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The Voice of Authority Speaks: Morgan Freeman on Marriage Equality, for HRC

1:45 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

I simply loved the recent South Park episode where the plot would become so convoluted that Morgan Freeman had to step in to let viewers know where everything stood. From South Park to Antarctic penguins, Morgan Freeman is America’s voice of authority — when he speaks, people listen. It’s not his celebrity so much as his clear and commanding delivery that makes people pay attention.

His narration of this advertisement, beginning rotation this week on the web and on television, makes clear that America has turned the page on marriage equality. A new day aborning, indeed.

Appeals Court Ruling on Prop 8 Tuesday

1:01 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

(photo: fallentomato/flickr)

(photo: fallentomato/flickr)

The long-awaited Appeals Court ruling on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 will be announced tomorrow.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s public information office expects a ruling on Tuesday, Feb. 7 by 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern Time in the Perry v. Brown case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

Additionally, the court will rule on the demand that then-Chief Judge Vaughn Walker should have recused himself from the trial entirely:

In addition to deciding the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the 9th Circuit plans to rule on gay marriage opponents’ attempt to set aside Walker’s ruling because he did not disclose he was in a long-term same-sex relationship at the time of the trial.

Current Chief U.S. District Judge James Ware rejected that argument last year, but Proposition 8 backers appealed his decision to the 9th Circuit.

Tomorrow will be a big day for equality. Stay tuned to Firedoglake for the latest updates tomorrow.

White House on Same-Sex Marriage: Obama = Santorum?

2:36 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

“I have no updates for you on the President’s position on same-sex marriage.”

I think, Chris, you know very well what the President’s views are on LGBT issues and civil rights. The President’s very proud of this Administration’s record on those issues. The question is — [interrupted -- 'about marriage'].

I don’t — I have no updates for you for you on the President’s position on same-sex marriage. I think that you know, and others here know, that his position broadly on LGBT issues is quite significantly different that that particular candidacy.

Except, of course, it isn’t: Rick Santorum is right. His position and Obama’s on same-sex marriage are identical. This Democratic president cannot provide daylight to his official spokesman between his own views on same-sex marriage and the views of the most radical aspirant for the GOP’s nomination.

In other words, despite the “quite significant” but unnamed differences between President Obama and Rick Santorum on same-sex relationships, White House press secretary Jay Carney won’t compare Obama’s views (“God’s in the mix”) on marriage between same sex couples to Rick Santorum’s.

Because they are, um, exactly the same.

Let’s see…. what else was true when our Constitution was written, Mitt?

10:25 am in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Mitt Romney, stepping knee-deep into the Santorum while speaking with a gay Viet Nam veteran in New Hampshire as he tries to save his floundering campaign:

Yesterday, the so-called “moderate” or quasi-”mainstream” candidate from the Republican Clown Car, Willard, told a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire, he favored repealing that state’s marriage equality law. He told a 63-year old gay Vietnam vet– remember, Romney was a draft-dodger who fled to Paris to preach Mormonism during the war– that “Actually, I think at the time the Constitution was written marriage was between a man and a woman and I don’t believe the Supreme Court has changed that.”

Lots of folks have pointed out that at the time the Constitution was written slavery was legal.

But you know what hadn’t even been invented when the Constitution was written?

Mormons.

Best Marriage Equality Commercial Ever

12:35 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Leave it to the Aussies to come up with the ad that LGBT activists have clamored for throughout all our fights with the fundie-bangelicals over our basic human right to marriage equality. Every time our own USA organizations launch a marriage equality advertising campaign, their ads focus on straight allies, supportive relatives of LGBT couples, or members of the political class: hardly ever do we see affected couples.

This was the strength at the heart of the plaintiffs’ argument in the Prop 8 federal case: in Judge Vaughn Walker’s courtroom, we got to know the two couples as if they were neighbors or work mates. And America learned they are just like everyone else.

This ad takes a novel approach: the camera is on only one member of the couple in a budding (and then committed) relationship until the very last frame. We see them meet, date, grow together, live life precious and mundane, then visit family and — finally — propose. It could be any couple; it could be a diamond ad, a travel commercial, it could be selling insurance. Try to imagine how this ad, or one like it, might play on the American airwaves, especially for viewers who don’t know how it turns out or even what it’s for.

Would it catch your attention? Would it change minds? Would it engage voters on the fence?

Oh — and would you like a tissue?

Happy Thanksgiving from the Prop 8 Plaintiffs!

5:27 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

The American Foundation for Equal Rights sent along this wonderful video from Prop 8 Plaintiffs Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo. I wanted to share these two families’ best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving. I think their very simple wishes for this holiday illustrate how all families are the same: our hopes and dreams, and our rights and responsibilities.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rep John L Lewis Joins 100+ House Members to Define Dissent from Boehner’s DOMA Effort

2:41 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

Rep. John L. Lewis, D-GA (photo: Philocrites)

Congressman John Lewis (D_GA), who knows a thing or two about the civil rights struggle firsthand, has joined 110 of his House colleagues in a brief opposing John Boehner‘s expensive legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DODOMA).

“The stories of people in long-term relationships who are denied the right to act on their partners’ final requests are heartbreaking,” Lewis said in a press statement today. “If a state provides the right for gay and lesbian citizens to marry, the federal government should not bar their ability to receive any of the rights and privileges given to any other married citizen.

“To do so seems discriminatory on its face. We must get to the place in our society where we see beyond our own biases and accept each other as one human family,” Lewis said.

Lewis and his fellow briefers made clear they will file in any court Boehner intervenes in to defend DOMA in order to correct any misapprehension that the Speaker speaks for the entire House in this case:

Some 110 members of Congress have submitted an amicus brief “to indicate that the Boehner suit does not represent the views of the entire House, and that the legislative body is in fact split on this issue,” the press release from Lewis states.

