- Posted November 28, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Battlelines Drawn for Next Skirmishes Over Equality for Same-Gender Couples
Coming off a high from voters giving victories in the fight for equality for same-gender couples, the GLBT are preparing for the next skirmishes being set now over the next 2 years. Battlelines are being drawn in at least 7 states, including right here in the Cornfield. The Supreme Court will also announce this Friday if it will take up challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the Proposition 8 ruling of the 9th District US Appeals Court concerning same-gender marriage in California.
The decision of the Supremes to address any of the cases pending over the constitutionality of DOMA or the Prop 8 appeal could have far reaching impact on the fight for same-gender equality. The Court is expected to announce which cases it will review on Friday.
In 2011, the Indiana State Legislature approved putting forth a constitutional amendment to limit marriage and rights to one man and one woman. The proposed amendment would also deny benefits to straight domestic partnership as well as same-gender couples. The 2013 Legislature must once more approve the proposal for it to be put to Hoosiers in 2014.
Meanwhile, in Rhode Island, legislators are planning on resurrecting a failed bill from last year to make the state the last of the New England states to approve same-gender equality. While in New Jersey, lawmakers are going to try again to pass a bill that passed last year, but was vetoed by very popular Governor Chris Christie.
Not to be outdone, on the West Coast, Oregon lawmakers are hoping to place a referendum before voters in 2014 which would overturn the current constitutional definition that limits marriage to between a man and a woman. Both Illinois and Hawaii, which currently offer civil unions, will see moves to change the law to allow marriage for all.
Minnesotans rejected a constitutional amendment in November to limit marriage to a man and a woman even though there is still a law on the books that denies same-gender couples equality. Now advocates plan to push the line farther and go for a change in law to allow same-gender couples the same benefits of straight couples.
The attitudes of the public are changing. Whether that change will result in widespread acceptance and equality for same-gender couples may yet be years off.
However the Supreme Court rules on the pending cases, if reviewed, could make much of the issue moot, keep the ball in the hands of states, or set the entire movement back a decade.
As I have stated many times, getting hung up over the word marriage is ridiculous. The only issue should be equality under the law no matter whether as domestic partnerships, civil unions or marriage. Personally, since there is such a Christian religious attachment to the word marriage, I believe it would be best to us a more generic term. Also as others have stated, perhaps all long-term relationships sanctioned by the state should be either civil unions or domestic partnerships. Those wishing to be then "married" can go through a separate ceremony in their house of worship if that religion allows.
From the Cornfield, the next couple of years could be quite interesting in the ongoing struggle for full equality for same-gender couples.