“Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.”

also:

“Proposition 8 was premised on the belief that same-sex couples simply are not as good as opposite-sex couples. Whether that belief is based on moral disapproval of homosexuality, animus towards gays and lesbians or simply a belief that a relationship between a man and a woman is inherently better than a relationship between two men or two women, this belief is not a proper basis on which to legislate.”

and these:

“Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and women.”
“Same-sex couples are identical to opposite-sex couples in the characteristics relevant to the ability to form successful marital unions.”

“The sexual orientation of an individual does not determine whether that individual can be a good parent.”

“Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.”

“That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant, as ‘fundamental rights may not be submitted to [a] vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.'”

Heaven.

Continue ReadingU.S. District Court Decision: Perry v. Schwarzenegger

Prop 8 Overturned by Federal Court

According to MSNBC news services:

SAN FRANCISCO — In a major victory for gay rights advocates, a federal judge on Wednesday struck down a California ban on same-sex marriage.

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that the voter-approved ban, known as Proposition 8, violates due process and equal-protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.

“Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples,” Walker wrote.

The judge added in the conclusion of the 136-page opinion: “Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license.”

His ruling came in response to a lawsuit brought by two same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco seeking to invalidate the law as an unlawful infringement on the civil rights of gay men and lesbians. The landmark case is expected to be appealed and could eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is really great news – baby steps, but definitely steps. One day our marriage might actually be recognized in our own country and home state.

Continue ReadingProp 8 Overturned by Federal Court