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    Posted November 28, 2012 by
    Farmersburg, Indiana
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    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.



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