Tons and tons and tons of young activists (including a handful of conservatives) descended on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court this week to express their support or opposition towards same-sex marriage as justices hear arguments that may well strike down the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8. Of the many demonstrators, perhaps none are nerdier than a pack of students from the Georgetown University Law Center, who are predominantly peeved about the Court’s decision to “review the arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry using rational basis, the most lenient form of judicial review in the U.S. court system.” Haven’t been to law school yet? DCist’s Benjamin Freed, who dubs it the “Most Obscure Supreme Court Protest,” explains:
In a rational basis review, judges test if a law or other governmental action is in the reasonable interests of that government in a way that passes muster with the Fifth or 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The standard gives a wide berth to state laws, such as Proposition 8.
Spotted among the crew, second from the left in that photo, is former Argus editor, prolific soccer blogger, and all-around friendly dude Gabe Lezra ’11, who elaborates on his crew’s moral indignation:
“Rational basis means that the court will give great deference to any state law passed so long as that it is rationally related to government interests,” said Gabe Lezra, who was propped up one of four posters decorated to look like a court brief.
“We were going to do a table of authorities, but we ran out of time,” he said.
The situation: as early as 2009, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo publicly supported gay marriage in a Huffington Post op-ed, and has consistently spoken out in favor of same-sex marriage, including speaking out in favor of Maryland ballot initiatives granting same-sex marriage twice (links here and here).
In response, Democratic Maryland state legislator Emmett C. Burns, Jr. sent this letter to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti on August 29, 2012, stating that he finds it “inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo, would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically, as a Raven football player.” The succinct letter goes on to state that such a view “has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement.” Key is the final paragraph, visible past the jump:
Let me start by saying that I think Love Makes a Family is an amazing organization, and feel that for the most part they have made good strategic decisions. One exception I take would be with their initial opposition to the civil unions bill in 2005, and another would be choosing April Fool’s Day as the day to announce that they will disband at year’s end.
As a Connecticut resident who has followed the fight for marriage equality in the state very closely, I am still in disbelief about their announcement–though I am very glad that Love Makes a Family no longer has a reason to exist. After all, we now have full marriage equality in Connecticut. Any two adults in the state who want to get hitched can do it. Mission accomplished.
“With GLAD’s victory in the Kerrigan Supreme Court decision and with the knowledge that same-sex couples’ right to marry is secure, we can officially close our doors at the end of the year,” the group’s executive director, Anne Stanback said in a statement. “We want to conclude our work on a high note: celebrating our successes, completing our advocacy work over the next nine months, and sharing our organizational resources with others to further empower the Connecticut community for the future.”
The bill also removes gender references in state marriage laws and transforms existing same-sex civil unions into marriages as of October 2010. It now has to be approved by the General Assembly.
Most of the debate Monday centered around religious freedom and the ability of a religious organization to deny a same-sex couple the use of its reception hall for a marriage ceremony.
Rep. Bruce Morris, D-Norwalk, who led the debate on an amendment which ultimately failed, said by exempting religious organizations the state of Connecticut could avoid what happened in state’s like New Jersey where a church lost its tax exempt status for denying a same-sex couple the right to marry on church owned property.
Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield, D-New Haven, said Morris’ amendment treated same-sex couples differently than other couples. “What we are doing here today is making sure we are not treating people as other,” Holder-Winfield said. He said Morris’ amendment discriminated against a certain group of people, but Morris argued there are plenty of choices out there.
This past Saturday, in cities all throughout the United States, individuals gathered to protest Proposition 8 in California, as well as other propositions in many states that limited the rights of non-heterosexual couples. According to the New York Times account, there were tens of thousands of people protesting overall, including about nine thousand in LA, four thousand in NYC, and a thousand in DC and Vegas and Minneapolis. Overall, there were protests in over 150 cities nationwide.
As one of only two states that is currently allowing gay marriages, Connecticut is in a unique position to show the rest of the country how successful non-heterosexual marriage can be.
Here are some photos from our local New Haven protest this past Saturday… and note that even the dog is, in fact, wearing a gay rights t-shirt:
On Saturday, November 15th, protests will be held across the nation to protest the passing of Proposition 8 in California last week. This proposition writes discrimination into the California Constitution and unfairly treats LGBTQ Californians as second class citizens. There are protests occurring at 1:30 on Saturday in both New Haven and Hartford at each city’s respective city hall.
A month after Connecticut’s highest court legalized it, the state started handing its first marriage licenses to same-sex couples today. Congratulations for being ahead of the American social curve, Connecticut.
Karen Anderson, Associate Dean of Continuing Studies and the director of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program, writes:
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Love Makes a Family (LMF) are holding a marriage workshop here on campus for same-sex couples, attorneys, and anyone who needs to be updated on the legal implications of our new marriage rights. Hear from Attorneys Ben Klein and (Middletown’s own) Maureen Murphy on issues such as what to do with your civil unions, taxes, and healthcare.
Anne Stanback from LMF will also be on hand to discuss next steps to defend our marriage rights.
Zach Strassburger ’06 sends in a video that includes footage from the Friday’s rally/celebration at the Capitol for marriage equality in Connecticut. You can listen to some of the speakers from the event and just watch the ecstatic excitement in the atmosphere: