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Expansion of same-sex marriage (SSM) in the U.S.

Part 3: Predictions by Linda Feldman
of the Christian Science Monitor

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This topic is continued from a previous essay

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wedding rings2013-JUL-02: Linda Feldman of the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) wrote about SSM "battleground states" to watch:

She wrote:

"Three more states -- Illinois, New Jersey, and Hawaii --could legalize same-sex marriage this year [2013], joining 13 states plus the District of Columbia that already allow it.

Next year could see another wave, with as many as five states moving to repeal constitutional bans. Nevada’s constitutional ban could fall in 2016. And New Mexico, which does not have a constitutional ban, could also take action. Court cases could also hasten legalization in some states, such as Pennsylvania, and ultimately could bring the issue back to the US Supreme Court." 1

She predicted correctly about the three states that might legalize SSM during 2013. They are:

  • Illinois: A same-sex marriage passed the State Senate in 2013-FEB, but was not voted upon in the House because of organized opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and conservative African-American church groups. Thomas Peters, communications director of the National Organization for Marriage -- the main national group opposing marriage for the LGBT community -- said:

    "We have pretty much stopped them in their tracks."

    Proponents of SSM were not able to gather sufficient support to pass the bill before the House entered its summer recess.

    Result: The SSM bill was subsequently passed by the House and signed into law.

  • New Jersey: A SSM bill passed the Democratically controlled House and Senate, but was vetoed by Governor Chris Christie (R). There is speculation that Christie plans to run for President in 2016 as a Republican. If he were to support marriage equality, his chances of any future role in the national party would probably instantly vaporize.

    Seven same-sex couples in New Jersey had launched a lawsuit to legalize SSM. It was put on hold until the Supreme Court issued its ruling in U.S. v. Wilson on 2013-JUL-26. The Court has scheduled a hearing for AUG-15.

    At the time of his veto, Governor Christie suggested a state referendum be held. A Rutgers University Poll released on JUN-17 showed 59% of adults favor SSM -- the highest percentage support of any state that we have seen to date. Many legislators dislike the idea of a referendum because it puts a fundamental human right up for a vote by the general public and subject it to the "tyranny of the majority." But others feel that if a referendum has a significant chance of ending discrimination against a minority group, it should be attempted.

    Result: The state Supreme Court ruled that marriages by same-sex couples were legal.

  • Hawaii: A bill to legalize SSM was introduced into the Legislature during 2013-JAN, but was blocked by a procedural hurdle. According to the Freedom to Marry web site:

    "The most likely outcome now is that the marriage bill will be placed on hold for the remainder of 2013.... [However] as the bills remain ‘alive’ through 2014, state advocates ... are now working to encourage supportive legislators to take affirmative steps to move marriage forward."

    About 55% of Hawaiian adults support SSM according to a recent poll. Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) strongly supports the bill.

Meanwhile, a federal court case, Jackson v. Abercrombie -- is also active. During 2012, a District Court judge ruled that marriage inequality in the state violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

Result: The legislature passed the SSM bill and Governor Abercrombie signed it into law.

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symbol of same-sex marriage Ms. Feldman also predicted that the following states might legalize SSM after 2013:
  • Oregon: A referendum is being promoted for 2013-NOV. A 2012-DEC poll by Public Policy Polling showed that 54% of adults in the state support SSM while 40% oppose it. (Result as of mid-2014: SSMs have been legalized in the state)

  • Michigan: A 2012-NOV survey by the Michigan State University showed that 56% of adults in the state support SSM. A state referendum has been proposed to repeal the constitutional amendment in 2004 that banned SSM. Meanwhile a judge at the federal District Court has ordered a trial in the case involving two women trying to adopt each other's children which could overturn the state's same-sex marriage legislative ban. A bill to conduct a referendum on SSM has been introduced into the state legislature. (Result: Federal District Court ruled in favor of SSM; ruling is being appealed)
  • Arizona: A referendum has been proposed for 2014-NOV to repeal the 2008 constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage in the state.

  • Colorado: An effort is being mounted to repeal the 2006 amendment to the state constitution that banned SSM. A 2012-APR poll by Public Policy Polling found 53% of adults in the state favored SSM. (Result: Lawsuit to legalized SSM filed. Bill to legalize civil unions becomes law. This gives same-sex couples most of the benefits and protections of marriage to themselves and their children, without being able to call their relationship a marriage)

  • Ohio: A Public Religion Research Institute poll in 2013-MAR showed 52% support for SSM. Freedom Ohio, a coalition of groups supporting SSM, is collecting signatures for a referendum in 2014-NOV to repeal the 2004 constitutional ban of SSM. During 2013-JUL, a federal District Court in Ohio established a temporary injunction to have the out-of-state marriage of a Cincinnati same-sex couple recognized. Although there were special circumstances involved in this case, the judge's arguments could be applied to any same-sex couple married in another state whose marriage was not recognized in Ohio. (Result: District Court judge rules that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages solemnized out of state. This ruling was stayed pending an appeal)

  • Nevada: During 2013-MAY, the legislature took the first step to repeal the constitutional ban on SSM. The earliest data that a referendum could be held to repeal the ban is 2016-NOV. A poll by the Retail Association of Nevada showed that 54% of adults in the state favor repeal. By 2016, this should rise to at least 60%. Meanwhile, a lawsuit to legalize SSM -- Sevcik v. Sandoval has been appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals -- the same court that supported SSM in California's Proposition 8 case. It is based on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. (Result: Lawsuit is before a Circuit Court of Appeals.)

  • New Mexico: There is nothing in the state's marriage act or state constitution to bar SSM. Two same-sex couples have filed a lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry. Bills to legalize SSM have been introduced to the Legislature, but are stalled. (Result: The New Mexico Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriages in the state.)

  • Indiana: Advocates promoting marriage inequality are attempting to get a referendum on the 2014-NOV ballot in an attempt to amend the state Constitution to ban SSM. Adults in the state are evenly divided in favor and opposed to SSM itself. But. according to a Ball State University, 54% of adults oppose changing the Constitution to ban SSM while only 34% support a such an amendment. Presumably the majority of adults do not want to write discrimination into the Constitution. [Result: A District Court has issued an injunction recognizing one same-sex marriage conducted out-of-state on compassionate grounds.]

  • Pennsylvania: A 2013-MAR poll by Franklin & Marshall College found that 52% of voters favor SSM. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2013-JUL on behalf of ten same-sex couples, two children, and a lesbian widow to legalize SSM in the state and to have the state recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane will not defend the state law. However the lawsuit's primary defendant, Governor Tom Corbett (R), who opposes gay marriage, was expected to have his general counsel defend the law. 1 (Result: A District Court ruled that SSMs are legal in the state. The Governor and Attorney General decide to not appeal the case. SSMs are proceeding.)

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Linda Feldmann,"Gay marriage battlegrounds: 12 states to watch," Christian Science Monitor, 2013-JUL-02, at: http://www.csmonitor.com/
  2. "US Constitution - 5th and 14th Amendments," FindUSLaw, undated, at: http://finduslaw.com/

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Copyright © 2013 & 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance 
Originally written: 2013-JUL-15
Latest update: 2014-JUN-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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