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Post-SCOTUS, marriage equality advocates look ahead to next steps

Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

San Francisco City Hall
Monica M. Davey/EPA

By Jacob Combs

After this week’s Supreme Court decisions striking down DOMA and restoring marriage equality to California, LGBT advocates are looking ahead–and moving swiftly–to continue the push for equal marriage rights nationwide.

The New York Times has a good overview today on the future of the movement, noting that–given the Supreme Court’s decision not to rule on the constitutionality of California’s marriage equality ban itself–the battle for equal marriage rights will likely take place on the state level for the foreseeable future.

Yesterday, the ACLU announced that it was hiring Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, to spearhead a $10 million campaign over the next four years to pursue marriage equality in states like Illinois, Oregon, Hawaii, New Mexico and others.

In Pennsylvania, out gay state Rep. Brian Sims plans to introduce a marriage equality bill in the state legislature, saying that the Supreme Court rulings “helped light the fire under my colleagues to do it now.”  Pennsylvania lacks other legal protections for LGBT individuals.

In Arkansas, the LGBT rights group Arkansans for Equality yesterday submitted language for a proposed ballot initiative that will repeal the state’s 2004 constitutional amendment against marriage equality.  The initiative would go before voters during the 2014 election, although another measure (perhaps in 2016) would be needed to bring equal marriage rights to the state.

On the legal side, Scottie has coverage of the pending Ninth Circuit consideration of the Sevcik and Jackson legal challenges from Nevada and Hawaii, respectively.

A few other cases are pending in the lower courts.  In Michigan, a district court judge will likely issue a ruling on a lesbian couple’s challenge to the state’s marriage equality ban in a case that was held pending the Supreme Court’s decisions.

And in New Mexico, a couple which earlier this month filed a district court suit seeking a marriage license has shifted its focus to the state’s Supreme Court in an effort to achieve a speedier resolution.  New Mexico has no laws prohibiting or denying marriage equality, and the couple’s suit contends that the state’s Equal Rights Amendment guarantees them equal marriage rights under the New Mexico Constitution.

If you see any other news of  states moving ahead with marriage equality after Wednesday’s decision, let us know in the comments or drop us a line!

1 Comment

  • 1. chad  |  June 28, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    I’m getting irked every time I see the Pennsylvania story because it focuses on the ‘gay’ state rep, and ignores or minimizes ‘straight’ state senator Daylin Leach who introduced a marriage bill in the senate and has been the biggest voice for LGBT Pennsylvanians in our government for years.

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