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Hawaii among targets of gay-marriage push

By Bloomberg News


Gay-marriage advocates, emboldened by a landmark Supreme Court ruling, are enlisting students in New Jersey, black pastors in Illinois and Filipinos in Hawaii to try to convince legislators that history is on their side.

The three states, which already allow civil unions, are the next battlegrounds in an all-out push by civil rights coalitions to legalize same-sex marriage and expand on last month's victory in the nation's highest court. The justices, taking up gay nuptials for the first time, struck down a U.S. law that denied federal benefits to same-sex married couples and cleared the way for weddings to resume in California.

"We're really preparing to be in a position to capitalize on all the momentum we have," said Marc Solomon, national campaign director for New York-based Freedom to Marry. "We want to win the next eight to 10 states as quickly as possible."

By allowing states to continue to define marriage, the Supreme Court's June 26 decision overturning a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act paved the way for gay-rights groups to seek change in state legislatures, courts and ballot boxes. The clash with organizations opposed to gay marriage is likely to spread to more than a dozen states before long.

Gay-rights advocates have already proved their fundraising prowess and ability to build broad coalitions, winning the right to marry in seven states in the last year alone.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex partners to wed, while 35 have anti-marriage laws or constitutional amendments on the books. Other states offer some protection for these couples.

While polls show a majority of Americans favor legalizing gay marriage, there are divisions among the states.

"Now we have a very uneven set of rules and laws around the country," said Brian Powell, a professor of sociology at Indiana University in Bloomington. "The Supreme Court's decision was a compromise that gave states the permission to do what they want — but that compromise in the end isn't a very tenable one."

On the federal level, a Senate bill that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity was approved by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on July 10. It's the first time in more than a decade that such a measure moved out of committee.

The Supreme Court decision put on the defensive same-sex marriage opponents who are also working to advance their position.

"By the nature of the situation, we've been on defense because most every state has already defined marriage as between a man and a woman," said Frank Schubert, national political director for the Washington, D.C.-based National Organization for Marriage. "We're typically fighting proposals to change this."

In states where legislators are unlikely to consider gay marriage, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, same-sex marriage supporters are looking to the courts. They're filing motions citing the Supreme Court's decision striking down a portion of DOMA.

"It's given us a very clear tool and a very effective one in all of our work, both in front of legislatures and in front of courts," Camilla Taylor, senior staff attorney for New York-based Lambda Legal, said of the high court's decision.

Courts in New Mexico, New Jersey, Illinois, North Caro­lina and Virginia are also expected to consider lawsuits that test the constitutionality of state laws that don't extend the same rights to gays as they do to heterosexual married couples.

In Illinois, New Jersey and Hawaii, gay-rights defenders are working to advance measures in legislatures legalizing same-sex marriage.

"Illinois has civil unions, but about 1,038 federal protections they could get with marriage don't apply with civil unions," said Lynne Bowman, a regional field director with the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign. "The Supreme Court decision is changing the conversation and the energy for some of the folks who were, and still are, sitting on the fence."

The Human Rights Campaign hired a pastor to organize in Chicago's African-American faith community. It's also enlisting a campaign director and formalizing a coalition of local civil rights and political groups and businesses to lobby lawmakers to consider a bill legalizing same-sex marriage when the legislature reconvenes late this year. Such a measure passed the state Senate in February but awaits a vote in the House.

A similar effort is underway in Hawaii. The group is looking for a campaign manager to work with its 5,000 members and a coalition of 80 organizations, including Filipino-Americans, to push for a special session of the Legislature to consider a bill legalizing gay marriage.

"We're getting people to tell their stories about why it's important to move quickly and decisively," said Tony Wagner, a regional field director for the HRC. "We want to move the governor and the Legislature to where they feel like it's the right thing to do."

The state Legislature didn't vote on several marriage-equality bills before it adjourned on May 7. Following the Supreme Court rulings, lawmakers said they were considering reconvening earlier than the next scheduled meeting date of January.<t-5>

In New Jersey, gay-rights groups are engaged in a campaign involving unions, churches, businesses and university students. They're seeking to connect with voters and urge municipalities to pass resolutions in support of marriage, said David Turley, a senior regional field organizer for the Human Rights Campaign.

Coalition volunteers are calling constituents in key districts this week encouraging them to ask their assemblyman or senator to overturn a veto by Republican Gov. Chris Christie of a bill passed by the Demo­cratic-led legislature.

