USA: The State of Marriage Equality

Written by scott on July 6th, 2013

Gay WeddingWe’re corralling a few articles that, taken together, give us a nice snapshot of the state of the marriage equality fight in the US.

First off, the history, courtesy of Kilian Melloy at Edge Boston:

It was 1973, and the sexual revolution was in full swing — for heterosexuals, anyway. For gays, the Stonewall riots had provided the beginnings of a cultural shift, but change was slow in coming. The AIDS crisis, which helped galvanize the gay community, was still years away, as were major advances toward equality before the law. But a few outliers already had the idea that equality should, and one day would, be theirs. One such visionary was Jack Baker, who courageously provided a public face for the nascent equality struggle. The BBC reported on how Baker appeared on television to address the issue of marriage equality long before it was on anyone else’s to-do list (or, for that matter, hot-button “gay agenda”).

Melloy gives a lot more details of Baker and husband Michael McConnell.

Over at the Dish, Andrew Sullivan wonders where the backlash is to the US Supreme Court decisions:

Well, Maggie and K-Lo are calling last week a new Roe. Unconvincingly. I’ve been more struck by the far right’s fatalism, silence and identity politics victimology. David Link believes that the “shift back to abortion for the old guard of the GOP is some evidence that this cultural shift on same-sex marriage is taking hold”: “Less than two days after the ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals took the final step to permit same-sex marriages again in California, and while a very few of the usual suspects showed their faces to television cameras at the subsequent marriages throughout the state, there are no signs of outrage among the voters whose will was thwarted.”

John Gallagher at Queerty says not so fast – there’s still plenty of right-wing opposition to marriage equality:

But the right wing can’t give up. In large part, it’s principle, as they genuinely believe marriage equality is immoral. But it’s hardly the only issue they consider immoral. In fact, there are two reasons why the right wing can’t give up. The first is that the success the religious right has had with abortion rights. After the huge setback of Roe v. Wade, the right wing has managed to put major restrictions around a woman’s right to choose… The second reason is more complicated. A lot of the right wing’s identity is tied up in its antigay activities. Without them, what would the right be about?

And finally, ABC15 reports that businesses aren’t waiting for the GOP to catch up:

The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on same-sex marriage has private employers around the country scrambling to make sure their employee benefit plans comply with the law. The impact of the decision striking down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is clear in the 13 states and the District of Columbia where gay marriage is currently legal or soon will be: Same-sex married couples must be treated the same as other spouses under federal laws governing tax, health care, pensions and other federal benefits.

But exactly how to do so is a bit murky, in part because the federal government hasn’t yet formulated new guidelines based on the ruling, and in part because there are still 37 states that either outright ban marriage equality or don’t specifically recognize it.


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