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Published: 07/15/10

Same Sex Marriage: The Run-Up to the Proposition 8 Ruling

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
Same Sex Marriage: The Run-Up to the Proposition 8 Ruling

In the wake of one important federal ruling on same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, and as we await an even more significant decision on Proposition 8 in California, it's a good time to step back and briefly note the remarkably swift arc of jurisprudence that has cropped up over such unions. In less than two decades, from 1993 to today, the controversial issue has ripened -- in federal court, at the state level, in political discourse, you name it -- to the point where a definitive declaration from the United States Supreme Court may (relatively) soon be at hand. Seventeen years sounds like a...

Published: 07/8/10

DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional: Key Quotes From Judge Joseph Tauro

By  David Knowles - AOL News
DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional: Key Quotes From Judge Joseph Tauro

(July 8) -- On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples, is unconstitutional. Passed by Congress, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, DOMA, as it is known, limited the terms "marriage" and "spouse" to consisting of a union between a man and a woman. The exclusion of homosexuals from the federal definition of marriage, however, was further spelled out in Section 3 of the law. That portion explicitly forbade the extension of federal benefits to same-sex partners, whether ...

Published: 06/17/10

California Same-Sex Marriage Trial: An Uneven Matchup

By  Andrew Cohen - Politics Daily
California Same-Sex Marriage Trial: An Uneven Matchup

The lawyers have spoken, endlessly it seems. Nervous or defiant or righteous, the witnesses have testified. The slick spinners have spun overtime. And the zealots have shouted up and down the great Golden State and beyond. Now, the fate of same-sex marriage in California (and beyond) is in the lap of one man, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, a veteran jurist who has painstakingly shepherded the high-profile constitutional fight through its trial stage. With closing arguments now complete, with relative silence returned to the federal courthouse in San Francisco, all that is left for the jud...

Published: 06/17/10

Final Arguments Made in Proposition 8 Trial

By  Richard C. Paddock - AOL News
Final Arguments Made in Proposition 8 Trial

SAN FRANCISCO (June 17) -- Attorney Charles Cooper made his final argument that California's ban on same-sex marriages should be upheld as constitutional by telling Chief District Judge Vaughn Walker: "Your honor, you don't have to have evidence for this." The judge appeared mildly surprised. But Cooper's novel argument was in keeping with the minimalist defense he and his legal team mounted to uphold Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in 2008. During the trial phase in January, the defense called only two witnesses. In his closing argument Wednesday, Cooper made the case that m...

Published: 12/3/09

Opinion: New Approach Needed to Advance Gay Rights

By  not in system - AOL News
Opinion: New Approach Needed to Advance Gay Rights

(Dec. 3) - In the immediate aftermath of the passage of California's Proposition 8 last fall -- where voters amended the state's constitution to recognize only marriages between one man and one woman -- there was a lot of finger-pointing in the gay community, but no bloodletting. Leaders of all the major gay organizations kept their jobs, including the leader of the one organization dedicated to promoting gay marriage and the head of the leading gay rights group in the Golden State. Well, Patrick Sammon, head of Log Cabin Republicans, did announce his retirement, but he was resigning for pers...

Published: 12/2/09

New York State Senate Rejects Gay Marriage in 38-24 Vote

By  David Sessions - Politics Daily
New York State Senate Rejects Gay Marriage in 38-24 Vote

The New York State Senate shot down a bill Tuesday afternoon that would have legalized gay marriage. The 38-24 vote was broadcast live online, and followed contentious debate. Senators filled the day with impassioned and sometimes rambling orations, mostly in support of the bill. Sen. Bill Perkins was one of several senators to call the vote an act of solidarity with beloved civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Sen. Liz Krueger, of Manhattan's Upper East Side, talked about her Jewish family coming to New York to escape persecution. Sen. Rubén Díaz of the Bronx cited what he called the b...

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Published: 11/5/09

Moral of Maine's Gay Marriage Rejection: An Issue Headed for the Supreme Court?

By  Andrea Stone - Politics Daily
Moral of Maine's Gay Marriage Rejection: An Issue Headed for the Supreme Court?

The repeal of Maine's gay marriage law by voters Tuesday is forcing gay rights advocates to regroup and recalibrate their strategy. Legal experts say if other social movements are a guide, it should also teach them to be patient. "Every time people have had an opportunity to vote, they've voted it down," said University of Chicago law professor Gerald Rosenberg. "Is the [Supreme Court] really going to step in here?"...

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Published: 11/4/09

Maine Voters Repeal Same-Sex Marriage Law in Close Vote

By  David Sessions - Politics Daily
Maine Voters Repeal Same-Sex Marriage Law in Close Vote

In a closely watched race that ran late into the night Tuesday, voters in Maine repealed a recent law that legalized same-sex marriage in the state. During hours of vote counting, the two sides kept within one percentage point of each other. But opponents of the law finally broke away, holding on to 53 percent of the vote with 87 percent of the state's precincts reporting. Turnout was higher than expected, reaching 50 percent of the state's electorate, a solid 15 percent above the projected number. Elsewhere on the ballot, voters approved expanding the use of medical marijuana and shot down a...

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Published: 11/3/09

High Turnout for Maine Gay Marriage Referendum

By  David Sessions - Politics Daily
High Turnout for Maine Gay Marriage Referendum

Turnout for the vote was higher than expected for Maine's referendum on gay marriage, reaching 50 percent of the state's electorate -- a solid 15 percent above the projected number. The ballot measure asks voters if they would either repeal or uphold a law passed earlier this year legalizing same-sex marriage. Similar ballot measures -- most famously California's Proposition 8 last year -- have all been successful in striking down judicial attempts to legalize same-sex marriage. Final polls Tuesday showed Maine voters evenly split on Question 1, a measure that has drawn national attention and...

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Published: 10/12/09

Schwarzenegger Signs Two Gay Rights Bills

By  David Sessions - Politics Daily
Schwarzenegger Signs Two Gay Rights Bills

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two gay-rights bills before midnight on Sunday, one recognizing Harvey Milk and another recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states....

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