Support for same-sex marriage is up sharply in a dramatic public opinion shift from as recently as three years ago, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Monday morning.The national poll showed 49 percent of Americans favoring marriage equality with 40 percent opposed. Support among younger voters approaches 60 percent. Only two groups among those surveyed — voters over 65 and Tea Party supporters — werein opposition.The figures are an almost precise flip on the issue from an NBC/Journal poll in October of 2009. At that time, 41 percent favored same-sex marriage while 49 percent were opposed.In 2004, Republicans used more than 20 statewide ballot measures, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, to get evangelical voters to turn out at the polls for President Bush’s reelection.Same-sex marriage was opposed by a 30-62 percent margin in an NBC/Journal survey taken at the time.“Progress is happening: The Republican Party, in what its presidential candidates are saying, is out of step with the mainstream,” said State Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, sponsor of Washington’s marriage equality legislation.via seattlepi.com.
Despite attempts by a conservative American mothers’ group to have it pulled from sale, the new Archie comic, which features a gay marriage, has just sold out.
Tracing the adventures of the teenagers Archie, Betty and Veronica in the small town of Riverdale, the Archie storyline has been running for 70 years and is one of America’s most popular comic series. Its publisher described the marriage of Kevin Keller, the series’ first gay character, in the latest issue as “a historic moment”, announcing yesterday that the Life with Archie #16 had sold out.The strong sales follow a call from the American Family Association’s website One Million Moms for Toys R Us to stop selling the new Archie issue. The conservative Christian group is concerned that “children are now being exposed to same-sex marriage in a toy store”. “Please remove all the same-sex ‘Just Married – Archie’ comic books immediately from your shelves. My decision to shop in your stores depends on it,” they have written to the retailer.”
“Equal marriage advocates have welcomed a poll which puts public support for allowing gay couples to marry at 73%.The poll, by Red C, showed nearly three quarters of those asked said they would agree with the statement: “Same sex marriage should be allowed in the Constitution”.The results were presented to Ireland’s Oireachtas yesterday in a report prepared for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the last Constitutional referendum.Kieran Rose, Chair of Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network said: “The poll confirms the openness of Irish people and their support for further critically important progress to achieving equality for lesbian and gay people.”
Meanwhile, a powerful opinion piece at the Irish Examiner says unequivocally that civil partnerships are no longer enough: “It’s time!”
CIVIL partnerships were always a first step, not a full stop, but it is remarkable the way public opinion has now swung so rapidly behind the move to gay-marriage equality.The latest poll on the subject shows an overwhelming 73% back amending the Constitution to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual ones.While civil partnerships offer some guarantees for same-sex couples, such as stopping homophobic relatives barring lifelong partners from their loved one’s death bed, in practice it cements a status as second-class citizens within a society in which all should be equal.The change to marriage equality is about the State and its responsibility to recognise its citizens as equals.This is about people who want to have their lifelong emotional commitment to one another recognised by the State that they fund as taxpayers.If South Africa can do it, there is no reason Ireland cannot follow Canada and Belgium, to name but two others, and let same-sex couples have the civil rights to which they are entitled.
– full article at Irish Examiner
If anyone still has any doubts that marriage equality is on the move in the US, just consider how many advances there have been in just the past few days, in this week of St Valentine:
- In Washington state, on Monday governor Chris Gregoire signed the enabling legislation.
- Also on Monday in New Jersey, the state Senate approved a bill, which then passed in the state House Thursday. Gov Christie vetoed, as promised, on Friday. Proponents now have two years to muster enough votes to override. (Or they could try next year to go the referendum route, after all, or they could hope for a favourable ruling from the state Supreme Court.)
- In Maryland on Tuesday, Valentine’s day, key committees approved a bill which was due to go to the full House of Delegates Thursday, and was finally passed late on Friday. It must still go to the Senate, but as they approved a similar bill last year, that should not present a problem. Thereafter, Governor O’Malley has promised to sign.
- In Colorado, a bill for civil unions (not full marriage) was approved by a state Senate committee yesterday. It is expected to pass easily in the Senate, and will then go to the House.
- The Illinois General Assembly introduced a gay marriage bill yesterday, after it cleared the House rules committee February 8th.
- Legislation is due to be introduced in Rhode Island today.
- A West Virginia delegate introduced a bill for civil unions.
- Even after signature by the governor, Washington’s new law faces a voter’s referendum for repeal.
- Any override of Gov Christie’s veto in New Jersey will be a tough ask. It may not happen.
- The Maryland bill can pass in the House (where it came short last year). As in Washington, there will likely be a voter referendum for repeal.
- Prospects in Illinois, R.I. and Colorado are also uncertain.
- The WV bill is largely just symbolism. It’s unlikely to pass.
Catholic politicians who are arguing, from religious principles, for justice for all.
- A GOP Reckoning On Marriage Equality (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
A federal appeals court on Tuesday declared California’s same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional, putting the bitterly contested, voter-approved law on track for likely consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that a lower court judge correctly interpreted the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedents when he declared in 2010 that Proposition 8 was a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
It was unclear when gay marriages might resume in California. Lawyers for Proposition 8 sponsors and for the two couples who successfully sued to overturn the ban have repeatedly said they would consider appealing to a larger panel of the court and then the U.S. Supreme Court if they did not receive a favorable ruling from the 9th Circuit.
“Although the Constitution permits communities to enact most laws they believe to be desirable, it requires that there be at least a legitimate reason for the passage of a law that treats different classes of people differently. There was no such reason that Proposition 8 could have been enacted,” the ruling states.
It’s not finally over until the Supreme Court agrees, but this is a big step forward.
When British PM David Cameron threw his weight behind the proposal for British recognition for gay marriage last year, he said it was because he was a Conservative, not in spite of it. Mr Cameron, like many modern politicians, is not noted for strong religious observance or belief – but Time Montgomerie is different. He is both a prominent Conservative MP, the editor of the ConservativeHome website for Tory activists, and an outspoken Christian. (In 1990 he founded the influential Conservative Christian Fellowship (CCF) with David Burrowes, a Tory MP who now leads the campaign against gay marriage). But in announcing his support for gay marriage, he has used arguments remarkably similar to those of Mr Cameron. Expanding the concept of marriage to include all couples, he says, will not weaken the institution, as the opponents fear, but will strengthen it.
Mr Montgomerie said: “Conservatives should want as many people as possible to live in institutions and social norms that promote stability, faithfulness and compassion. Marriage is an institution at the centre of society. It is because I value it so much that I want it to be extended. This is not about equal rights. It is about extending an incredibly important social institution.” Admitting the Tories previously had a “terrible” record on gay rights, he said: “To put it kindly, it has dragged its feet for a long time.” He pointed out that Mr Cameron had consistently favoured gay rights since becoming party leader.
What David Cameron is embarked upon is an incredibly important project – to make social conservatism fashionable again. Marriage is civilising, stabilising, a hugely important institution for bringing people together. But if marriage is fossilised and exclusive, that has only limited reach. His attempt to enlarge and modernise the institution should not be seen as a threat to marriage but as its saviour.”