imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Same-sex marriage: Its time has come

by Tim Wheeler, Washington correspondent Saturday, Jun. 12, 2004 at 11:40 AM
pww@pww.org

The struggle for marriage equality saw its first major victory last month as Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.





The struggle for marriage equality saw its first major victory last month as Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. In the past year, through civil disobedience and court decisions, thousands of same-sex couples have been married across the country.

On May 17, the first day of marriage licenses being issued to same-sex couples in Massachusetts, thousands lined up at clerks’ offices across the state to get their licenses, the result of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s landmark November 2003 decision in the Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health case.

In the ruling, Chief Justice Margaret Marshall was aware of its controversial nature.

“We are mindful that our decision marks a change in the history of our marriage law. Many people hold deep-seated religious, moral, and ethical convictions that marriage should be limited to the union of one man and one woman, and that homosexual conduct is immoral. Many hold equally strong religious, moral, and ethical convictions that same-sex couples are entitled to be married, and that homosexual persons should be treated no differently than their heterosexual neighbors,” she wrote.

“Neither view answers the question before us. Our concern is with the Massachusetts Constitution as a charter of governance for every person properly within its reach.”

The opinion pointed out that stopping same-sex couples from marrying creates a tier of second-class citizens: “Barred access to the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage, a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community’s most rewarding and cherished institutions. That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law.”

For many couples the decision was a legal confirmation of their relationship. For Jean McGuire and Barbara Herbert, the decision allowed them to take another step in their 14-year relationship.

Two of their three adult children, along with other friends and family, were on hand during the couple’s civil service ceremony on the lawn of Cambridge City Hall, May 17. (Their other daughter, who was working in London, was present via cell phone.)

They spoke of their community’s support of their relationship through the years. Their neighbors in Cambridge, they said, had treated them and their children as equal citizens, something they acknowledged not all same-sex couples enjoy.

“We’ve had the good fortune, even before this decision, to live in a place that recognizes our relationship, allowed us to go to parent-teacher meetings together, appreciated that we were a family,” McGuire said.

Herbert, who is an emergency room doctor and was due at work that afternoon, told reporters of the support she felt at work.

“There were lots of people who said to me very clearly that they have religious objections to us getting married but they want to see [what is] fair,” she said.

“And so they were thrilled at the idea that we were coming here to have a civil ceremony, even across those objections.”

The couple was in a unique situation since at the time of the original case McGuire was working in the Department of Public Health, which in addition to its many health programs is responsible for the issuance of marriage licenses.

While she no longer works there, she said that her sexual orientation had never been a problem in the office, but that it was difficult for her when the lawsuit was brought against the department.

Comparing Goodridge to another landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education, which celebrated its 50th anniversary on the same day as the first licenses were issued, McGuire pointed to the looming political struggle in Massachusetts.

“If we had allowed people to vote on Brown v. Board of Education where would we be right now?” she asked.

“The notion that our marriages should be up to a public vote should be questioned. This is about equity and equality and opportunity, and it’s not about putting it out for the determination of the voting public.”

But marriages like McGuire’s and Herbert’s might be up to a public vote in the next few years. Several states are set to have votes on whether same-sex marriages should be legal.

In Massachusetts, voters may be faced with the decision to approve an amendment to the state constitution. While the Legislature failed to reach an agreement this year, and, therefore, the question won’t be put to voters yet, opponents of marriage equality have already said they will take up the issue again in the 2005 session.

While celebrating the victory in Massachusetts, many are preparing for the many battles to come. Even as they came out of city halls with marriage licenses in hand, some couples voiced their concerns.

“The way things are going in this counry we wanted to do this as quickly as possible,” said Norm Sanguay, who on May 17 applied for a marriage license with Stewart Azar, his partner of 15 years. They had their two young children in tow.

“You never know. The sooner we affirm our commitment the better.”

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made many attempts during the 180 days between the Goodridge decision and its institution to overturn the court’s ruling. He was aided in his challenges by a number of conservative groups from around the country.

The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund, which describes itself as “a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth, through strategy, training, funding, and litigation,” has been a party to many of the anti-equality legal challenges across the country.

The group is currently involved in the California Supreme Court case against San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for his issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples earlier in the year and was behind a last-minute attempt to stop Massachusetts from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear that case, but it is expected that it will not be the last time such an appeal will be brought before the court. Should the Supreme Court take up such a case, it would bring all three branches of the federal government into the debate.

In his State of the Union address in January, President George W. Bush called for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

In the face of what Bush has repeatedly called “activist judges,” he said, “The only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process” if marriage were defined in a way that included same-sex couples.

Congress quickly took up Bush’s call. The Senate Judiciary Committee has been holding a series of hearings on the matter over the past few months.

In the current Senate, it is unlikely that opponents of same-sex marriage will be able to gather the required 67 votes. However, the Senate seats that are up for grabs in November could change this.

Debate over the Federal Marriage Amendment and the potential for getting the necessary votes has added to the urgency of the already hot-button election issue of same-sex marriage.

While the debate continues at the federal level, states are moving quickly to pass legislation as well. Under the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, states are not required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Because it was left as a states’ rights issue, the issue of a federal amendment was forestalled.

However, marriage equality opponents are now working furiously for such a federal ban in reaction to local and state actions, such as those in Massachusetts and San Francisco.

As the November elections near, the debate continues on both state and federal levels. Bush is set to use the issue in an attempt to solidify his conservative base. Several states are likely to present voters with initiatives to ban same-sex marriage.

However, while acknowledging the continuing struggle for full, national marriage equality, couples such as Herbert and McGuire and Azar and Sanguay are celebrating their new marriages.

For a helpful chart illustrating the different benefits of marriage, civil unions, or no marital status, visit the web site of the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, www.glad.org.

The author can be reached at jbarnett@pww.org.



Originally published by the People’s Weekly World







Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 2 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
gay marriage? f--k NO truth hurts Saturday, Jun. 12, 2004 at 8:24 PM
"Death to all activist judges." anti-moron Monday, Jun. 14, 2004 at 7:51 PM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center Celebrates 25 Years with the House of Hope Gala S24 7:10PM

Against the Rent Madness and For a Nonprofit Orientation! S24 11:56AM

Cybermonde, cyberguerre, cyberespace, cyberterrorisme S24 6:35AM

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy