David Blankenhorn’s evolution on marriage equality is emblematic of the paradigm shift we are experiencing as a country on this issue. Loving gay and lesbian couples should not be denied the ability to make the same lifelong commitment as everyone else and Blankenhorn’s agreement with that proposition puts him in the mainstream of American opinion.Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin • Discussing David Blankenhorn, a once-star proponent for California’s controversial Proposition 8, and his shift towards supporting marriage equality, which he expressed in an op-ed in the New York Times, which you can read here. Blankehorne founded the Institute for American Values and testified in favor of Prop. 8 during the trial in California. source (via • follow)
» The nitty-gritty: The bill was co-sponsored by 23 senators, including one Republican (Susan Collins of Maine). It passed the committee easily, via a bipartisan voice vote, and is actually rather narrow in scope: It only provides benefits for unmarried, same-sex domestic partners of federal workers. Married same-sex couples—and unmarried opposite-sex couples—are not included. The range of benefits provided, though, is pretty huge: medical, long-term care, disability, life insurance, workers’ comp, retirement, and more.
Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals • On today’s 2-1 panel ruling, which overturned California’s gay marriage ban on constitutional grounds. This is a validation of a previous ruling against Proposition 8 back in August 2010, made by now retired Judge Vaughn Walker. ProtectMarriage, the group that backed Proposition 8, still has legal recourse, however; they can seek the ruling of a larger 9th Circuit panel, or try to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The likely “swing vote” in that case is thought to be Justice Kennedy, who could therefore occupy the unusual position of holding millions of people’s future marriages and families in his hands. source (via • follow)
The mere fact that a judge is in a relationship with another person — whether of the same sex or the opposite sex — does not ipso facto imply that the judge must be so interested in marrying that person that he would be unable to exhibit the impartiality which, it is presumed, all federal judges maintain.U.S. District Court Chief James Ware • Explaining his ruling that retired Judge Vaughn Walker, a gay man who ruled against California’s Proposition 8 in court, should not have had to remove himself from the case. This is a major victory for gay-rights advocates, and the legal opponents of Proposition 8; its supporters had argued that Walker’s long-term relationship with another man biased his judgment in the case, as he might want to get married. Walker’s ruling against Prop. 8 is still on hold pending a circuit court appeal. source (via • follow)
Do we have to reach that point?Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt • Suggesting that the court may not decide the Prop. 8 case with a broad brush, and may choose a more narrow route instead. It seems that the court in general is favoring gay-marriage supporters, with the court’s most conservative judge, N. Randy Smith, noting that the blockage of marriage seems arbitrary, considering that gays have equal rights in almost every other point of Californian life. “What is the rational basis for that?,” he asked. source (via • follow)