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Republican Leader Joins Marriage Equality Movement


By Matt Baume

A Republican icon comes out in support of marriage equality. We’ve had a sting of major marriage wins in the last few months, but now anti-gay groups will keep trying to tear those victories down in a series of hearings. Support for marriage equality is picking up in conservative states, a terminally ill woman in Indiana is one step closer to getting her marriage recognized, and we have more lawsuits on the horizon in the south.

Former Senator Alan Simpson is a Republican icon in Wyoming. And now he’s also one of the state’s leading advocates for the freedom to marry. In a new ad, Simpson explains his support for marriage equality: “whether you’re gay or lesbian or straight, if you love someone and you want to marry them, marry them.”

There’s pending litigation in Wisconsin state court, but legislative attempts to pass marriage equality bills have failed in the last few sessions. Public support for marriage in Wyoming is surprisingly strong, at 57% support to 32% opposed.

Utah had a huge win for equality last December, but now that victory’s getting put to the test. Last week lawyers for both sides were grilled by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments seemed to go well. Next, we’ll have another round of arguments on Thursday of this week, this time covering a recent victory in Oklahoma. We could get a ruling on both cases at any time in the next few weeks. And then it’s on to the US Supreme Court.

But while we wait for a ruling in those cases, yet another federal Judge has ruled against a state marriage ban. This time it was Indiana, and the ruling only applies to one couple: Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, who were married in Massachusetts, and need recognition in their home state due to Quasney’s ovarian cancer.

Opposition to marriage equality in Louisiana is dropping faster than support is climbing, but support hasn’t reached a majority yet. It’s at 42%, with opposition dropping to 53%. At this rate it could still be several years before the state has majority support.

Polling numbers are much closer in North Carolina, with support at 40% to 53%. There’s also a new lawsuit in that state. Three couples are suing North Carolina in federal court. That case joins a lawsuit filed in 2012 by six other couples.

And keep an eye on Georgia. We may see a lawsuit there as well. Georgia’s one of the last states left with no marriage litigation, but this week organizers hinted that they’ll have a big announcement soon.

Those are the headlines. Subscribe on Youtube to stay up to dat on all these stories. For the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next week.


  • 1. JayJonson  |  April 14, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    "Opposition to marriage equality in Louisiana is dropping faster than support is climbing, but support hasn’t reached a majority yet. It’s at 42%, with opposition dropping to 53%. At this rate it could still be several years before the state has majority support.
    Polling numbers are much closer in North Carolina, with support at 40% to 53%. There’s also a new lawsuit in that state. Three couples are suing North Carolina in federal court. That case joins a lawsuit filed in 2012 by six other couples."

    Am I missing something? How are polling number much closer in North Carolina that Louisiana? In LA, 42% support marriage equality and 53% oppose it. In NC, 40% support marriage equality and 53% oppose it.

  • 2. Zack12  |  April 14, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    No idea but either way, the only way equality is coming to LA is the same way it had to come for so many other issues, through the courts.

  • 3. Guest  |  April 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I don't think public support really matters because the power of the federal judicial opinions is what manifests reality. Also, I would bet on the outcome of sleeping with a cobra over equality coming from the voters. I believe the vast majority of AmeriKan voters are too dumb to deal with our rights. In addition to that, our rights are not for anyone to grant or take away. With a sense of irony, we've always had them.

  • 4. SoCal_Dave  |  April 14, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I had the same head-shaking huh? moment, Jay. But re-reading it, I am guessing that the NC comment is not related to the LA comment. I think he is saying "Polling numbers are much closer [than they used to be] in North Carolina…"

  • 5. Mike in Baltimore  |  April 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Maybe what the author is saying is that ME will probably never come to Louisiana through a vote, but only through the courts. And since Louisiana is in the 5th Circuit, it would not be until a case reaches SCOTUS and SCOTUS rules in our favor.

    In North Carolina, there is a better probability (how much, I'm not sure) for ME to be achieved through a vote than in Louisiana. After all, there is movement in our direction in the polling.

    What course of action will bring ME to NC faster? Probably through the courts, but that is not a given.

  • 6. KarlS  |  April 14, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    "sting of…victories", or "string"?

  • 7. Straight Ally #3008  |  April 14, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    For the anti-gay side, it's the sting. 😉

  • 8. KarlS  |  April 15, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    heehee…sort of a reverse Freudian slip.

  • 9. ebohlman  |  April 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    It's like "animus brief".

  • 10. Josh  |  April 14, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Wait, Utah is in the 10th circuit. Maybe Matt was thinking of MI in the 6th or I misread that.

