Friday, June 30, 2017
The German parliament, or Bundestag, has approved a bill that extends marriage to gay and lesbian couples, making Germany the 14th European country to do so.
According to Deutsche Welle, the bill passed with a 393 to 226 vote, with four abstentions.
“If the constitution guarantees one thing, it is that anyone in this country can live as they wish,” Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary leader of the opposition Social Democrats, is quoted by The New York Times as telling colleagues. “If gay marriage is decided, then many will receive something, but nobody will have something taken away.”
The opportunity to move on the issue appeared earlier this week when Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled that she would support a free vote on the issue among her party members.
Merkel was under increasing pressure to act on the issue from potential coalition partners that may emerge from September's upcoming election. Merkel herself, however, voted against the bill.
Since 2001, Germany has recognized gay and lesbian couples with civil partnerships.
The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex couples do not have the right to spousal benefits for married gay couples.
The state court, which is dominated by Republican appointees and notoriously hostile to LGBT rights, made the ruling today.
It followed the 2015 US Supreme Court ruling, which had found that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry and enjoy equal protection under the law.
However, the Texas justices held that it is up to the state to define the “reach and ramifications” of the ruling.
The court was ruling on a legal challenge over the city of Houston’s decision to grant benefits to same-sex spouses of city employees.
The Texas judges agreed with their challenge, saying: “The Supreme Court held in Obergefell that the Constitution requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriages to the same extent that they license and recognize opposite-sex marriages, but it did not hold that states must provide the same publicly funded benefits to all married persons, and it did not hold that the Texas [Defense of Marriage Acts, banning same-sex marriage] are unconstitutional. “
The ruling also appeared to angle for the issue of same-sex marriage to be revisited at the US Supreme Court level, which may lose its pro-LGBT majority if more conservatives are appointed by President Trump.
The justice wrote: “Obergefell is not the end… already, the Supreme Court has taken one opportunity to address Obergefell’s impact on
an issue it did not address in Obergefell, and there will undoubtedly be others.
“[The petitioners], like many other litigants throughout the country, must now assist the courts in fully exploring Obergefell’s reach and ramifications, and are entitled to the opportunity to do so.”
The decision could begin the process to undercut marriage equality by erasing spousal benefits, including health care benefits, for legally married same-sex couples in the state of Texas.
LGBT advocates plan to appeal against the ruling.
Equality Texas said: “The justices’ holding that Obergefell v. Hodges does not require equal treatment under the law for LGBT married couples is patently indefensible.
“This is a sad day for Texas as our highest court joins the ranks of Mississippi and Arkansas in refusing to abide by the Constitution’s mandate to recognize the dignity and equality of all persons.
“Equality Texas is hopeful that the City of Houston will appeal this horrendous decision to the United States Supreme Court in order to ensure equality for the marriages of all Texans.
“By punting the case back to the lower court, the Texas Supreme Court undermines the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell marriage equality decision.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that marriage equality is settled law and requires states to treat married same-sex couples equally in every area of the law.
“Extreme partisan politics has no place at the Texas Supreme Court and this decision is sure to damage the Texas brand and further tarnish the reputation of this state as being unwelcome and hostile to LGBTQ Texans.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD said: “The Texas Supreme Court’s decision this morning is a warning shot to all LGBTQ Americans that the war on marriage equality is ever-evolving, and anti-LGBTQ activists will do anything possible to discriminate against our families.
“In the age of the Trump Administration, which continues to systematically erase LGBTQ Americans from the fabric of this nation, the LGBTQ community and our allies must remain visible and push back harder than ever against attacks on acceptance.”
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Opposition to marriage equality among Republicans is slowly decreasing.
According to a Pew Research Center survey of more than 2,500 adults, a majority of Republicans no longer oppose same-sex marriage.
“For the first time, a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents do not oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally,” pollsters wrote in releasing their findings. “Today, 48% of Republicans and Republican leaners oppose same-sex marriage, while 47% favor this. As recently as 2013, Republicans opposed gay marriage by nearly two-to-one (61% to 33%).”
The report, based on interviews conducted earlier this month, was released on the second anniversary of the Supreme Court's finding in Obergefell v. Hodges that gay men and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.
Overall support is at 62 percent, while 32 percent of Americans remain opposed.
Support among older Americans has also increased, with 56 percent of Baby Boomers approving. A majority (51%) of African-Americans for the first time support marriage equality. That's a 12 percentage point increase from Pew's survey in 2015.