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The Latest Wrinkle in the Prop 8 Trial

DOMA Repeal Marriage equality Prop 8 trial Videos

The post is later than usual this week, which is my fault -Adam

By Matt Baume

A new twist in the Prop 8 case, with a court date coming just days after a controversial new judge is expected to join the Supreme Court. New York launches its own attack on the Defense of Marriage Act, and polling brings mostly good news, and a little bad.

Well that didn’t take very long. After just one day of marriage equality, New York has jumped into the legal fight to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. The state Attorney General filed documents last week, explaining that DOMA prevents New York from providing equal protection to gay and lesbian couples.

Now, this isn’t a new case against DOMA. They’re just backing up an existing case, Windsor vs United States. But because New York is one of the most populous states in the country, they bring significant weight in the form of thousands of newly married LGBTs.

On a national level, Americans narrowly support marriage equality in New York. A national survey shows support for the state’s newly enacted law at 50% to 46%. And separate study, conducted jointly by pollsters for both Obama and Republican candidates, shows that national support for marriage equality is increasing at an exponential rate.

Our numbers are just shy of a majority in New Jersey, but we still have a plurality. A survey there shows 47% support marriage equality, with 42% opposing. We also have strong bi-partisan support, with 77% of Republicans supporting some form of recognition, despite Governor Christie continued refusal to afford equal protection to his LGBT constituents.

Across the country in Montana, a new survey shows 53% support civil unions. The state bans marriage, and although there’s no provision in the law for civil unions, there’s also nothing that would prevent them.

And continuing west, the California Supreme Court announced this week that they’ll hear arguments in the Prop 8 case on September 6th. Now, you might be thinking, didn’t they already do that? And the answer is “yes. It’s complicated.”

The California Supreme Court did hear arguments regarding Prop 8. But in a different case. And the issue before them now is extremely narrow,and actually doesn’t have anything to do with marriage or LGBTs. The only issue they’re examining is whether the anti-gay Prop 8 proponents have a right to represent California laws in court. That’s usually only the job of the Attorney General, since she’s the one who administers the laws; but in this case, the proponents want to push her aside and do it themselves.

And now there’s a brand new twist. Governor Jerry Brown just appointed a new judge to the Supreme Court. Goodwin Liu will probably be sitting by September 6th. He’s known for speaking out in favor of LGBT civil rights, so it’s anyone’s guess how he’ll approach this particular issue.

Turning to international news, a disappointing new survey shows that 55% of Brazilians oppose civil unions. Meanwhile in Columbia, the nation’s Constitutional Court has set a deadline of two years for the legislature to figure out how to recognize gay and lesbian couples. Cuba is studying civil unions, with a specific proposal expected in early 2012. And Australia’s census will count gay and lesbian marriages for the first time in early August. The government there still doesn’t recognize those marriages, but at least now they’ll know how many couples they’re hurting.

Those are the headlines, visit us over at for more, and visit to get breaking news and alerts right on your wall. See you next week.


  • 1. David Henderson  |  August 3, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    It may be small, but this week we're up to 9 US jurisdictions which recognize marriage equality: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, the Coquille tribe (Oregon), Vermont, New Hampshire, D.C., New York, and the newest location: the Suquamish tribe (Washington).

    Source: "US tribe approves same-sex marriage", MSNBC.

  • 2. Alan_Eckert  |  August 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Just posting to follow commentary. This is old news at this point.

  • 3. Ronnie  |  August 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Subscribing and sharing……

    Nelsan Ellis (True Blood) says "It Gets Better"……….<3…Ronnie:
    [youtube NKnrBjtnxpw&feature=view_all&list=PLE5718B7AFD6342EE&index=159 youtube]

  • 4. EricKoszyk  |  August 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Living in Seattle as I do, this is even greater news. It could be a big deal since my state does not have marriage equality yet but we do have an "anything but marriage" law, which of course will become a big issue once DOMA is overturned.

