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Update on same sex marriage legal battles across the nation

February 7, 2011

Georgene Rice of KPDQ-FM interviews, Maggie Gallagher, with the National Organization for Marriage in California. She discusses the Supreme Court’s recent decision to deny an appeal to the D.C. same-sex marriage decision. They discuss whether it was a procedural decision or if it goes to the merits of the question of same-sex marriage. She also outlines the other defense of marriage actions that are being considered in the courts all across the nation.

Georgene: The City Council in Washington, D.C. affirmed same-sex marriage in that district. The decision was appealed to the Supreme Court. Tell us what the Supreme Court did or didn’t do.

Maggie: The District of Columbia is not a state. It is under the direct control of Congress and Congress has given it a constitution which gives some state’s rights to the people who live in D.C. One of those rights is to overturn laws passed by the City Council through a referendum process, much as you have in the state of Oregon. The city council passed a law that said the referendum process could not be used to repeal any decision they make that has to do with the human rights code. In this case, not allowing the people the right to decide whether to repeal the city council’s decision to allow same-sex marriage.

The case was sent to the D. C. Court of Appeals. By a close 5-4 decision, they denied voters the right to vote on the marriage issue. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to consider the case and we are saddened by their decision because this is not a case about gay rights. It is about whether politicians can vote to take away the right of the voters to control the laws given to them in their own constitution.

Georgene: Some say the U.S. Supreme Court suggested that if this was a state they might have handled it differently but that D.C. is out of their jurisdiction.

Maggie: That isn’t the case. The U.S. Supreme Court is like the State Supreme Court is for states, so they have even more jurisdiction. They really didn’t say why they chose not to take it up. They often do not, but that would not be the reason. Maybe they felt that if the courts got it wrong, then Congress could fix, as they can.

Georgene: Congress is somewhat different now than it was when this law was passed by the city council. How likely is it for the U.S. House to take this matter up and restore the referendum rights for the people to vote on same-sex marriage issue in the District of Columbia?

Maggie: I think the House would be interested. Again, this is not Congress making a decision on same-sex marriage, it is making clear that the people of D.C. have this right to vote if they follow the procedures laid out in the charter.

Georgene: What are your thoughts about the future of the same-sex marriage law in Washington, D.C.?

Maggie: We are talking with people in Congress now and we are going to do everything we can. We have not given up this fight. On a national level, there are two other cases that are working their way to the Supreme Court. One would overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The other would overturn Proposition 8 in California, and by implication, the marriage acts in Oregon and all thirty-one states where people have voted to add this to their state constitution.

We are also fighting to pass marriage amendments in other states such as Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, and to repeal same-sex marriage that was passed in New Hampshire.

Most people don’t know this, but in the last election cycle most of the states where the state legislatures passed gay marriage laws, the voters kicked out the party. In Maine and New Hampshire both houses flipped from Democrat to Republican control. You may, also, have heard about the great victory in Iowa. Two years after judges voted to impose gay marriage, the people voted by very strong margins not to retain the three judges up for election.

Georgene: Thank you. If anyone is interested in following these cases or the work of the National Organization for Marriage, what is the best way for them to do that?

Maggie: They can go to www.nationformarriage.org. They can sign up for a weekly newsletter that will keep you informed of cases and the impact of laws made in legislatures across the country. We are finding that we have people from all races and creeds who want to stand up for God’s truth about marriage.

  
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Thomas Alex February 7, 2011

“referendum process could not be used to repeal any decision they make that has to do with the human rights code.”

They can’t vote on a policy that violates their Human Rights code, which include sexual orientation. How hard is that to understand?

DavidArclight February 7, 2011

Well it was all pretty level until the end where Galleger threw in the manmade God idol. Allow truth to intervene here. It’s Maggies copy cat interpretation of this thing people created called God. In actuality, it’s not her “gods truth about marriage” it’s her fantasy gods discrimination about marriage. Just wanted to clarify for those that may be confused or ill informed on this issue.

Ursomniac February 7, 2011

I have some questions:

1) Why hasn’t NOM filed all of their tax paperwork?

2) Why hasn’t NOM resolved issues with violating campaign law in Maine?

N Ramirez February 7, 2011

(A letter in support of same sex marriage)

As we reflect back upon history, one thing remains clear regardless of one’s religious affiliation or no affiliation: More people have died in the name of God than any other way throughout history.

