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USA: President Obama Wants All Legal Same Sex Marriages Recognized, Regardless of State

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama called for federal recognition of all legally-performed same sex marriages, regardless of which state the married couple now lives in. On Top Magazine reports:

“What’s true though is that you still have a whole bunch of states that do not recognize it. The Supreme Court continued to leave it up to the states to make these decisions. And we are going to have to go back and do a legal analysis of what that means. It’s my personal belief, I’m speaking now as a president as opposed to as a lawyer, that if you’ve been married in Massachusetts and you move someplace else you’re still married. Under federal law you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple.”

This just makes common sense – why should our marriage cease to exist when we cross a state line?

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Illinois, USA: President Obama Not Giving Up on Marriage Equality in State

Friday, June 14th, 2013

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama spoke about marriage equality at the annual Gay Pride reception, saying the fight was not over, especially for his home state of Illinois. On Top Magazine reports:

“I agree that we’re not going to have to wait that long, because from Minnesota to Maryland, from the United States Senate to the NBA, it’s clear we’re reaching a turning point. We’ve become not just more accepting; we’ve become more loving, as a country, and as a people.”
“I’ll continue to support marriage equality and states’ attempts to legalize it, including in my home state of Illinois. We’re not giving up on that,” he later added.

Did President Bush ever do one of these Gay Pride receptions? I’m guessing not…

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Illinois.

Illinois, USA: President Obama Stumps for Marriage Equality in Chicago

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

President Barack ObamaWe’re down to the wire on this one, with the House ending its legislative session tomorrow. President Obama is doing his part. reports:

President Barack Obama on Wednesday added his support for a bill that would make Illinois the 13th state to legalize same-sex marriage. “Here in Illinois, we’ve got a vote on same-sex marriage that’s going to be coming up in the Legislature,” Obama said during a fundraiser in Chicago, reported the Sun-Times. “I just want to say for the record it’s something that I deeply support.”

Are you doing your part? If you live in Illinois, now is the time to call your House representative.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Illinois.

Illinois, USA: Obama, Clinton Endorse Marriage Equality Bill; Black Representatives Split

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Illinois mapA couple updates out of Illinois today. First off, President Clinton is pushing for the passage of the marriage equality bill in Illinois. The Huffington Post reports:

Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday threw his support behind legislation that could soon legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. Clinton urged the Illinois House to approve the bill in a looming vote in a statement distributed by LGBT advocacy group Freedom to Marry. “Our nation’s permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ – deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community,” Clinton said in a statement. “That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in Illinois, with marriage equality.”

President Obama also endorsed the bill. Joe.My.God reports:

President Obama would support Illinois’s same-sex marriage bill if he were still serving in the legislature there, the White House said Tuesday. “Were the president still in the Illinois State Legislature, he would support this measure that would treat all Illinois couples equally,” spokesman Shin Inouye said in response to a question from POLITICO. “While the president does not weigh in on every measure being considered by state legislatures, he believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect,” Inouye said. “As he has said, his personal view is that it’s wrong to prevent couples who are in loving, committed relationships, and want to marry, from doing so.”

Only nine of twenty black House members have said they are likely to vote for the marriage equality bill. Seven are undecided. The Sun Times reports:

Less than half of Illinois House Black Caucus members say they back the push to legalize same-sex marriage or are likely to support it, a Chicago Sun-Times survey of the pivotal voting bloc has found. Four members of the 20-member caucus have told the Sun-Times they will vote for same-sex marriage while five others indicated they are leaning toward a ‘yes’ vote. Seven remain undecided, and four are opposed.

If you live in Illinois, keep up the calls to your legislators. Just ten more days in the session!

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USA: President Obama Wants Immigration Bill to Include Binational Gay Couples

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

President Barack ObamaPresident Obama stepped into the immigration reform controversy around binational couples today. Pink News reports:

US President Barack Obama has said that he thinks recognising gay couples in a broad immigration bill currently pending in Congress is “the right thing to do”. The President did not specify whether or not he would sign legislation, if it failed to protect binational gay couples. He said it would be premature to predict what he would do until he is sent a bill by lawmakers. Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Obama commented that it was the “right thing to do”, to include gay couples in the legislation, reports the Associated Press.

Are Senate Democrats listening? Too many gay and lesbian couples are in limbo – it’s time to allow gay and lesbian US citizens to sponsor their husbands and wives for citizenship.

Illinois, USA: Organizing for America Joins Marriage Equality Fight

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

IllinoisPresident Obama’s advocacy group, Organizing for America, is throwing its weight behind the push for marriage equality in Illinois. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Though the organization had been created to assist Obama’s second-term agenda on a variety of issues before Congress, the group’s decision to get involved in state matters brings its vast technological and networking skills to the statehouse level. “We’ve heard from OFA supporters here in Illinois that this issue matters to you, and that’s why we’re teaming up with Illinois Unites for Marriage –a joint project of ACLU Illinois, Equality Illinois, and Lambda Legal — to add our voices to this fight,” Lindsay Siler, the group’s national director of issue campaigns, told supporters in an e-mail.

This is the first time the White House has gotten so directly involved in the marriage equality fight at the state level.

What’s holding up the bill in the House? Nico Lang explains at The Huffington Post:

Although Chicagoans often like to pretend we like in a totally Democratic state, this fight shows just how politically divided we are, between the Blue North and the Red South. Illinois is a little perfect petri dish of the national conversation, where polls show a wide majority of Americans (58 percent versus 32 percent just nine years ago) now support full marriage benefits for everyone, even though a sizeable minority of queer people live in states that offer them those rights. Only nine states have passed marriage equality legislation, and most of those are tucked away in New England.