    I often wonder why national LGBT groups don't go into Native American communities and organize to get more tribal governments to legalize same sex marriage. It seems like it would be a great resource to get these somewhat sovereign governments on board. Especially when many tribes have a long history of recognizing same sex relationships, at least before Christianity's influence emerged. (think: "Little Big Man")

    Not only would some of these tribes probably join lawsuits against DOMA but if more Americans knew the history of individual tribes, it would do a lot to dispel the notion that governmentally recognized same sex unions have never existed until just recently.

  • 5. Seth from Maryland  |  August 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    the year just keeps getting better

  • 6. Kate  |  August 3, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    COLOMBIA, folks; we're talking South America, not British Columbia…….

  • 7. DaveP  |  August 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Yup. Chile is working on marriage equality too.

    When Mexico City started performing same sex marriages, with Canada already doing so to the north, Steven Colbert exclaimed in mock alarm ; "America! We're the straight meat in a big gay sandwich!!" : )

  • 8. Ronnie  |  August 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I just got an email from Equality Forum ( ) with the list of the 2011 LGBT History Month Icons:

    Kye Allums (Athlete), John Ashberry (Poet), Alison Bechdel (Cartoonist), John Berry (Government Official), Dustin Lance Black (Screenwriter), Keith Boykin (Commentator), Rita Mae Brown (Author), Dan Choi (Activist), Aaron Copland (Composer), Alan Cumming (Actor), Denise Eger (Rabbi), Lady Gaga (Singer), Michael Guest (Diplomat), Neil Patrick Harris (Actor), Daniel Hernandez Jr. (Hero), Langston Hughes (Author), Frida Kahlo (Artist), David Kato (Ugandan Activist), Michael Kirby (Supreme Court Justice), Victoria Kolakowski (Judge), Dave Kopay (Athlete), Ricky Martin (Singer), Amelie Mauresmo (Athlete), Constance McMillen (Youth Activist), Ryan Murphy (Writer, Director), Dan Savage (Journalist, Author), Amanda Simpson (Government Official), Wanda Sykes (Comedian, Actress), Lilli Vincenz (Gay Pioneer), Virgina Woolf (Author), & Pedro Zamora (AIDS Activist, MTV Personality).

    If you didn't already know, October is LGBT History Month & each day in October the website ( will release a new video featuring one of the icons.

    Here is the preview video…… <3…Ronnie:
    [youtube jyBipNNp4S8 youtube]

  • 9. Carpool_Cookie  |  August 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I mentioned this story here yesterday, and got it added to the wikipedia entry, too. It's even in the lede section (i.e., the first paragraph.)

    I put this comment on the article's Discussion Page, which are always a hoot to read:

    "Neato-o. It's interesting that as some American Indian tribes recognized same sex unions before the appearance of the Pilgrims, some of them are reverting back to those appreciations as they get further from the sort of Christian "missionary work" whites imposed on their culture. And on the topic of Same Sex Marriages in the United States, what's more inherently American than Native American Indians? ~~~~ "

  • 10. Andrew  |  August 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Dear Adam:

    I went to vote for Courage Campaign today in the Refresh Everything competition. I doesn't look like we're up there at all this month. Are we competing or not?

  • 11. Matthew  |  August 3, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Amid all this great news we've been having I have some sad news I wanted to share with the community.

    I don't post all that often, but I am here almost every day keeping up with everyone and using this forum as a source of information, news and (usually) celebration of the victories in the long fight for equality. So I feel close to this community.

    My mother passed away yesterday morning. She was one of the kindest people I ever knew, and she was very supportive of me and my partner. She treated my partner like family and never thought of us as anything but husbands. She was also a devout Christian and she believed in her heart that God loves his GLBT children just as much as anyone. She wasn't perfect, but she always tried to do right by people and she was loved. As I sit here typing this through my tears, I don't think it has even fully settled in yet that she is gone. I was talking about her to a complete stranger just a few hours before I got the news. She was a registered nurse in Tennessee for 30 years. Sometimes a poor patient couldn't afford a visit, and I remember riding in the car as a child while she visited them after her shift . She visited us just a few weeks ago and she kept telling us how proud we made her, and pestering us about wanting us to adopt her a grand-child. She made me proud too, and she will be missed.

  • 12. Sarah  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I hope you are able to find some peace in the days and weeks ahead, Matthew.