Indeed, for hundreds of years, religious elites and common people have used their own religious interpretation (and passed down interpretation) to oppress based on gender, sexual orientation, religion and ethnicity. We have come to know of the atrocities that were all tied to religion such as the Holocaust, African-American enslavement, and the persecution of Jews.

In his book, “Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness,” James A. Haught chronicles a thousand years of religious hate ranging from the witch hunts, to the numerous crusades, to the Holy Inquisition, to the religious anti-Semitic influence that later fueled the Holocaust. Haught says, “Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of the coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites.”

Furthermore, theologian Richard Rubenstein wrote that the Nazis “did not invent a new villain…they took over the 2,000-year-old Christian tradition of the Jew as a villain. The roots of the death camps must be sought in the mythic structure of Christianity.”

Throughout history numerous religious leaders and common people have pointed to specific passages in the Bible that have been used to validate slavery. One insightful book, “Noah’s Curse: The Biblical Justification of American Slavery,” by Stephen R. Haynes, further shows how just “one” biblical passage fueled anti-African-American sentiment over the course of hundreds of years.

The biblical passage, “A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren,” reads Noah’s curse on Ham. Ham is later identified as the ancestor of black Africans, and this particular biblical passage is just one that has been used historically to justify African-American slavery. Also many Christian clergymen throughout history were pro-slavery. Historian Larry Hise says in his book, “Pro Slavery,” that ministers “wrote almost half of all defenses of slavery published in America.” He also lists more than 250 religious men who used the Bible to prove white people were entitled to own black people.

Similarly, Hitler and other anti-Semitic leaders throughout history have used biblical passages to validate the persecution of Jews. Here is just one passage that fueled anti-Semitism: “You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.” (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16).

In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II issued a historical pardon at St. Peter’s Basilica regarding the Catholic Church’s prime role in the persecution of Jews for the past 1,000 years. In addition, they also released a document that named (and officially validated) other multiple “sins” on their part including the Holocaust, Inquisition, Crusades and other religious acts.

Not surprisingly, comparable negative sentiment that existed hundreds of years ago against African-Americans and Jews, continues on even today for non heterosexuals. True, much progress has been made, but even today, when discussing bisexuality or homosexuality, some people are quick to (just as in history) point to biblical passages that condemn anyone who is not heterosexual.

A couple of years ago, we witnessed a progressive change in history as gay and bisexual men and women married in California before Proposition 8 was passed. With the right time to pass, it will not be long when equal marriage rights under the law will be given to non-heterosexuals; similar to the way the bans on interracial marriage were outlawed and ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court despite 72% of the majority of Americans in favor of interracial marriage bans at the time.

Still, some do not consider gay rights a “civil rights” issue. However, Coretta Scott King, wife of the late Martin Luther King Jr., disagrees with them. In 1998, on the 30th anniversary of her husband’s assassination she commented: “I still hear people say that I should… stick to the issue of racial justice, but I hasten to remind them Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ ” I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother-and-sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”

Clearly, religion has also been used against women throughout history. One such biblical passage has been used to prohibit women from being ministers: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak.” (I Corinthians I 4:34). This helped fuel misogynistic beliefs at the time, viewing women as merely second-class citizens.

Yes, it is true more people have died in the name of God throughout our history than any other way. So it behooves us today to not forget our history, for we may be doomed to repeat it. As we have seen through hundreds of years, indeed it has been repeated. I know I will never identify myself as a Catholic or with any other religion that is not in line with my life-changing (progressive) and liberal beliefs. However, I do believe in God very much and always will; there is a higher Creator, and I believe that our higher Creator would want us to most definitely learn from our horrid history, so that we will never repeat it again. The time is now for us to continue to fight for civil rights in all aspects. The work is never done!

Joe Mustich February 7, 2011

It’s time for full marriage equality rights in the 21st century.
Onward, Joe Mustich, Officiant,
Red Studio Farm, Washington Green, CT USA

Maggie talks Marriage with Oregon Faith Report - NOM Blog February 7, 2011

[...] good overview interview to begin the week: "Georgene Rice of KPDQ-FM interviews Maggie Gallagher with the National Organization for Marriage in California. She discusses the [...]

