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DOMA Defenders Finally Give Up

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By Matt Baume

Marriage equality is the law of the land throughout California, with at least one county setting a marriage license record. House Republicans will stop defending federal bans on recognizing LGBT couples. There’s a new lawsuit in Arkansas and strong new polls in Virginia and New Jersey. And marriage equality spreads to England, Wales and Colombia.

Official estimates from California’s Santa Clara County indicate that they’ve broken their record for the most number of marriage licenses issued in a single day. They issued 149 licenses on July 5th, bringing the weekly total to 381.

The Prop 8 Proponents are still trying to find a way to undo their decisive loss. But this week the California Supreme Court refused their request to halt weddings. Although their challenge hasn’t been thrown out altogether, it’s pretty clear at this point that marriage equality is here to stay.

Meanwhile, at the federal level, House Republicans have suspended their defense of regulations that, like DOMA, prohibit recognition of LGBT couples. This comes after the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group spent millions on dollars on a failed attempt to defend DOMA. The most immediate impact will be felt in a lawsuit concerning veterans benefits.

There’s another lawsuit challenging the marriage ban in Arkansas. This one’s in federal court, and names the Governor and Attorney General as defendants. This is distinct from a separate lawsuit filed last week in state court. Just like AFER’s case against Prop 8, both suits cite the equal protection and due process clauses of the US Constitution as a basis for overturning the state’s marriage ban.

We have some more good news in the polls this week. In Virginia, Quinnipiac and HRC polls put support for marriage in the low 50s with opposition about 10 points behind. That’s a reversal of public opinion just two years ago.

And a Quinnipiac poll in New Jersey is even stronger, with 60 percent support to 31 percent opposed.

Major international news this week: marriage equality has been legalized in England and Wales, although a one-year waiting period means that marriages won’t start until the middle of 2014. Scotland is about a year behind, with legislation still in the works but likely to be signed next year.

And a judge in Colombia has ordered the country to recognize the marriage of a gay couple planning to wed this week. The ruling comes amidst confusion and dispute over exactly what the law requires in that country, following a series of court rulings and legislative fights.

Those are the headlines. Remember to subscribe here on YouTube for the latest updates. And share this video so we can keep marriage equality in the public eye as we work to overturn bans from coast to coast.

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