Marriage Equality Debate Explodes Across Nation: A Round-Up


Lots of developments, opinions, and reports overnight on marriage equality and efforts to overturn it. With its misleading ad (above right), the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage has tossed a Molotov cocktail into the debate nationwide.

Here's info on NOM's new 2M4M initiative (note: takes you to their site) Sounds pretty gay, doesn't it? That stands for Two Million for Marriage.

More on that below.

First of all, the image above left comes from a rally that was held in Union Square last night in support of Vermont's marriage equality victory. World of Wonder has a nice slideshow of the demonstration, where state senator Tom Duane (left, with Anthony Brown) spoke to those gathered.

And now, a few updates from across the country:

D.C.: The AP looks at the recent decision in D.C. to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and the looming showdown in Congress over it: "After the legislation receives final approval from the council, which
is supposed to come next month, the bill is then subject to a 30-day
congressional review. That review could be the new Congress' first
opportunity to signal its appetite for re-examining the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages and allows states to do the same."

: Governor Chet Culver, who released a long statement on Tuesday saying that he would respect the Supreme Court's stand on same-sex marriage, and where the likelihood of legislative action to overturn the decision looks bleak, offered some hope to marriage equality foes.

Said Culver: “[Opponents] can talk to their legislators about amending the
constitution. They will have the option on the ballot in
2010 to call for a constitution convention. So the voters will have an
opportunity to weigh in on this.”

RALLY: Iowa has not quieted down a bit. There's an impromptu rally today at the Iowa state capitol today where marriage equality supporters and foes are going to face off.

NEW YORK: Governor David Paterson said Wednesday he wants the state Senate to vote on a same-sex marriage bill even if it doesn't have the votes to pass. Said Paterson: "We'll put a bill out and let the people decide one way or the other, which is actually the reform Albany really needs. Why can't people just defeat the bill, vote on it? If you have the votes later on to pass it, bring it back." He plans to re-introduce same-sex marriage legislation. The Empire State Pride Agenda expressed support for Paterson.

Here's a new video from ESPA on its upcoming Equality & Justice Day on April 28:

MOMENTUM: The NYT reports on marriage equality in New York and New Jersey.

CALIFORNIA: The recent decisions in Iowa and Vermont have inspired debate on how it will affect the Supreme Court's Proposition 8 ruling in that state:

"Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian
Rights, who led the challenge to Proposition 8 in oral arguments before
the California court last month, was jubilant Tuesday after Vermont
joined Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa as the fourth state to allow
gay marriage. While the other states went through lengthy legal
battles, Vermont's approval came when the Legislature overrode their
governor's veto. But Minter said it was Iowa's ruling that was important to California in two ways. First,
the Iowa court stresses 'that equal protection is such an essential
structural foundation of our system of government' that it can't be
left to the ballot initiative process, he said. Second, he said,
Iowa justices adopted the California Supreme Court's analysis of why
providing a separate status for same sex couples is inherently unequal. 'It
would be very ironic,' he said, 'if just at the time that other state
courts are following the California Supreme Court in holding that only
marriage can provide true equality, that California were to backpedal
away from that holding.'"

TIME magazine takes a look at how things are shaping up nationwide: "The sense that something big is happening has been felt by the other
side of the battle too. 'The momentum seems to be now on the side of
those pushing for the legalization of same-sex marriage,' the Rev.
Albert Mohler told TIME on Wednesday. 'The Vermont and Iowa
developments seem to signal the fact that, as many of us have sensed
for some time, the legalization of same-sex marriage is taking on a
sense of inevitability.' Mohler is president of the nation's flagship
Southern Baptist seminary in Louisville, Ky., and one of America's most
respected Evangelical thinkers."

And here's a very cool map based on Nate Silver of Five's data on when a gay marriage ban would be defeated by voters in a given state.

Yesterday I posted the hateful, fear-mongering, and untruthful "Gathering Storm" ad from the National Organization for marriage. Response to the ad has been fast and furious, discussed on news programs last night and rebutted by both national organizations and individual activists (BELOW).

Here it is again if you missed it yesterday (though I don't know how you could have):

Here also are the pathetic audition tapes for the ad uncovered by HRC which I posted about yesterday:

The ad, which is running nationally, has inspired a swift reaction. The Human Rights Campaign quickly posted it to their End the Lies website where its falsehoods are debunked. GLAAD has come out strongly against the ad, which has begun running in Iowa, where foes of marriage equality are grasping at straws to find a way they can possibly overturn the sweeping unanimous decision in favor of marriage equality recently handed down by the  Iowa Supreme Court. GLAAD is backing One Iowa, which is urging voters to sign a petition expressing opposition to NOM using out-of-state funds to hammer away at the marriage decision.

The ad was also discussed on news programs last night. Anderson Cooper discussed the ad and the marriage equality momentum being felt around the country on AC360 with Brian Brown of NOM, Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

On Hardball, Mike Barnicle had a discussion with Maggie Gallagher, President of NOM, and Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign.

Sean Chapin and Jeremy Hooper at Good as You both posted video responses to the NOM ad.

More as it develops…