Nefreet February 7, 2011

I find it ironic (but also comforting) that all the comments thus far, on an obviously Christian news site, are in support of marriage equality.

If anyone else reading this supports the National Organization for Marriage, I have a question for you: How does MY ability to marry the person I love have ANY affect on you?

I’m not talking about “protecting” some abstract concept that really never existed in the first place, I’m asking why you think my personal, private life interferes with yours in any way.

Clark February 7, 2011

I can’t imagine any bigger waste of Congress’s time than taking up this issue and “turning back the clock” on marriage equality in D.C. Sorry, Maggie, that this world is looking a lot different than the one in your little anachronistic head! I do hope you live long enough to see marriage equality become the law of this great land and your biography become a bigoted footnote in history. What fun!

anonygrl February 7, 2011

Nefreet,

I too am heartened by the responses here. Too often it is easy to lump “religious” and “non-religious” people into two clumps and expect them to behave in certain ways.

Sadly, the “religious” clump is expected to be on Maggie’s side in this issue, instead of on the side of love, equality and compassion.

I have only to assume that at least SOME of the folks commenting on a religious site such as this are actually religious, and it is reaffirming to see that they are all so open minded and pro-equality!

ADF Alliance Alert » Georgeen Rice Interview with Maggie Gallagher: Update on same sex marriage legal battles across the nation February 7, 2011

[...] Oregon Faith Report: “Georgene Rice of KPDQ-FM interviews, Maggie Gallagher, with the National Organization for Marriage in California. She discusses the Supreme Court’s recent decision to deny an appeal to the D.C. same-sex marriage decision. They discuss whether it was a procedural decision or if it goes to the merits of the question of same-sex marriage. She also outlines the other defense of marriage actions that are being considered in the courts all across the nation.” [...]

TPAKyle February 7, 2011

So I wonder, what else does the self-proclaimed “National Organization for Marriage” do to further the cause of marriage in America?

Does NOM do anything to help reduce the rate of heterosexual divorce which, at over 50%, represents the single greatest threat, by far, to marriage?

Do they offer counseling to couples having a marriage crisis? Offer support groups or workshops for people in troubled marriages?

Do they do anything to support programs that insure unwanted children of failed marriages have loving homes in which to grow and prosper?

Do they publish any peer-reviewed studies, white papers or giudelines at all on what a couple can do to have a better marriage?

While you might expect a group with a name like “National Organization for Marriage” to do so, it turns out the answer to all questions above is a resounding NO! They do nothing at all to help make marriages better.

The sole purpose of the National Organization for Marriage” is to deny a small percentage of the population (1% or 2% by their own account) the right to marry the person they love. They have made high-paying careers out of singling out the GLBT population and working night and day to insure they are denied civil rights.

They are bigots. Pure and simple.

Michael Ejercito February 7, 2011

TPAKyle,

They also work to deny the FLDS the right to marry the persons they love. Should they not get credit for that as well?

Gabriel M February 7, 2011

The anti-religious bigotry in the comments here is amazing and quite telling of the side that supports same sex marriage.. Thankfully this is a primary reason why your beliefs in gay marriage are losing. Hatred will always lose. Your anti-religious bigotry and hatred has ironically forced you to take the illogical and irrational side based on pure beliefs and emotion. Nothing more.

Marriage is an institution founded off of the logical and observable fact that when a Man and woman come together they bring about children. They Posses something gay couples will never possess no matter how many laws they try and change and that is “Life giving love”.

This is not about civil rights. This is about the irrational beliefs of the gay marriage camp vs. the logical reality and need for Marriage as an institution for children and families. I’m a single male. I’m currently no more a 2nd class citizen than any other non-married person gay or straight. I understand my place in society and don’t need the government to validate me or my behavior.. I’m confident and have a healthy attraction to the opposite sex.

N Ramirez, your anti-religious bigoted write up on the history of religion is so deeply flawed it’s no wonder why your think the way you do. You’re no different then the radical Christian creationists fundamentalists you so despise. You should actually get along just fine because your critical thinking skills and skewed views of history are on par with each other.

One supporter of same sex marriage here called marriage “an abstract concept that really never existed in the first place,” and yet demands Marriage in the same breath. Quite the contradiction. Very telling indeed!

