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MEUSA Releases Historic Edie Windsor Video

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Edie Windsor

One year ago today, Windsor v. United States became one of the most important court cases in history for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Since June 2013, every single one of the 15 court cases striking down bans on marriage equality has used the Windsor decision at the core of its legal decision.

“All of this began when a now famous Marriage Equality New York (MEUSA) volunteer decided she wouldn’t take “no” for an answer,” said MEUSA Executive Director Brian Silva. “We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Edie Windsor and her late wife Thea for standing up for all of us. In celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Windsor decision, and in appreciation for the support shown for Edie, her wife Thea, MENY, MEUSA and the entire marriage equality movement, I am proud today to launch the first in our series of intimate MEUSA interviews with Edie.”

Each of these videos, the first being released today with others to follow throughout July, explores Edie’s life through her own words as she relates her story to her friend and MEUSA colleague, Cathy Marino-Thomas. From how she met Thea and got to know the LGBTQ world during their early days together, through their struggle to get married, and eventually to the DOMA case and the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Join us over the next few weeks in getting to know Edie – in her own words,” said MEUSA Board Member Cathy Marino-Thomas. “It was an honor and a joy to hear Edie’s story in person, and now for us to be able to share her incredible story with the world.”

Happy Windsor Anniversary to us all!

An Historic Marriage Equality Anniversary

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Rainbow Supreme Court

Today is the one year anniversary of the Windsor and Prop 8 decisions from the US Supreme Court, as well as the 11 year anniversary of the Lawrence v. Texas case.

And they were all very close calls, a fact that’s easy to forget now, looking back.

Keen News Service reports:

Kennedy’s words in both Lawrence and Windsor have been repeated in numerous court decisions since. And the powerful influence of words and decisions has almost obscured the fact that they were narrow victories.

In Lawrence, Kennedy wrote for just five of the six justices who considered sodomy laws to be unconstitutional; while Justice Sandra Day O’Connor provided a sixth vote in concurrence with the judgment, she did not join Kennedy’s opinion to the extent that it overruled the 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick (which had upheld state sodomy laws). O’Connor said she would simply strike Texas’ law on equal protection grounds. (“Moral disapproval of this group, like a bare desire to harm the group, is an interest that is insufficient to satisfy rational basis review under the Equal Protection Clause.”)

In Windsor, Kennedy wrote for just five justices. One of those five, Elena Kagan, had been on the bench for only two and a half years and apparently had to recuse herself from a similar DOMA challenge that had reached the high court sooner because she likely discussed it while serving as Solicitor General. If the court had taken that first case, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, the court likely would have rendered a tie vote and DOMA would still be in effect in most states.

Over at Time, Stuart Armstrong II looks at the impact the DOMA ruling had on LGBT finances:

The Supreme Court’s ruling last year on the Defense of Marriage Act has had a momentous impact on financial planning for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples. But the momentous impact has little to do with the case at issue. The focus of the landmark case, United States v. Windsor, was an estate tax issue. Given that it takes millions of dollars in assets to trigger federal estate taxes, hardly any Americans are subject to them. Yet the decision allowing for federal recognition of same-sex marriages has a major influence on the day-to-day financial lives of LGBT couples — not just the high-net-worth ones — affecting everything from income taxes to Social Security benefits.

And James Esseks at The Advocate looks at Windsor’s other effects:

…with a year’s hindsight, it’s clear that Windsor signaled more than just the end of DOMA, it also propelled us on an accelerated journey toward the freedom to marry nationwide.

In just the last year, Windsor has helped create incredible momentum for the freedom to marry:

– We’ve won six new marriage states since June 2013, bringing us to 19 states plus Washington, D.C., where gay couples can marry.

– Now 44 percent of the country lives in a freedom-to-marry state, up from 18 percent just a year ago.

– Polls show a clear majority nationwide supports marriage for same-sex couples.

– We’ve won 21 court rulings for marriage since Windsor, including two just yesterday (one from a federal appeals court covering Utah and another from a federal trial court in Indiana), and we’ve lost an incredible record on a “culture war” issue in the courts.

– There are now over 80 marriage equality cases pending in state and federal courts across the country, including in every state that doesn’t allow same-sex couples to marry and in seven federal appeals courts.

So happy birthday, US vs. Windsor – and we hope we’ll have a lot more to celebrate when you turn two.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Happy IDAHOT Day, 10th Anniversary of Massachusetts Marriage Equality

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

Gay RightsWe have two reasons to celebrate today – IDAHOT Day and the tenth anniversary of Massachusetts marriage equality.

LGBTQ Nation reports on IDAHOT (aka IDAHO) Day:

LGBT rights advocates and allies will observe the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (or IDAHOT) in more than 100 countries around the world on Saturday. First recognized in 2004, IDAHO commemorates the May 17, 1990 decision by the World Health Organization that decategorized homosexuality as a mental disorder, and aims to coordinate international events that raise awareness of LGBT rights violations and stimulate interest in LGBT rights advocacy. Now, ten years later, same-sex relationships are still considered illegal in 82 countries around the world, and punishable by jail, fines and in some countries, lifetime imprisonment. In ten countries, a conviction is punishable by death.

Today also happens to be the tenth anniversary of marriage equality in the state of Massachusetts.

Boston.com reports:

On May 17, 2004, the state of Massachusetts offered the first official marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Ten years later, to commemorate the momentous occasion, we asked five Boston-area married couples to talk about what they’ve learned about themselves and their relationships over the past decade. When we opened the inquiry for the project, the response was tremendous. While we weren’t able to respond to each and every submission we received (we wish we could have!), we spoke with a handful of same-sex couples, who not only appear to have the utmost respect for each other, but also exude tremendous amounts of unabashed and unapologetic love.

Two great reasons to celebrate – remember, we shall overcome.

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Argentina: Three Years of Marriage Equality

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Argentina - google maps

from Google Maps

Can you believe it was three years ago when Argentina approved marriage equality in the face of Catholic opposition (including the new Pope, who was a Cardinal in Argentina at the time)? On Top Magazine reports:

More than 7,000 gay couples have tied the knot since the law’s adoption, most of which took place in the nation’s capital of Buenos Aires and its surrounding province, according to gay advocate Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA). It is estimated that Argentina has 2,400,000 gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender persons.

Since Argentina approved gay marriage, Uruguay has followed in its footsteps, and maybe Colombia, too.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

USA: At First Anniversary, “Mayors for Freedom to Marry” Group Nears 300

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

United Kingdom: Tories Call Freedom to Marry for Marriage Equality AdviceNearly 300 U.S. mayors have pledged to support the legalization of gay marriage.

As it marks its first anniversary, the group Mayors for the Freedom to Marry has added 211 members since it launched with 80 mayors last January.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who recently joined the group, told The Huffington Post that he previously believed civil unions were good enough for gay and lesbian couples.

See the Full Story at On Top Magazine

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

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Happy New Year – Gay Marriage Watch Celebrates 5 Years

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Scott & MarkHappy New year, everyone! Five years ago today, we started Gay Marriage Watch as a once-a-week update of marriage equality, civil unions, and LGBT rights updates – back then, we were lucky to find 10 stories a week.

Now we often have 15-20 stories a day, from all over the world – this week alone, we’ve featured stories from The USA, Taiwan, Australia, The UK, The Netherlands, Uruguay, Israel, and Cameroon.

When we started, we had few followers – now we get more than 200,000 hits a month on the blog, 1,303 followers on Facebook, 529 on Google Plus, 34,679 on Twitter, and all of 10 followers on Pinterest (ok, it’s a new thing for us!).

We also just capped off an amazing year, following victories in Maine, Maryland, Washington state and Minnesota and the long-awaited evolution of President Obama on marriage equality. In fact, he’s taken an active stand encouraging marriage equality in Illinois, his home state – a far cry from the muted protests from the White House in North Carolina, when the state passed its DOMA law.

This year, we also continue our long-standing partnerships with Marriage Equality USA and Matt Baume at Marriage News Watch – Matt does great work bringing us the news from around the world in a great weekly video.

Oh, and one more shout-out – Melanie Nathan and GayUSA The Movie – a fearless activist who has taken on African homophobes and subbed for us on more than one occasion as our blog-mistress! Thanks so much, Melanie, for all you do!

We look ahead to 2013 with excitement, hopeful that a number of new jurisdictions will pass marriage equality, including within the US Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Minnesota, and internationally in Taiwan, Uruguay, the UK, and France.

We’re also thrilled to have become a part of such a wonderful community of activists, friends and allies.  We’re always looking for folks to blog on the site about marriage equality, local news, and gay and lesbian weddings – if you’re interested, please shoot us an email at info@purpleunions.com.

And if you are getting married soon, congratulations – check out our great list of gay friendly wedding vendors!  Yes, even we need to have a way to keep a roof over our heads. 🙂

At Gay Marriage Watch, my husband Mark and I enter 2013 energized and ready to continue the work for full equality everywhere. Happy New Year, everyone!

–Scott & Mark
Gay Marriage Watch

Washington DC: Third Anniversary of Marriage Equality

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Washington DC Celebrates Third Anniversary of Marriage EqualityEven as same-sex couples in Maine and Maryland ready to say their vows, today is the third anniversary of Mayor Adrian Fenty signing marriage equality into law in the District of Columbia. Not bad for a town that has no congressional representation!

In honor of the occasion, Freedom to Marry is spotlighting JaLissa and Janell Coffee-Sterrett, just one of the many couples who have codified their relationship since the law took effect in March 2010.

JaLissa and Janell married on September 10, 2011 in Washington, D.C., where they now live and work as educators. The women met at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, at Club Day on the Mall, a regular start-of-semester event at the university where student organizations could share information and recruit new members. Janell was there representing a praise dance group, where members express religion and faith through dance, and JaLissa was interested. She had been involved in a similar organization in her hometown, and she was excited to stay involved with it in school.

Authored By Dan Avery – See the Full Story at Queerty

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Washington, DC.

To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook. We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.

Massachusetts, USA: Marriage Equality Nine Years Old Today

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Boston, MassachusettsMassachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage with a decision handed down nine years ago today.

On November 18, 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gay couples have the right to marry in the groundbreaking case Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health.

Representing seven gay and lesbian couples who had been denied marriage licenses in 2001, the law group Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) sued the Massachusetts Department of Health in Superior Court. Plaintiffs lost the case and appealed to the state’s highest court.

Authored By Carlos Santoscoy – See the Full Story at On Top Magazine

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Massachusetts.

To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook. We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.

Matt Baume’s Marriage News Watch: Vermont Anniversary

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Three years ago today, Vermont became the fourth state in the country where gay and lesbian couples had freedom to marry. On this third anniversary, let’s take a moment look back at how that happened — and what’s happened since.

Authored By Matt Baume – See the Full Story at AFER

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook. We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.

Matt Baume on Prop 8 Victory Anniversary

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

This Saturday marks the two year anniversary of AFER’s first major legal victory. On August 4, 2010, the Federal District Court in California ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

A lot has happened since then. And now that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld that 2010 ruling, the case is headed to the US Supreme Court.

Authored By Matt Baume – See the Full Story at AFER

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook. We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.