The gay-marriage bill passed 24-16 in the Senate and 42-33 in the Assembly. An override would require 27 votes in the Senate, where Demo­crats rule 24-16, and 54 in the Assembly, where they dominate 48-32.

"It's a matter of re-engaging and reactivating our strong coalition across the state," Turley said. "There are glaring inequalities and loopholes in rights and benefits given to New Jersey couples."

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thos wrote:
Unlike the misbegotten Roe v Wade decision, this time SCOTUS got it right: they are leaving it up to each of the sovereign states to decide. These fifty battlegrounds are where the fighting should take place so that - - unlike the abortion decision that was crammed down the throats of all by nine unelected black robed tyrants - - the people themselves can have their say via their elected state legislators.
on July 13,2013 | 03:57AM
allie wrote:
on July 13,2013 | 07:57AM
JAFO wrote:
on July 13,2013 | 08:31AM
on July 13,2013 | 09:30AM
Kuihao wrote:
Yeah, let the people decide, just like racial segregation and inter-racial marriage, right? Crammed down the throats of all by a renegade SCOTUS. What a shame.
on July 13,2013 | 11:09AM
inverse wrote:
You are right, you had Lingle, Aiona and Gary Okino be your torchbearers to rid Hawaii of civil unions and then eventually try to make all abortions illegal in the State of Hawaii and they ALL got kicked to the curb and further marginalized the Republican party in Hawaii. I hope you can convince other politicians to publicly take the lead against same se x marriages in Hawaii and will see if they get kicked to the curb as well. The exception might be Sam Slom but that the guy is irrelevant and doesn't count.. Maybe Hee, Souki or Hanohano?
on July 13,2013 | 10:45PM
false wrote:
Why single Filipino Americans out for this press? Marriage as an institution of commitment belongs to everyone regardless of where they come from. Marriage with benefits belongs to anyone who wants to set those boundaries and enjoy the compensation that attends it, movies, meals, housing, cars;and the sacrifices, old age, senility, raging, diapering, aspirating, etc. What is all this noise about? Benefits and liabilities? Commitment? Care of children? It all comes down to caring. What is so wrong about that?
on July 13,2013 | 06:07AM
sailfish1 wrote:
Maybe Filipinos have a lot of gay men and lesbian females.
on July 14,2013 | 07:23AM
Cricket_Amos wrote:
We all know what marriage is: a man and a woman get married and have children and the next generation is produced. A child has a right to its own mother and father. This all fits together. It is as fundamental as the law of gravity. As for cries for equality, it is almost like men demanding that rooms be set up at work so they can breast feed their babies. We all have to overlook our own selfish desires, to see the bigger picture, and accepting the special status of the men and women who join together to create life, to produce the future, is one of those.
on July 13,2013 | 06:17AM
onevoice82 wrote:
Yes, thank you!
on July 13,2013 | 10:25AM
Kuihao wrote:
And what are gay people supposed to do?
on July 13,2013 | 11:12AM
ehrhornp wrote:
I hope you realize that if gay marriage is allowed, heterosexual marriages will still be allowed. People will not be forced to marry someone of the same sex. Shame many don't seem to realize this.
on July 13,2013 | 11:16AM
false wrote:
It will always be known as Gay Marriage not just marriage. They may have the same commitments, but they will always be different.
on July 13,2013 | 12:45PM
UhhDuhh wrote:
Producing the next generation describes sex not marriage. Lot of people producing kids are not married so they do not fit your definition of marriage. You need to widen the scope of your "bigger picture".
on July 13,2013 | 12:04PM
Waimea_Cowboy wrote:
For the first time in human history the Media and the Gay-rights movement would have you believe that the young are wiser than the old and that this generation is wiser than all of the generations and cultures that went before. Don't forget that before the advent of the the Bible, Buddah, Krishna and Mohammed homosexuality was in the norm. The question is whether civilization is improved by going back to that status or not. You will note that there is virtually NO civilized debate on that point. There is only debate on points of law.We have become pathetic in the eyes of history.
on July 13,2013 | 07:06AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
There is plenty of debate on the morality of equality, as well as the Constitutionality of marriage equality AND the law. As far as the young, the will outlive us, and they overwhelmingly support marriage equality.
on July 13,2013 | 07:15AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Proverbs 14:12 explains that "overwhelming support" quite well.
on July 13,2013 | 07:56PM
ehrhornp wrote:
Actually it was after the bible as well. During the early days of the Church, gay unions were allowed and recognized.
on July 13,2013 | 11:18AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
If you don't want to marry someone of the same gender, don't. If your religious institution does not want to perform a same-gender marriage, there is nothing in ANY of the laws or court rulings that forces them to act against their own beliefs regarding sanctifying a union. A minister, priest, rabbi, etc. can refuse to perform a marriage for ANY reason, just like they have been in this country since it's beginning. But this is about CIVIL rights and benefits and responsibilities, and the country has moved solidly in support of marriage equality. Here is a great compilation of the most recent polling that shows those claiming "the people's will" AGAINST marriage equality are only representing their personal view, not the reality of where the majority of citizens are on this issue: http://www.pollingreport.com/civil.htm
on July 13,2013 | 07:29AM
Cricket_Amos wrote:
" If you don't want to marry someone of the same gender, don't." You can apply this kind of bad logic to justify anything. For example: " if you don't want to beat your wife, then don't"
on July 13,2013 | 08:57AM
UhhDuhh wrote:
How is that bad logic? Makes sense to me. Bad logic is "if you don't want to beat your wife, beat her".
on July 13,2013 | 12:13PM
So if I dont want to consider my gay freinds married, then they are not? Is that how it works?
on July 13,2013 | 12:59PM
UhhDuhh wrote:
Cricket's interpretation of bad logic is if you don't want to consider your gay friends married, then don't but that is not bad logic. In fact, it is perfectly logical. Bad logic is if you don't want to consider your gay friends married then do. See the difference? As far as you choosing to consider your gay friends married or not, that is your kuleana. Has nothing to do with logic.
on July 13,2013 | 02:15PM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Or the law.
on July 13,2013 | 03:53PM
Mythman wrote:
The majority of citizens supported Adolph Hitler. The majority of citizens supported Joseph Stalin. the majority of citizens supported the guy who ran Venezuela, I already forgot his name. The majority of citizens supported prohibition. etc
on July 13,2013 | 10:05AM
allie wrote:
but the minority appreciated allie..:)
on July 13,2013 | 10:27AM
turbolink wrote:
Minority of one.
on July 13,2013 | 11:14AM
UhhDuhh wrote:
on July 13,2013 | 12:09PM
ehrhornp wrote:
It is a shame so many have not bothered to read Romans 2. While romans 1 condemns homosexuality, romans 2 condemns those who passes judgement on others. If homosexuality was so bad or evil, why didn't God put it into the ten commandments and why didn't Jesus specifically address it?
on July 13,2013 | 11:22AM
daniwitz13 wrote:
Why did Jesus allow tornadoes to happen? Why did Jesus allow those two church and God loving girls die in the latest plane crash? Need I go on? Pity.
on July 13,2013 | 12:10PM
8082062424 wrote:
when bad things happen sometimes it was just that person time to go. god did not invent air planes man did. who knows. one thing for sure no one lives forever when it your time you go
on July 13,2013 | 06:03PM
God probably didnt realize that we as human beings would do such a thing in the 1st place. It was beyond his realm of reasoning.
on July 13,2013 | 01:00PM
8082062424 wrote:
Jesus did say he did not come to change the old laws he came so we would have forgiveness at the end of the day sin is sin be it judgement of other or homosexuality or Fornication and Adultery etc it all sin . according to the good book
on July 13,2013 | 06:01PM
hawaiikone wrote:
i guess since Jesus never mentioned incest or pedophilia they must be ok too?
on July 13,2013 | 07:49PM
soundofreason wrote:
Instead of chipping away at the moral decline of America, why don't we just do it in one block? Stop feeding America these little spoonfuls of depravity in hopes that it will be easier to swallow. Take their philosophies and apply them to all aspects. Let it be "ok" for brothers to marry sisters, brothers to marry brothers, and of course, multiple spouses should also be...."ok" using the SAME arguments that are being used today on THIS subject matter. ALL or nothing. No spoon feeding. Let's be done with it and see it for what it ALL is. Choke on it America.
on July 13,2013 | 07:53AM
allie wrote:
on July 13,2013 | 07:58AM
BRock wrote:
Doesn't sound very reasonable.
on July 13,2013 | 01:50PM
UhhDuhh wrote:
on July 13,2013 | 03:38PM
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