In different court cases, gay marriage advocates have argued that Marriage isn’t about…

“Men and Women”
“Children”
“Sex”
“Exclusivity”
“Love”

Line them all up and as a supporter of Marriage you can see clearly that this is a SHAM . How can you expect us to accept this joke as a “civil right”??. This is a joke. Can you honestly with a straight face say that the government is involved with Marriage yet Marriage is not about “ANY of the Above” (according to gay marriage advocates)

No interracial couple ever argued these points above in order to obtain marriage.

The supporters of Traditional Marriage will triumph. You want a History lesson? Every time Marriage was hijacked by a group of people that tried to use Marriage for their own agendas they lost. You will not hijack marriage like those greedy corrupt nobles and kings in the past that used Marriage as a property contract to gain more wealth and power…. You will not Hijack Marriage, like the racist tried to do using it for racism to oppress one race from another and you will not use marriage to validate your gay agenda.

Marriage is our foundational institution that we bestow upon our children as men and women. The government is involved in it because MEN And WOMEN create life. The government isn’t involved in Marriage because it cares who you give your valentines day card to on Feb 14th.

I respect your beliefs in gay marriage no matter how irrational and illogical they are. I believe that you should be allowed to get gay married in your gay friendly church or religious institutions. However you cannot force the rest of society to believe in your beliefs as law.

Sorry… Separation of church and state.

Clark February 7, 2011

Gabriel, care to make one coherent, succinct point there?

Cris February 7, 2011

Yes. Separation of church and state. I don’t hate any religion for having whatever beliefs they have. What I have to vehemently disagree with is that somehow my asking for something that I consider a civil right and consistent with my religious beliefs are not allowed. If you don’t believe in same sex marriage, don’t get one. But allow me the right to get one. This is EXACTLY what the founding fathers worried about when they didn’t want one religion winning out over another when it came to civil discourse. For that matter, if what you are worried about is the word marriage, allow for a civil union. Unfortunately, that is not allowed either, according to conservative tenets.

So, please don’t run around sounding alarms that people who want gay rights are automatically against religion and want to cordon it off. They are just against religion using their views to infringe on the rights of others who don’t share their views.

TPAKyle February 7, 2011

@Michael Ejercito: While it might be convenient to lump plural marriage, bestiality and other such marriages into the marriage equality platform, the argument is disingenuous.

Completely new laws related to inheritance, property rights, surviving spouse, etc would be required to support plural marriage. Some folks may indeed be interested in this but there is currently no legal arrangement for this kind of relationship except to form a Company. It would take much work to change laws to do anything different. Also on the hit parade of slippery slope arguments 1)animals cannot enter into a contract and minors cannot enter into contracts.

Since by their own admission NOM is funded, in significant part, by the Mormon Church, I can assure you that any argument about plural marriage, even directed toward the spinoff FDLS and their illegal actions, is not on their list.

@Gabriel M: You appear to be the only one here in the comments engaged in any bigotry. Comments had been reflective and civil until you chimed in.

Have a nice day.

Munfarid February 7, 2011

^Every single assertion the gentleman above me offered is accompanied by either a logical fallacy or no evidence whatsoever.

1) He has equated an opposition to religious belief to “anti-religious bigotry”. Arguing a point backed by evidence is not bigotry.
2) Although he claims N Ramirez’s arguments are false, he doesn’t bother to disprove any of the arguments N Ramirez made.
3) He dismisses N Ramirez’s arguments because he claims they are based on “pure beliefs”, which is not only untrue (he gave an extensive amount of evidence), but hilariously ironic considering pure belief is a very accurate description of religion.
4) He says marriage is a logical institution based on the fact that heterosexual couples can have children, and because gay couples can’t procreate, they shouldn’t be allowed to marry. Yet in our country, elderly citizens that are no longer capable of procreation and infertile couples are still freely allowed to marry, but he raises no complaints about this practice.
5) He says “this is not about civil rights”, because gay marriage is irrational. This is a very common logical fallacy known as “missing the point”, where the evidence that a person offers does not actually prove the assertion. Irrationality is an argument for why gay marriage is wrong (a weak one at that); is does not disqualify an issue from relating to civil rights.
6) Michael mentions that, despite not being married just like many other people gay or straight, he does not consider himself a 2nd-class citizen. Again, “missing the point”; the evidence doesn’t support the assertion. Although he is not married, Michael has the right to marry a woman anytime he wishes. Gay people do not, and this is what they mean when they claim that the gay marriage ban is treating them like 2nd class citizens.
7) He again claims that N Ramirez’s arguments are inaccurate, and again he fails to offer any evidence to the contrary. He uses the “Ad Hominem” logical fallacy by insulting Ramirez personally instead of addressing the actual issue.
8 ) He quotes a previous commenter that said marriage is “an abstract concept that really never existed in the first place,” and criticizes the commenter for wanting equal marriage rights, because he says these two claims are contradictory. He fails to understand that the commenter had meant that the institution of marriage has consistently undergone change throughout the course of history. Marriage, which was once a contract between two men where the elder male traded his daughter (his property) with the other male is now an institution of consensual love. This was what the commenter was referring to when he called the institution of marriage “an abstract concept”.