Why We Call It “Marriage Equality”

1:55 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

(photo: bugmonkey)

The correct term for the goal same-sex couples are fighting for — the recognition of our intimate unions by the state on the same terms, entirely, of the relationships of opposite-sex couples — is “Marriage Equality.” There’s actually no such thing as “Gay Marriage,” which is the preferred term of American homobigots, sometimes accompanied by the disparaging prefix so-called. Besides ensuring fundamental accuracy — we want Equal access to Civil Marriage as it’s defined by the state — one recent poll in one state indicates why the better words are actually the politically smart, and popular, words.

Fifty-two percent of New Jersey voters believe same-sex marriages should be legal, according to today’s Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

While it is very heartening that a clear majority of Garden State voters support same-sex marriages, here’s the framing argument:

Support for legalizing gay marriage jumps to 61 percent when the issue is framed in terms of “marriage equality,” the favored description of advocates for same-sex couples.

A nine-point jump in favorability; and a twelve-point drop in opposition:

Almost four-in-10 respondents (39 percent) oppose legalizing gay marriage while 9 percent are unsure. Twenty-seven percent are against marriage equality, while 3 percent are unfamiliar with the term and 9 percent have no opinion.

Don’t call yourself a proponent of “gay marriage” or an advocate for “same-sex unions.” Don’t say you want to “legalize gay marriage.” Instead, tell people you favor Marriage Equality. It’s the far more accurate term for what we want and deserve. And it polls much better, too — probably because most patriotic Americans do not oppose equality in any form!

Marriage Equality is the right way to describe what we want. Use this more accurate (and less loaded) term, and you’ll find more allies with you for Marriage Equality wherever you go.

God to Pope: Quit Yer “Gay Marriage” Whining Already

2:23 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

God

God by iandavid

 

Sounds like a higher authority shut down Bennie Ratz’s one-man-one-woman nonsense during his Spanish Rainbow Tour:

Madrid – Pope Benedict XVI warned in a speech to more than one million pilgrims in Madrid that marriage is between a man and a woman and cannot be dissolved.

The 84-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church had to cut short the speech, when powerful winds and sheets of rain struck at a vast air base, whipping off his skullcap, shaking the stage and knocking over at least one tent.

God’s #1 Planetary Dude fled the platform hatless in the face of God’s actual, you know, wrath. No word on his purse or Prada slippers.

Unicorn Booty offers this analysis:

In a gesture that surely could only have been intended to say, “STFU,” God whipped up a surprise wind storm and knocked the hat right off of the pope’s smarmy head. The tumultuous weather shook the stage and knocked over a tent, literally forcing the pope to abandon his bigoted speech halfway through to seek shelter.

My sainted paternal grandmother had a phrase for this, when one of us would be bothering another grandchild about something that wasn’t any of our business: Tend Your Own Affairs. It actually got abbreviated in our family to TYAO.

Bennie Ratz should.

h/t Timothy Beauchamp

DOJ to Federal Court: Grant Edith Windsor Her Refund, DOMA is Unconstitutional

3:32 pm in Uncategorized by Teddy Partridge

… and the walls come tumbling down: The Department of Justice yesterday asked a federal District Court to grant Edith Windsor her estate tax refund because the section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that required her to pay $351,000 on her deceased same-sex spouse’s estate is unconstitutional.

Back on July 1, the Department of Justice took a big step in defining what its Feb. 23 decision that the federal definition of marriage found in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional would look like. In Karen Golinski’s case seeking equal health benefits for her wife, DOJ argued that the case should not be tossed out of court and should be allowed to proceed.

On Aug. 19, DOJ went a step further, telling a judge in the Southern District of New York that Edith Windsor — who is seeking a refund of the more than $350,000 estate tax bill that she had to pay because her marriage to her deceased wife, Thea Spyer, was not recognized by the federal government — should be granted that refund because DOMA’s federal definition of marriage is unconstitutional.

This is the first affirmation by the federal Department of Justice that a case brought against DOMA should succeed because Section 3 is unconstitutional.

In concluding its brief filed on Friday in Windsor’s case, DOJ — led by Assistant Attorney General Tony West and signed by DOJ senior trial counsel Jean Lin — argues, “Section 3 of DOMA fails heightened scrutiny, and this Court should deny the motions to dismiss Plaintiff’s constitutional claim and grant Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment.”

This is a very exciting step forward for married same-sex couples everywhere who seek to be treated the same as other married couples by our federal government.

In many of the federal appellate circuits across the country, the courts have ruled at some point on the level of scrutiny to be applied to classifications based on sexual orientation. In Friday’s filing, however, DOJ notes — as Holder had noted on Feb. 23 — “The Second Circuit has not ruled on the appropriate level of scrutiny for sexual orientation classifications.” The Second Circuit includes New York, where Windsor filed her case, and Connecticut, where the GLAD Pedersen case was filed.

DOJ’s Aug. 19 brief then lays out its case for heightened scrutiny to apply to sexual orientation classifications, arguing that “careful consideration of the factors the Supreme Court has identified as relevant to the inquiry demonstrates that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny.”

Of course, John Boehner’s Bi-Partisan Legal Advisory Group’s (BLAG) objections still stand in the way of this case:

In addition to DOJ’s filing, Windsor’s lawyers also filed a response to BLAG, arguing in part that DOMA should be found unconstitutional — even should the court decide that rational basis applies.

The court had set a timeline earlier this year for exchange of evidence among the parties and for the briefing that took another step forward on Friday. BLAG’s reply is due by Sept. 2.