The bill now proceeds to the full House, and if passed, Governor Pat Quinn has said he will sign it.
A look back at today's top stories
As we close in on the date that the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Proposition 8 case, more than 75 leaders of the Republican Party have signed a brief that urges the court to rule in favor of gay rights. In addition a number of pro-equality companies have announced that they will also be petitioning the court. Ari Waldman looks at what this (and the plaintiff's brief) means for a potential filing from President Obama.
In a display of what brotherly bond is all about a Boston area fraternity is attempting to raise money for one of their transgender frat brothers. Also a gay couple from Israel has turned to the internet for help in overcoming the country's ban on surrogacy.
The Westboro Baptist Church is having a rough go of it in the Los Angeles area. First they were out-protested in Santa Monica and now a reporter totally dominates a group of them in Malibu. Their partner in hate Pat Robertson is ready to stand up and fight against the nearly insurmountable evil that is the Goodwill store. The preacher from the anti-gay megachurch that Tim Tebow spurned is appalled that saying everyone should believe the same thing he does, can be considered discrimination.
Also rapper A$AP Rocky says he doesn't care if people say he is gay because he gets mad bitches and they are just jealous. Spoken like a true middle schooler.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY
From a grumpy cat to an ashamed bear, animals never hold back their true emotions.
Marcus Mabry of the New York Times spoke with GOP strategist Margaret Hoover today about the SCOTUS brief signed by more than 80 Republican leaders to be filed this week urging the Court to strike down Proposition 8.
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
75+ Prominent Republicans Sign Brief Urging Supreme Court to Strike Down Prop 8 [tlrd]
Here's the Full List of 75+ Republicans Urging SCOTUSto Strike Down Prop 8 [tlrd]
Prop 8 Plaintiffs File SCOTUS Brief. So Do Republicans! Is President Obama Next? [tlrd]
On last night's Watch What Happens Live, Andy Cohen asked Anderson Cooper if his opinion had changed since he came out regarding whether certain people in the media who are closeted (and Cohen and Cooper are not naming names) should come out or not.
"I mean look, it’s a personal decision that everyone has to make for their own reasons. Obviously, I think we’re all better off with greater visibility, so I would encourage people to do what they’re comfortable with, but no, my opinion hasn’t changed. Look, I’m pretty understanding of where people are at, and people are at different places in their lives. But there’s a bunch of people whom I’m surprised have not been more forward, and you know given their position and the extent to which they’re forward about other aspects about their lives."
Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
Hewlett-Packard CEO and former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who signed her name to an amicus brief being filed this week by more than 80 Republican lawmakers and political leaders, explained today in a LinkedIn post her decision to sign the brief opposing Proposition 8:
I have come to embrace same-sex marriage after a period of careful review and reflection. As a candidate for governor three years ago, I supported Proposition 8. At the time, I believed the people of California had weighed in on this question and that overturning the will of the people was the wrong approach. The facts and arguments presented during the legal process since then have had a profound impact on my thinking.
In reviewing the amicus brief before deciding to put my signature on it, one passage struck an immediate chord with me. In explaining his own support for same-sex marriage, British Prime Minister David Cameron once said, “Society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”
During my business career, I have lived by a philosophy I refer to as “the power of many.” I truly believe that what we can do together, none of us can do alone. By leading from this principle, I have been able to manage thriving organizations that have delivered great results. I believe the same holds true for society at-large. We are simply better when we are bonded together.
Marriage is the fundamental institution that unites a society. It is the single greatest contributor to the well-being of adults and children because it promotes eternal principles like commitment, fidelity and stability. It makes no difference whether the marriage is between a man and woman or a woman and woman. Marriage makes society better.
Whitman also outlines the contents of the brief, and in justifying her change-of-mind cites President's Obama's decision to come around in support of marriage equality last year.
Continued, AFTER THE JUMP...
The core argument of the amicus brief is that there is no legitimate, fact-based reason for providing different legal treatment of committed relationships between same-sex couples. Without the presence of such a rationale, precedent should result in the U.S. Supreme Court overturning California’s ban on gay marriage.
The amicus brief argues that the oft-cited claims that civil marriage between same-sex couples will somehow hurt traditional marriage and be detrimental to children have been rejected by social science. Rather, we now know that children who grow up in intact, married families are much more likely to do well in school, achieve professional success and enjoy the benefits of stable, adult family lives.
In contrast, children who live with unmarried, cohabitating partners encounter significant challenges in their lives due to the higher separation rates of their parents and lower household incomes. Laws like California’s Proposition 8 do not fortify traditional marriage, they merely prevent hundreds of thousands of children of same-sex couples from enjoying the benefits that accrue from marriage.
Like several others who have either sought or held public office, including President Obama, I have changed my mind on this issue. Same-sex couples and their children should have equal access to the benefits of marriage.
My decision to support civil marriage is solely my own. I hope that the Supreme Court will heed the arguments in the amicus brief. Establishing a constitutional right of marriage equality in California will strengthen our nation as a whole.
Corporate power is planning to wield a mighty axe against Prop 8 and DOMA this week, in a Supreme Court brief, Bloomberg reports:
Dozens of companies, including Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Morgan Stanley (MS), are planning to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, saying bans in 41 states harm workplace morale and undermine recruiting. The group, which also includes Facebook Inc. (FB) and Intel Corp., (INTC) will make its case this week as the high court prepares to take up California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that halted gay marriage after it was allowed for five months....
...A larger group of companies -- more than 200 -- is also poised to side with gay-rights advocates in a second Supreme Court case, involving a federal law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union. Under that law, known as the Defense of Marriage Act, legally married gay couples can’t claim the federal tax breaks and other benefits available to opposite-sex spouses.
The companies in that case are part of a collection of more than 250 employers, including cities, counties and law firms.
A larger question also looms. Will Obama act?
Freshman Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA) wrote Obama a letter asking him to do so, the Washington Blade reports:
“I strongly and respectfully ask that the United States provide an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in Perry to explain how heightened scrutiny, the standard that the United States urges be applied to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, applies to Proposition 8,” Takano writes. “A brief by the United States will assist the Supreme Court to see that Proposition 8 fails heightened scrutiny and does not further any proper governmental objectives.”
Takano explains in his letter that Prop 8, a ballot initiative that was approved by California voters in 2008, affects couples in his state and district who are unable to marry because of the amendment.
“My district includes thousands of loving gay and lesbian couples, who are not able to marry due to Proposition 8,” Takano writes. “They are our families, our friends and neighbors. They are doctors, veterans, teachers, gardeners, firefighters and police officers. They are Americans. Every day that they cannot enjoy the same rights and obligations enjoyed by other Americans, they and their families suffer.”