Obama “Evolves” a Bit and Other Tidbits on Marriage Equality

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Hey ZFb readers. I’m still feeling pretty miserable today, but there’s lots of interesting news. Today is not the day you’ll read in-depth reports on ZFb, but I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring these important happenings.

1. President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have indicated today that the Department of Justice will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, adding that sexual orientation should be given heightened scrutiny. It’s not entirely clear yet exactly what impact this will have on the cases already proceeding. For an understanding of why they’re only not defending Section 3 of DOMA, read Adam Serwer’s post.

Of course, conservatives are up in arms, including NOM, Matt Barber, and Peter LaBarbera. Joe Jervis points out that the homocons have not yet responded.

On a related note, Senator Dianne Feinstein announced in response that she will introduce legislation to finally repeal DOMA.

2. Meanwhile, in California, the American Foundation for Equal Rights has demanded that the U.S. Court of Appeals lift the stay on Judge Walker’s decision and allow same-sex marriage to resume in California. The recent decision by the California Supreme Court to take on the question of standing adds excessive delays to the process. Said Ted Olson:

We are respectfully asking the Court to lift its stay on marriage for gay and lesbian couples because it has become apparent that the legal process is taking considerably longer than could reasonably have been anticipated. It’s important to remember that the stay was originally ordered with the understanding that the Ninth Circuit would rule swiftly on the case before it. Now that the issue of the Proponents’ standing to appeal has been referred for analysis by the California Supreme Court, substantial additional, indefinite and unanticipated delays lie ahead. It’s unreasonable and decidedly unjust to expect California’s gay and lesbian couples to put their lives on hold and suffer daily discrimination as second class citizens while their U.S. District Court victory is debated further.

3. In Maryland there is movement forward on marriage equality, as the Maryland Senate voted favorably for a second (of three) on a bill for marriage equality.

4. However, in Iowa, conservatives are tapping into every last resort to try to limit same-sex marriage there. The latest scheme is to try to use a provision in the Iowa Constitution that skips judicial review in order to prohibit county recorders from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Apparently, banning same-sex marriage is more important to some Republicans than checks and balances.

5. A marriage amendment bill has been filed in North Carolina, and Pam Spaulding says, “Game on.” Like Bil Browning is doing in Indiana, Pam is ready to expose the hypocrites by publicizing divorcees, adulterers, closet-cases, and financial benefactors among the proponents of this anti-gay bill. If you have any insights, pass them along to Pam.

6. BONUS: Before the day is over, the governor of Hawaii will sign civil unions into law!

Maryland, Hawaii, DOMA… an important day of steps forward.

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