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Marriage Actions Spreading in Southern States

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By Matt Baume

The California Supreme Court hands the Prop 8 Proponents one last defeat. Marriage efforts pick up all across the south, with marriage counter actions starting this week. And a terminally ill man in Ohio gets an extension on a ruling that protected his marriage — but the ruling still isn’t permanent.

At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume, and welcome to Marriage News Watch for August 19, 2013.

Rest easy — marriage is safe in California. After our victory at the Supreme Court, the Prop 8 proponents made one final last-ditch effort to keep the marriage ban in place. But as expected, it didn’t work. The California Supreme Court rejected their challenge, and marriage is here to stay.

Now we can really turn our attention to the remaining states that don’t yet have the freedom to marry. The Campaign for Southern Equality is launching a tour of the south, starting in North Carolina, with LGBT couples requesting marriage licenses all across the region.

The very first action will take place this week, August 21st, in Madison County, North Carolina. Follow their We Do campaign at SouthernEquality.org.

There’s some squabbling in Florida, where nearly a dozen equality organizations are pushing back against a Republican’s pro-equality ballot measure. Strategist Tim Mooney launched Equal Marriage Florida, as well as Equal Marriage Arizona, earlier this summer, with the goal of putting marriage on the ballot in 2014.

But eleven South Florida equality groups have released a statement condemning the effort. They pointed out that polling in Florida indicates that more public outreach is needed before there’s a popular vote. While recent surveys show an encouraging trend, support is still just barely tracking at fifty percent.

This past week saw progress in several marriage lawsuits. A judge in New Jersey heard arguments in a case to overturn that state’s marriage ban. Additional briefs are due on August 28th, and we aren’t likely to get a ruling until late September at the earliest.

Litigation continues in Utah and in Pennsylvania. Officials in both states submitted briefs last week in separate lawsuits challenging those states’ marriage bans.

And a judge in Ohio has extended an order that required the state to acknowledge a gay couple’s out-of-state marriage. One of the men has late-stage Lou Gehrig’s disease, and wants his death certificate to record him as married, rather than single. A ruling that ensured the couple’s marriage recognition was initially set to expire this month, but now will continue until the end of the year. Litigation continues in that case, with oral arguments set for December 18th.

We’re tracking marriage efforts in these and dozens of other states. Subscribe here on YouTube and at AFER.org to get the latest on all these stories. At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume. See you next week.

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