MONDAY’S TOP HEADLINES: MARRIAGE & THE SUPREME COURT
For Immediate Release
March 25, 2013
Contact: Respect For Marriage Coalition Office / 202-567-5720
MONDAY’S TOP HEADLINES: MARRIAGE & THE SUPREME COURT
Washington, D.C. – This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear two historic cases that could determine whether gay and lesbian couples have the same fundamental right to marry as anyone else, and whether gay married couples are entitled to equal treatment under the law.
Tomorrow, the Court will hear arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative which amended the California Constitution to eliminate the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry in the state. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in United States v. Windsor, challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which requires the federal government to discriminate against married same-sex couples by denying them more than a thousand key federal protections and benefits.
From fresh endorsements to new polling – here are Monday’s top headlines on the freedom to marry:
Will Portman: Coming Out: “I support marriage for same-sex couples because I believe that everybody should be treated the same way and have the same shot at happiness. Over the course of our country’s history the full rights of citizenship have gradually been extended to a broader and broader group of people, something that’s made our society stronger, not weaker. Gay rights may be the civil rights cause of the moment, but the movement fits into a larger historical narrative…I hope that my dad’s announcement and our family’s story will have a positive impact on anyone who is closeted and afraid, and questioning whether there’s something wrong with them. I’ve been there. If you’re there now, please know that things really do get better, and they will for you too.” [Yale Daily News, 3/25/13]
USA Today Op-Ed, NFL Players Association:Football supports gay marriage: “This simple endorsement of equality might surprise some people. After all, recent headlines around the NFL have focused on a preoccupation with draft eligible players' sexual orientation. And, of course, we have yet to count an openly gay player among our teammates. Nonetheless, many NFL players see what everyone else in this country sees — the growing support for marriage equality. We believe that denying people basic rights and protections simply because of who they are and whom they love is wrong. It's an unconstitutional breach of our right to equal protection under the law.” [USA Today, 3/24/13]
Huffington Post: Claire McCaskill Backs GayMarriage: “I have come to the conclusion that our government should not limit the right to marry based on who you love. While churches should never be required to conduct marriages outside of their religious beliefs, neither should the government tell people who they have a right to marry. My views on this subject have changed over time, but as many of my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality. Supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principals of liberty and equality.” [Huffington Post, 3/24/13]
Columbus Dispatch: Poll: Ohio marriage views shift:“But now, just days before the U.S. Supreme Court considers a pair of landmark gay-marriage cases, a new Saperstein Poll for The Dispatch shows that 54 percent back a proposed new amendment to repeal the 2004 measure and “allow two consenting adults to marry, regardless of their gender.” Just 40 percent oppose the proposal, which also would allow religious institutions to determine who they will or won’t marry, and protect such institutions that refuse to perform a marriage.” [Columbus Dispatch, 3/24/13]
WASHINGTON TIMES: Karl Rove Predicts Next GOP President Could be Pro-Gay Marriage: “The next Republican presidential candidate could very well be in favor of same-sex marriage, said GOP strategist Karl Rove, during an interview on ABC. Mr. Rove was responding to a question from “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos: ‘Can you imagine the next presidential campaign a Republican candidate saying flat out, ‘I am for gay marriage?’ Mr. Rove: ‘I could,’ he said.” [Washington Times/ABC This Week, 3/24/13]
WBUR: Mass. Businesses Argue DOMA Hurts Profits, Company Culture: “The Defense of Marriage Act prevents same-sex couples from getting medical coverage and other tax and retirement benefits that straight employees get for their spouses. And that complicates matters for employers such as MassMutual Financial Group, says Mark Roellig, the general counsel of the Springfield company. “So when you start dealing with issues of tax withholding or payroll taxes or workplace benefits, we’re basically treating people differently,” Roellig said. Roellig says MassMutual does not want to discriminate. But when his company gives same-sex employees the same spousal benefits that any other employee gets, DOMA forces the company to report that as income. It’s not tax-deductible. So same-sex couples pay more in taxes. And MassMutual pays more in FICA taxes. That’s not only expensive and unfair, Roellig says, keeping track of this dual system also costs his company time and money.” [WBUR, 3/25/13]
New York Times Op-Ed, NFL Player ScottFujita: Acceptance by Example, on the Field and at Home: “I support marriage equality for so many reasons: my father’s experience in an internment camp and the racial intolerance his family experienced during and after the war, the gay friends I have who are really not all that different from me, and also because of a story I read a few years back about a woman who was denied the right to visit her partner of 15 years when she was stuck in a hospital bed. My belief is rooted in a childhood nurtured by a Christian message of love, compassion and acceptance. It’s grounded in the fact that I was adopted and know there are thousands of children institutionalized in various foster programs, in desperate need of permanent, safe and loving homes, but living in states that refuse to allow unmarried couples, including gays and lesbians, to adopt because they consider them not fit to be parents.” [New York Times, 3/23/13]
Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza: The Political Debate on Same-Sex Marriage is Over: “The Supreme Court will hear two landmark cases on gay marriage this week that have the potential to reshape how the country defines one of its most sacred institutions. But, no matter how the high court rules later this year on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, one thing is already clear: The political debate over gay marriage is over…Evidence of that reality is everywhere. Dozens of prominent Republicans — led by former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman — have signed onto a brief to the court urging repeal of Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage in the Golden State. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a finalist to serve as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee in 2012, announced last week that he was reversing course and would now support the right of gay men and lesbians to marry…Anecdotal evidence aside, national polling tells the story in stark terms. In a Washington Post-ABC poll released last week, nearly six in 10 Americans said they support the legalization of gay marriage. That’s the highest level of support ever measured in the Post-ABC survey — and compares with just 41 percent who supported legalization in 2004.” [Washington Post, 3/24/13]
AP Interview: Lesbian Couple in Gay Marriage Case: “’For the past four years, we've lived our lives in this hurry-up-and-wait, pins-and-needles way,’ Perry said, recalling the crush of court deadlines and the seemingly endless wait for rulings from a federal district judge, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, also based there, and the California Supreme Court… Stier said Olson told them the case could take several years to resolve. "I thought, years?" she said.” [AP, 3/24/13]
Los Angeles Times: The Conservative Legal Star Who is Fighting For Gay Marriage:“Certain law partners no longer call Theodore B. Olson for lunch. Old friends no longer come to dinner at his sprawling house in the woods near the Potomac. One of his best friends died in December, somewhat estranged…All since Olson — the conservative legal hero, crusader against Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, defender of George W. Bush — signed on to fight for same-sex marriage in California, a battle that he will take to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday… Olson will argue that gays and lesbians should have an equal right to marry, a view that, if shared by the justices in a ruling after Tuesday's hearing, would strike down the California ban.” [Los Angeles Times, 3/24/13]
NPR: Former Bush Aide Pushes ‘Conservative Case’ For Gay Marriage: “One hundred thirty-one prominent Republicans have signed a pro-same-sex marriage legal brief that is clearly at odds with the House GOP leadership and the party's platform in the most recent election. Because of the prominence of the signers, the brief stands out among the more than 150 friend-of-the-court briefs filed in two same-sex marriage cases to be argued at the U.S. Supreme Court this week. The man who rounded up the group is Ken Mehlman, the former political director for the George W. Bush White House.” [NPR, 3/24/13]
THE DESERT SUN: DOMA delivers its harshest blow in times of need: “For myself — and many other gay and lesbian married couples — the worst part about DOMA is that it kicks you when you are down... After Tom died, my application for Social Security survivor benefits — a routine protection available to straight married couples — was summarily denied because our marriage was not recognized by the federal government. That rejection left me in serious financial condition and set off a painful chain of events…For me and for countless others, DOMA dealt a crippling and irreconcilable blow at what is arguably life’s toughest moment. The Supreme Court can right this wrong and ensure that all marriages are treated equally under the law and by our federal government. Fifty-eight years of love and commitment should matter.” [The Desert Sun, Ron Wallen, 3/24/13]
New York Times Editorial: Heightened Scrutiny: “One of the central questions in the two gay marriage cases to be argued before the Supreme Court this week is whether gays and lesbians are a protected class under the Constitution. Under longstanding principles, government actions that fall heavily on “discrete and insular minorities” historically subject to prejudice and stigma are to be given particular scrutiny… “Finally, gays and lesbians, as a minority group, cannot protect themselves from discrimination in a political process governed by the majority. If they had power, Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act would never have passed, nor would the laws currently on the books in 39 states that specifically restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples.” [New York Times, 3/24/13]
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The Respect for Marriage Coalition is a partnership of more than 100 civil rights, faith, health, labor, business, legal, LGBT, student, and women's organizations working together to end the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and grow support for the freedom to marry. The Coalition is co-chaired by Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign.