- Posted January 23, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Can the Dominos Be Stopped?
When the US Supreme Court ruled that a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional last year, the dominos were realigned and restacked. Since then the dominos have been falling rapidly.
The question now is: Can the dominos be stopped?
Up until the Supremes ruled, in the decade previously 11 states had followed the 2003 lead of Massachusetts and gave recognition to same-gender marriages, bringing the total to 12 states plus the District of Columbia. Another four states allow for civil unions or domestic partnerships.
But in the last year another five states have moved into the same-gender marriage allowed column. Two more states recently had their bans against same-gender marriage overturned by federal judges.
Those two states in limbo at the moment are ultra-conservative Utah and Oklahoma. State-recognition of same-gender marriage is on hold in those states until the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on challenges by the states claiming interference by activists federal judges overturning the will of the people.
The question now is: Will the 10th Circuit may follow the more liberal 9th Circuit's leaning and affirm the twin opinions ruling bans in Utah and Oklahoma of same-gender marriage unconstitutional?
Today we are learning that Virginia's newly elected Attorney General Mark Herring is siding with plaintiffs seeking to have that state's ban on same-gender marriage ruled unconstitutional. Virginia, you may recall, was at the center of the 1967 Supreme Court case which ruled that bans on interracial marriage were unconstitutional.
Here in the Cornfield, the State of Indiana is wrestling over presenting a question to voters on the Mid-Term Election ballot which would add a constitutional amendment banning same-gender marriage. That question is finding opposition in committee even though it was approved already in the previous General Assembly. On party-line votes the measure passed out of committee.
It must pass the state legislature in two consectutive sessions to be placed before the public. At this point, there is growing opposition to the measure even before it passed out of committee to the full General Assembly for a vote. That vote may come as early as Monday.
Recent polls in the Hoosier State have shown that the majority of residents are against the proposed constitutional ban and in favor of equality.
Even that stalwart of social conservatism (and mentioned as a possible presidential candidate), Governor Mike Pence, in his State of the State address, seemed to back off his fervent opposition to equality for same-gender couples by calling for civility on both sides of the issue while stating his own personal opposition. The Governor is till hoping the measure does appear on the ballot in November.
The State of Ohio lost in its bid to not recognize a same-gender couple's marriage from another state when a federal judge ruled that the state cannot deny the legitimacy of that marriage.
How long before that domino also falls?
A case in Kentucky where a couple is seeking state recognition of a same-gender couple's marriage in Canada could fall either way. Then there is a case in Nevada, which offers a domestic partnership allowance, which is before the 9th Circuit. Another case in Pennsylvania is looking more likely to push that domino over. A Michigan case from last year may push that domino over as well.
Currently there are 43 active cases nationwide with 27 of those in federal courts. New cases are being filed each week.
Can the lid be put back on the bottle now that the genie has escaped?
Can the dominos be stopped from toppling or will the ban on same-gender equality go the way of the ban on interracial marriage?
From the Cornfield, the momentum of the equality movement is rushing along at a speed I did not think would be possible in my lifetime.
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