    Regardless, I like his podcasts.

    I don't understand why articles keep saying the Kitchen case is the first time an appeals court has heard a marriage case. I must not understand the distinction, but the Prop8 case went through the 9th circuit court. Why is that not the first appeals court case?

  • 11. Mike in Baltimore  |  April 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    When SCOTUS ruled no one attempting to defend Prop H8 at the 9th Circuit Court or SCOTUS had standing, it voided the Circuit Court ruling, thus (technically) there was no ruling at the 9th Circuit.

    That means that no Circuit Court (if you don't count the 1st and 2nd Circuits [but they ruled specifically on DOMA, not ME itself] ) has ruled specifically on ME.

  • 12. FYoung  |  April 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    @Josh "…but the Prop8 case went through the 9th circuit court. Why is that not the first appeals court case?"

    I think they mean the first Circuit decision after the SCOTUS decision in Windsor and Prop 8.

    The very first Circuit court decision would be Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit (2006). There were also US Circuit court cases in 2012 (Gill, Windsor).

  • 13. Nyx  |  April 14, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    And of course you have the cases that bypassed the circuit courts. Baker v. Nelson, where Baker appealed a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling, and on October 10, 1972, the United States Supreme Court dismissed the appeal "for want of a substantial federal question."

  • 14. Nyx  |  April 14, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    But the difference between then and now… let me say in my best Edna Turnblad voice: "It's the times. They are a-changin. Something's blowing in the wind.".

  • 15. Dr. Z  |  April 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    And my diet pill is wearing off.

  • 16. Ragavendran  |  April 14, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Off-topic, but some news on the Texas appeal – the Plaintiffs in the De Leon v. Perry preliminary injunction appeal requested the Fifth Circuit to expedite the appeal, citing the fact that the Supreme Court issued the stay in Kitchen only after the Tenth Circuit expedited that appeal. They also note that "counsel for Appellants indicated that their clients oppose the relief requested herein but will not file a response."

  • 17. Mike in Baltimore  |  April 15, 2014 at 3:46 am

    In other news, from the Washington Post:

    'India’s top court recognizes third gender category'
    (… )

    I have no idea how this case will coincide with court decisions in India on ME, but it holds promise, IMO, especially since the court ruling included "The spirit of the (Indian) Constitution is to provide equal opportunity to every citizen to grow and attain their potential, irrespective of caste, religion or gender."

  • 18. Ragavendran  |  April 15, 2014 at 6:38 am

    Wow, this is such a landmark ruling indeed! My home state of Tamilnadu has long been recognizing limited transgender rights, but this ruling expands that significantly! I guess in India, unlike the US, the LGB movement is way behind the T movement. This doesn't directly imply anything for LGB equality, as the Court has expressly excluded them, but it nevertheless sets an important precedent! Yay! I wish the justices who handed down this ruling are included in the panel that is taking up the curative review petition regarding legalizing consensual homosexual sex.

  • 19. Rick O.  |  April 15, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Get ready to hit the thumb down; I can no longer keep my catty, inappropriate criticism of Baume to myself. His remarks appear frequently here, and on Huff Post, presumably because they are free? They are often wrong in the details, and they are always late. And while I myself am wearing Coscto jeans and ugly, manure stained shoes out in Douglas County, CO, I am NOT allowing photographs, let alone video, to leak out. Mr. Baume should be made aware that shirt labels that say "NO IRON" are a fable, like Santa Claus, and that media personalities do not shop for glasses in the Lion's Club donation barrel.

  • 20. StraightDave  |  April 15, 2014 at 5:34 am

    Seriously, Rick?!?!
    If you have such a hard time keeping "inappropriate criticism" to yourself, you might consider emigrating to a site that is much more accepting of your needs.


  • 21. Lee  |  April 15, 2014 at 6:18 am

    At least Matt is doing something positive and every one makes mistakes. My father use to say, if you can't say something nice about them don't say anything at all.

  • 22. davep  |  April 15, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Well excuuuuuuse me, mister Blackwell. I was not aware that the Equality On Trial 'fashion police' would be on patrol today.

  • 23. IHeartBaume  |  April 15, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Rick… why would you go out of your way to be unkind, and belittle someone for no relevant reason? This website, and the people I've come to know here (via their postings) have been a daily mainstay for me over the last 4-5 years (my bookmark still says "Prop8TrialTracker" 😉 ) and have been with me over all the vicissitudes of fortune we've faced as a community. Your self-described "catty, inappropriate" comments are unconstructive and willfully demeaning of people who've done you no harm, and who've done the rest of us a world of good. Shame on you.