9) Michael lists 5 contentions used by pro-gay marriage lawyers.
Marriage isn’t about:

a) Men and Women. The reason that they would argue against marriage being about men and women is quite obvious.

b) Children. They do argue that marriage is not defined by the ability to procreate, for reasons I mentioned earlier. But many gay people have children already regardless of marriage. No pro-gay marriage lawyer would argue this case.

c) Sex. If this is referring to gender, then this is the same as “a”. If it is referring to sexual intercourse, then I see this contention as completely irrelevant to the case and I, having watched gay marriage court cases myself, have never seen a lawyer on either side argue with such a weak and baseless contention.

d) Exclusivity. Again, a vague contention. If this is referring to exclusivity as far as gender, then it is again the same as “a”. If it is referring to monogamous relations, then I do not see why pro-gay marriage lawyers, who are arguing to allow gays to enter into monogamous relations acknowledged by the law, would ever argue using this contention.

e) Love. This was by far his most absurd contention. I have never seen a time where a pro-gay marriage lawyer has not stressed how important love is in a relationship and how this should be spread to include gays. I cannot fathom where the author of this comment pulled this out of.

10) In fact, many of the protesters of gay marriage use arguments that exactly match the arguments that were once used by interracial marriage protesters.

11) Separation of Church and State is actually a very compelling reason to allow gay marriage to occur, considering most people cite the bible as their reason for opposing gay marriage.

-If there is anything I cannot stand, it is when people parade around as the authorities on subjects they don’t even completely understand. Gay marriage’s legalization is inevitable, just as all strides in civil rights have been when given the time. One day we will look back on debates like this and be ashamed of ourselves.

Munfarid February 7, 2011

My previous comment was actually aimed at Gabriel. My apologies for the confusion.

Skulander February 7, 2011

NOM’s link to hate groups MUST be pointed out since apparently, Maggie et al. see no prloblem with being associated with Tony Perkins, from the American “Family” Association, who would be very happy to see homosexuality re-criminalized and who, anyways, has no concerns with facts on homosexuality. They promote lies and hatred against the LGBT community and we now REFUSE to be bullied by them.

WHY people are not pointing out this hate, as CLEARLY uncovered by the SPCL and their 18 hate groups, is beyond my understanding.

In particular, since they are so focused on “families” we should, we MUST point out the adverse effect of the anti-gay rhetoric has on OUR families, our kids, who certainly deserve protection as well.

Maggie also says: “The case was sent to the D. C. Court of Appeals. By a close 5-4 decision, they denied voters the right to vote on the marriage issue. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to consider the case and we are saddened by their decision because this is not a case about gay rights.”
Who are you kidding? Of course it’s about rights, about gay rights. And those will NOT be put up for a popular vote.

Cory February 16, 2011

Maggie’s belief in the “sanctity” of marriage makes me giggle, as she’s been married three times.

Randy King March 6, 2011

The obviousness in the assault from pervert marriage supporters is hilarious in that perversion activists lie to themselves about their true nature their entire life and now we get to see their penchant for lying is not limited to who they are.

Keep up the outstanding work Maggie. You prove every day that one person with the truth is mightier than thousands professing at the top of their lungs that their falsehoods are the real truth.

If these folks ever took the time to read the Christian Bible as “a child not knowing” they would run screaming from the sight of themselves; for the good book will show them for who they really are.

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