What can we do?

When I spoke to Jim Bennett, the midwest director of Lambda Legal, he recognized that the bill faces obstacles to passage but assured that “we are confident that marriage is coming to Illinois, whether through the legislature or through the courts. No one should be satisfied with a second-class status.” The organization is currently working with the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition to get people to call their representatives. “The most important thing any of us can do right now is to contact our representatives and ask for their vote on the marriage bill,” Bennett said. “We have many priority areas, so we will continue to have plenty of work to do. Just because marriage is enacted doesn’t mean that the potential for discrimination disappears.”

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Illinois.

Al-Quaeda Protests President Obama’s Marriage Equality Stance

Saturday, March 2nd, 2013

This should piss off the far right – their views on marriage equality are apparently in line with Al-Quaeda. The Advocate reports:

The terrorist group al-Qaeda has come up with another reason to hate the United States and President Obama: support for marriage equality. The latest issue of Inspire, an English-language magazine produced by the group, has an infographic headlined “The Nation Standing on ‘No Values,'” which cites the president’s endorsement of equal marriage rights as well as statistics indicating that U.S. Catholics increasingly agree with him.

California, USA: Freshman Gay Congressman Urges President Obama to File Prop 8 Brief

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Mark Takano, California RepresentativeOpenly gay southern California democrat Mark Takano is urging President Obama to follow up his Friday Defense of Marriage Act brief with one on the repeal of Prop 8. Gay Star News reports:

Takano wrote a letter Tuesday (26 February) to Obama asking hin to instruct his Justice Department file a brief arguing that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional just as it did last week in a brief to the high court on a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act. ‘My district includes thousands of loving gay and lesbian couples, who are not able to marry due to Proposition 8,’ Takano writes. ‘They are our families, our friends and neighbors. They are doctors, veterans, teachers, gardeners, firefighters and police officers. They are Americans. Every day that they cannot enjoy the same rights and obligations enjoyed by other Americans, they and their families suffer.’

The pressure is building.

Last-Minute DOMA, Prop 8 Briefs Include One From 75 Prominent Republicans

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Prop 8A group of prominent republicans have submitted a brief to the US Supreme Court urging the overturn of Prop 8 – with the potential to help sway some of the more conservative members of the court. The New York Times reports:

The Proposition 8 case already has a powerful conservative supporter: Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general under Mr. Bush and one of the suit’s two lead lawyers. The amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief is being filed with Mr. Olson’s blessing. It argues, as he does, that same-sex marriage promotes family values by allowing children of gay couples to grow up in two-parent homes, and that it advances conservative values of “limited government and maximizing individual freedom.”

A partial list of the signers:

Among them are Meg Whitman, who supported Proposition 8 when she ran for California governor; Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Richard Hanna of New York; Stephen J. Hadley, a Bush national security adviser; Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary to Mr. Bush; James B. Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official; David A. Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director; and Deborah Pryce, a former member of the House Republican leadership from Ohio who is retired from Congress… Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former Utah governor, who favored civil unions but opposed same-sex marriage during his 2012 presidential bid, also signed… But the presence of so many well-known former officials — including Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey, and William Weld and Jane Swift, both former governors of Massachusetts — suggests that once Republicans are out of public life they feel freer to speak out against the party’s official platform.

Defense of Marriage ActOur friends over at GayUSA take a closer look at some of the other recent DOMA briefs:

Under the Supreme Court’s schedule for briefing on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, two kinds of briefs were filed Friday. The Obama administration filed its brief arguing why it considers DOMA to be unconstitutional. Second, briefs were filed on the question of whether the Court has the authority to decide that case. One of those was from the administration, one from the Republican leaders of the House of Representatives, and one from Edith Windsor, a New York City woman who was required, under DOMA, to pay an estate tax after inheriting property when her same-sex spouse died. In this post, the blog provides a link to each of these briefs; the post has been updated as they became available.

One more month.

USA: DOMA Update – Obama Files Brief; Republicans Argue Against Department of Justice Involvement

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Defense of Marriage ActThe Obama Administration Friday answered critics urging them to weigh in on the marriage equality cases currently before the supreme court by submitting an amicus brief, LGBTQ Nation reports:

Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.

Edge Boston adds:

Verrilli addresses another hot-button issue head-on in his brief — perhaps the most controversial one of all. “Moral opposition to homosexuality, though it may reflect deeply held personal views, is not a legitimate policy objective that can justify unequal treatment of gay and lesbian people.” This basically throws out all of the extra-legal arguments based on religion, natural law, procreation, hygiene and the rest of the reasoning among the religious right and cultural conservatives.

Edge Boston also notes that the Prop 8 case may not get similar treatment:

The administration has not indicated whether or not it will similarly interject itself into the Prop. 8 case. Since this is dealing with one state, the president is not officially involved. Even so, don’t be surprised if the Justice Department files an amicus curiae brief in that one.

On the other side, Attorney Paul Clement is claiming the DoJ doesn’t have standing to argue in this case. The Washington Blade reports:

BLAG argues the Justice Department lacks standing because the Obama administration received the result it wanted from lower courts — including the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals — striking down DOMA. “It obtained the precise relief it believed was appropriate based on the precise theory (heightened scrutiny) it advocated,” the brief states. “The executive can fare no better before this Court. While this Court’s affirmance would have a greater precedential impact, the executive cannot ground its appellate standing on a desire for an opinion with the identical effect on this case and controversy, but a broader precedential scope for other cases.”

I’m not a lawyer, but this sounds like bulls**t to me.