  • 24. Rick O.  |  April 16, 2014 at 5:56 am

    I need to apologize to the readers and to Mr. Baume. I have read everyone's comments, and you are all right. Ragefirewolf's suggestion is the most pointedly helpful.

  • 25. davep  |  April 16, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Very good of you, Rick. Well done. +10

  • 26. Straight Ally #3008  |  April 16, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Well I'll be, I did hit the thumb down. Thanks, Carnac!

  • 27. Tony C.  |  April 15, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Matt does get his facts wrong…occasionally. He does have a great voice, but he does have a face (and wardrobe, and glasses) that should stick to radio. I listen w/o watching his video. Problem solved (except for the wrong facts thing).

  • 28. StraightDave  |  April 15, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Matt is a disseminator of useful information and commentary, not a "media personality". This isn't the freakin' Today Show. I happen to prefer real people rather than mannequins.

  • 29. JayJonson  |  April 15, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Matt does a good job of providing useful information. Because we follow ME developments much more closely than most people, we find his commentary a little dated by the time it appears. But for most people, these videos are very helpful. And, yes, it is inappropriate to make catty comments about his appearance, which I find pleasant.

  • 30. ragefirewolf  |  April 15, 2014 at 11:57 am

    How about you and Rick go back to Towleroad with the rest of the kiddies and you can both be bitter all you like. You're in adult land with adult conversations about things we actually should care about. Please either kindly go away or participate for real.

  • 31. Guest  |  April 23, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Rick and Tony are both correct insofar as there are incorrect facts in Matt's two most recent posts.

  • 32. KarlS  |  April 24, 2014 at 6:16 am

    What exactly is an "incorrect fact"?

  • 33. Brad  |  April 15, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Who cares how Matt dresses, and his information is correct….and if he happens to get something wrong (VERY RARELY) it matters little to me. Matt does a great job and good on him for working so hard at what he does for marriage equality.
    Go Matt!

  • 34. Mike in Baltimore  |  April 16, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    I'm always amazed at the ability of Matt to give the news, whether good or bad, in a calm, cool, manner, with almost no change of tone when giving good or bad news. (Granted, it's been quite some time since there has been 'poor' news, let alone 'bad' news.)

    It takes special skill to be able to not display a giddy attitude.

  • 35. jpmassar  |  April 15, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Louisiana: Where Getting Arrested for Gay Sex Has Been On the Books for 200 Yrs. And Will Remain So!

  • 36. Mike in Baltimore  |  April 15, 2014 at 10:27 pm


    The state where the state House is getting ready to vote to make the bibble the state book?

    Any news from that state almost always fails to make sense – it is so behind the times if they hurry, they might eventually get to the 20th Century sometime years from now in the 21st Century.

  • 37. Michael Grabow  |  April 16, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Meanhile, the Blog of New Orleans reports that GOP Rep. Valarie Hodges voted against revoking the anti-sodomy law because "yesterday was Passover and Friday is Good Friday."


  • 38. sfbob  |  April 16, 2014 at 8:41 am

    What a moron. It's Passover until sundown next Monday evening. So what's her point? Does she think Jesus is gonna smite Louisiana for changing its laws to comply with a Supreme Court ruling?

  • 39. StraightDave  |  April 16, 2014 at 9:37 am

    No, she means we can't be kind and considerate to our fellow citizens during a religious celebration. Conflict of interest, you know. Did I just say that? Must have been on autopilot. Oh, well……

  • 40. JayJonson  |  April 16, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Louisiana gets away with its nonsense because we allow them to do so. That state is very vulnerable to boycotts because it is so dependent on tourism. New Orleans finally passed anti-discrimination laws in the 1990s because its convention bureau realized that a lot of national conventions were bypassing the city because it had no legal protections against discrimination. Shreveport recently passed a "fairness ordinance" that prohibits discrimination because the film industry which has expanded there recently insisted upon it. The legislature was poised to adopt a "religious freedom" law like the one Arizona's governor finally vetoed until the backer realized that if they passed it New Orleans would never host another Super Bowl. We actually have a lot of power over the nincompoops in the Louisiana legislature if we would just use it.

  • 41. StraightDave  |  April 16, 2014 at 9:43 am

    There probably is some economic influence to be had, but it's still an uphill fight when you have Gov Bobby Jindal signing a bill opening science classes to creationism and then complaining about the GOP being the "stupid party". There's a bit of work still to be done down there.

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