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Prop 8 Star Witness Switches Sides


By Matt Baume

One of the star witness who testified in favor of Prop 8 has switched sides, joining the majority of Americans who support the freedom to marry. Also this week, there’s yet another DOMA lawsuit, more encouraging surveys in battleground states, and new ads Minnesota.

This week we’re happy to welcome a brand new marriage equality supporter to our side: David Blankenhorn. He was one of the two witnesses who testified in favor of Prop 8 at the trial back in 2010. But now he’s joined our side, with a New York Times op-ed that says, “legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness.”

We couldn’t agree more, and we’re glad to welcome Blankenhorn to the winning side of the fight for equality.

The other major headline this week is a new lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. That comes out of New York, and involves a medical center that won’t extend health care benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian employees. DOMA has already been ruled unconstitutional several times, but pending appeals have delayed a final ruling on its constitutionality. This week New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced that they’ll file a brief in support of one of those cases.

But on the other side of the battle, a Congressional legal body announced that they’ll move quickly to defend DOMA. The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, led by Speaker John Boehner, says that by the end of this week, it will ask the Supreme Court of the United States to review the case.

Turning to the states, a new survey in Colorado shows widespread support for civil unions. Fifty-six percent of Coloradans support a civil union measure, with just 38 percent upposed. That’s a bit of a slide from April, when the same survey showed support for the bill at 62 percent and opposition at 32 percent. The bill was that was defeated last month but will almost certainly be back in next year’s session.

There’s good news in Washington, where a new survey shows 51% support marriage equality to 42% opposed. That nine-point lead is a big jump from last year, when marriage was only leading by 2 points. Voters will weigh in on the state’s new marriage equality law this November.

A fundraising surge in Minnesota has pro-equality groups announcing $3.1 million in fundraising for the first half of the year. That coincides with the launch of new online ads for the campaign to stop that state’s anti-gay amendment. The ads feature families talking about the importance of equality, similar to videos that ran in North Carolina, Maine, and California.

In international news, a survey in Scotland shows 64% support marriage equality, with 26% opposed. The government there is expected to release the results of a consultation on marriage equality later this week. Meanwhile, the Mormon church’s area authority in Europe has spoken out, urging members to “protect and promote marriage, as the union of one man and one woman.”

And a vote on marriage may be coming sooner than expected in Australia. The two competing bills there had been heading for a vote by the end of the year, but now the Labor party is moving toward a vote in August. We’ll be following the situation there closely over the next few months.


  • 1. Sagesse  |  June 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm


  • 2. Carpool Cookie  |  June 25, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    "But on the other side of the battle, a Congressional legal body announced that they’ll move quickly to defend DOMA. The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, led by Speaker John Boehner, says that by the end of this week, it will ask the Supreme Court of the United States to review the case."

    I still want to know what their budget is for their defense. Have they overspent already? One of the reasons to not fight losing battles in court is the INCREDIBLE LEGAL EXPENSE involved. Do they think the're going to step in on every DOMA case??? Does everyone know HOW MUCH THAT WOULD COST?? And it's handled by outside counsel….not legal defense that's generated by the government.

    I don't want to pay for that : (

  • 3. Str8Grandmother  |  June 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Maggie Gallagher has a new piece out about Blankenhorn.
    Somebody might want to put this in quick hits

  • 4. Gregory in SLC  |  June 25, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    good suggestion. Done:

  • 5. Jamie  |  June 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Glad to see Minnesota continuing to use the same marketing approaches that lost the battles in California, Maine and North Carolina. Maybe the fourth times a charm?

  • 6. Gregory in SLC  |  June 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    I cringed @ that a bit too.

  • 7. Fluffyskunk  |  June 28, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Equality Campaign used Sad Piano Music!

    It's not very effective…

  • 8. Mike in Baltimore  |  June 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    In many ways, my paternal grandfather had an enormous influence on me – maybe not in ways that are that easy for some others to see, though.

    In World War II, my grandfather had two sons in the conflict – one of my uncles was stationed in Italy, fighting the Germans, and my father was in the Navy in the Pacific (his ship led the original Magic Carpet Ride, transporting troops from Japan to the West Coast after the war). Even in the mid-1950s, he stopped speaking to anyone who bought a VW or other German vehicle, ate a pizza, or bought anything Japanese.

    Blankenhorn might now be mouthing platitudes that sound pleasing to some people's ears, but he hasn't really proven himself as any friend of mine. He might no longer be a bitter enemy, but he is definitely NOT my friend yet. Some day he might be a friend, but he has to prove it first.

  • 9. Clark  |  June 26, 2012 at 2:16 am

    I think it's only a matter of time before NOM does a piece on FOX news about a new conspiracy theory.

    The theory that blankenhorne was really a plant for the equality side the whole time. And that somehow Obama and Eric holder and Olsen and boise invented gay marriage to take away the 1st amendment. They could call it 'Fast and Bi-Curious'. It could catch on 🙂

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