gay marriage

It seems everywhere we turn these days, state bans on marriage for same-sex couples are falling.  Eighteen American jurisdictions (17 states and the District of Columbia) now allow same-sex couples to wed on the same terms as opposite-sex couples.  Here in Oregon, our constitutional exclusion of marriage for same-sex couples is being challenged both in court and at the ballot box.

Today, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, is unconstitutional. The ballot initiative was passed by California voters in November 2008 and challenged in federal court by two gay couples. The Ninth Circuit decision upholds the ruling by retired U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who first struck down the ballot measure in 2010.

In a separate decision, the appeals court refused to invalidate Walker’s ruling on the grounds that he should have disclosed he was in a long term same-sex relationship.  ProtectMarriage, the backers of Prop 8, are expected to appeal Tuesday’s decision to a larger panel of the 9th Circuit or directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Local activists for Equality Maine rallied throughout southern York County over the weekend to collect signatures for a petition to put gay marriage on the state ballot in 2012. About 57,000 signatures are needed statewide to get the item on the ballot, and organizers hope to gather about 80,000.

The saga in Washington state over whether or not to make public the names and personal information of referendum petition signers continues. The U.S. Supreme Court is looking into the matter, but some in Washington don’t want to wait. They want this information public, and they want it now.

State Rep. Reuven Carlyle filed a bill for the next session that would make it a specific law that the names, home addresses, and signatures of those citizens who sign a petition are made public. What kind of precedent would this set?

The nation’s highest court will decide by January 11 if they will hear arguments in Doe v. Reed, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The case hinges on whether signatures on a referendum petition fall under the state’s public records disclosure law.

As the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether signatures on the Referendum-71 petition in Washington state should be made public, a public opinion battle is heating up. Compelling arguments are surfacing on both sides of the issue, with each side calling on the High Court to rule in their favor.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has ordered the Washington Secretary of State not to release the names and addresses of voters who signed the petition for Referendum 71.