  • 13. Str8Grandmother  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    You have my deepest condolences. I bet she was a great lady she sure made a heck of a nice son. I am sincerely sorry for your loss.

  • 14. Gregory in SLC  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    ((Hugs)) to you Matthew and your family….Thank you for sharing your grief and thank you to your mom for her support of our community.

  • 15. Chris in Lathrop  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Terrible news, Matthew! :( I am so sorry for the loss of your mother. She sounds like a wonderful lady. Thank you for sharing with us all!

  • 16. Kate  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    She sounds wonderful. I wish I had known her.

  • 17. Fr. Bill  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    My deepest sympathy for your loss. The loss is very real – but so is the love she gave to you and others. That remains in you for you to pass onto others. She sounds like a real Christian to me.

  • 18. Sagesse  |  August 3, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    NOM whining that Al Franken ‘ambushed’ Tom Minnery during DOMA hearing

    What surprised me about Al Franken is that a Senator (and his staff) did the work to call a witness on their misrepresentations. Usually, the legislators listen politely, if a little uncomfortably, when opposition witnesses mangle the facts and the truth, but they don't challenge their arguments. It's a welcome change, and maybe one that will catch on.

  • 19. Sagesse  |  August 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    This is why marriage equality has to come, and why DOMA has to go.

    Same-Sex Marriage Fight at Heart of Cozen O'Connor Benefits Case

  • 20. Sagesse  |  August 3, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    North Carolina Gay Marriage Ban Amendment To Be Considered In Special Session;…

  • 21. Rich  |  August 3, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Matthew, I will remember your mom as one of the heros in October's LGBT history month. You have every right to be the proudest son in the world right now. Blessings to you and your partner. Mothers like yours become our angels to guide us.

  • 22. Adam Bink  |  August 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm


    Thanks for asking. First, the contest is over for the month of July. There is one round each month.

    Second, we did not place in July. It was a combination of the rest of the world getting as many Power Vote Codes as possible, and that we changed our vote widget in the third week and had a lot of tech problems with that. With some groups, we found they literally collected hundreds of Power Vote Codes, worth up to 100 votes each, over a period of six months, then entered the contest and kicked some butt. It's a smart strategy, though there's not much "people power" behind it. We were wondering why there were, say, dog kennel organizations ahead of us. We asked and found out.

    We did win $50,000 in June, though, and we plan to compete later in the year. Thanks for voting!

  • 23. Sheryl_Carver  |  August 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    My deepest sympathy to you & your husband, Matthew. Both of my parents passed many years ago, & I know how long it can take before the reality can be completely accepted. Your mother sounds like she was a terrific person as well as a wonderful parent. She certainly raised a great son.

  • 24. Carpool Cookie  |  August 3, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I'm glad you had such a good relationship with her, and I'm sorry you've lost someone you love : (

    Best wishes – –

  • 25. Sheryl, Mormon Mom  |  August 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    So sorry to hear of your loss. You will always have her in your heart.

  • 26. Sheryl_Carver  |  August 3, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    OT: NOM's new bus tour "Join us in Iowa next week for the Values Voters Bus Tour!"

    You'd think they would have learned from the last one, but looks like they're at it again, starting Monday, Aug 8th.

  • 27. _BK_  |  August 4, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Interesting, but I wonder how those tribes would respond to outsiders attempting to influence their politics and government. If we had LGBTs or supporters of marriage equality inside the tribe, it would be great if we somehow managed to get them involved. Wonderful development, though!

  • 28. _BK_  |  August 4, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Yes, yes it does. : ) Support of marriage equality is climbing exponentially, and it looks like positive developments are occurring at an ever-increasing rate as well. Just think… we still have four more months in 2011! The years are getting better.

  • 29. _BK_  |  August 4, 2011 at 2:31 am

    NOM's articles rants have become stranger and stranger. I facepalm myself far too often when visiting their site. Some people have seen the light, but others seem to have irremovable blinders.

  • 30. _BK_  |  August 4, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Yeah! Another NOM bus tour fail! Imagine if HRC's bus tour decided to take a detour to meet up with NOM… That would be insane. Can't wait for some hilarious footage, Trackers!

  • 31. Sagesse  |  August 4, 2011 at 5:19 am

    When does political power become political power?

    Think tanks says movement needs more money and focus

  • 32. Gregory in SLC  |  August 4, 2011 at 5:20 am

    F.U. Daklin! Kind!? How kind is DOMA !?!? GRRrrrrrrrr!

    @ I can only hope that if I did have to testify before the Senate, whoever was questioning me would be kind

  • 33. Gregory in SLC  |  August 4, 2011 at 5:36 am

    Death to DOMA! UGH! : (
    Every day I feel like DOMA chokes me and husband a little more each day….I'm mostly optimistic but this morning I feel like screaming @ all the bigots….AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

  • 34. Gregory in SLC  |  August 4, 2011 at 5:45 am

    UGH x2 @ Paul Stam! Hugs to Richard and Bz…hoping if does go to a vote NC will defeat it!

  • 35. Gregory in SLC  |  August 4, 2011 at 5:55 am

    we get these kind of un-CHRISTIAN proposals in Utah too : (

    but all is not bad:

  • 36. Ronnie  |  August 4, 2011 at 6:15 am

    "American Psychological Association Policymaking Body Votes 157-0 to Support Marriage Equality"

    AWESOME!!!….. EQUALITY NOW!!!!!!….. <3…Ronnie

  • 37. Gregory in SLC  |  August 4, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Rick Santorum? Tony Perkins? Calling for Arisha! could be "fun" : D

  • 38. Ronnie  |  August 4, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Rudolf Brazda, Last Known 'Pink Triangle' Holocaust Survivor, Has Died at 98

    "Rudolf was sleeping peacefully in his sleep at dawn on August 3, he resided since last June in a hospital for the dependent elderly in Bantry (Haut-Rhin)," according to his entourage. The funeral of the man of Czech origin naturalized French in 1960 will be held Monday in Mulhouse, said the funeral.

    "In accordance with his will, his remains will be cremated and his ashes placed alongside those of his life partner of more than 50 years, Edward Mayer, who died in 2003 in Mulhouse," add friends.

    (me) Mr. Brazda was a true survivor. His courageous story will always be remembered & it will be taught. Rest in peace our brother in Freedom.

    Here is the video of his interview in October of 2010 telling his story………. <3…Ronnie:
    [youtube x-1uFsOXWhQ youtube]

  • 39. Gregory in SLC  |  August 4, 2011 at 7:06 am

    : D I'm back to smiling now. Thanks and ((HUGS)) Sagesse!

  • 40. Carpool Cookie  |  August 4, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Yes, the recent decision was made because a lesbian Native American brought the issue before her tribe's Council. She said she doesn't plan on marrying anyone right now, but she'd like to think she may, some day.

    Or I can just drop by and say "Hey, listen to me! I'm one 50th Sioux!"

  • 41. Carpool Cookie  |  August 4, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Re: "@ I can only hope that if I did have to testify before the Senate, whoever was questioning me would be kind."

    The crazy thing is, Franken wasn't unkind. He was a lot more polite than a lot of people would be. He made him admit a falsehood…and then said he wasn't sure how much weight they should give any of his testimony, as the subject was "reading" findings incorrectly. He didn't call him an out-and-out liar or begin bellowing or anything. He shared his opinion of what was happening before him.

  • 42. Carpool Cookie  |  August 4, 2011 at 9:31 am

    PS: I know that quote isn't from you, it's from that whining conservative's article NOM linked to : )

  • 43. Carpool Cookie  |  August 4, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Your fuzzy little Spring Chick avatar still makes me smile, BTW!

  • 44. _BK_  |  August 4, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Yeah. It would be nice if we had a way to reach out to the Native American communities, but without creating a feel of intrusion. We really need more people like that Suquamish woman! She's a great example of how just one person can make a difference in the people around them.

  • 45. Gregory in SLC  |  August 4, 2011 at 11:40 am

    good point! In reminiscing of 1 yr anniversary of prop8 verdict, I listened to something from Senator Orin Hatch about Judge Walker….now that was harsh… Franken could give him etiquette lessons!

  • 46. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  August 4, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Big hugs Matthew

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