Americans for Marriage Equality

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Welcome to A.M. Equality - April 23, 2015


SUPPORT FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY AT ALL-TIME HIGH OF 61 PERCENT: According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 61 percent of Americans support allowing same-sex couples to marry -- a record high water mark, and an incredible 22 point increase over ten years. The poll also found that every age group under 65 supports marriage equality by a majority, and that respondents believe that in the 13 states where marriage equality has not yet become the law of the land, 54 percent believe that it should be. Of total respondents, more than 40 percent believe “strongly” in marriage equality, and in recognizing out-of-state marriages in states with existing marriage bans. Check out more information from the poll here:

THIS IS THE BIG ONE: ONE LAWYER’S JOURNEY TO SCOTUS: The Boston Globe takes a look at LGBT legal superstar Mary Bonauto’s extraordinary career -- from helping to bring marriage equality to Massachusetts in 2003, to arguing in front of the Supreme Court on nationwide marriage next week -- and the organization behind her, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. GLAD was founded in 1978, and fought legal battles on behalf of gay and lesbian Americans -- including a high school student fighting to bring his boyfriend to prom, and HIV-positive Americans who were being discriminated against by health care providers and insurance companies. Read the full piece here:

IN NEW POLL, MOST RELIGIOUS AMERICANS SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY: A new poll released earlier this week by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) finds that the members of a majority of major religious groups now totally embrace marriage equality, while those groups still opposed are changing their views quickly. In the nationwide survey of 40,000 Americans, 60 percent of Catholics, 62 percent of white mainline Protestants, and 77 percent of Jewish Americans said they either “favor” or “strongly favor” legal recognition of same-sex marriages. “Today, major religious groups reside on both sides of the issue and within many key groups - such as Catholics - support among rank and file members is now at odds with official church opposition,” said Robert Jones, CEO of PRRI. The poll also found growing support for equality among the nation’s smaller denominations: 42 percent of Muslims now support marriage equality, along with 84 percent of Buddhists, 56 percent of Orthodox Christians and 55 percent of Hindus. See more findings from the poll on ThinkProgress:

WHY THE CONSTITUTION TRUMPS STATE MARRIAGE BANS: The Constitutional Accountability Center’s Brianne Gorod writes in the New Republic about how a ruling from the Supreme Court on the constitutional merits of marriage equality would trump any state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Gorod writes, “...arguments about “democratic process” may seem more attractive than some of the other arguments made by opponents of marriage equality. For instance, leaders of the 2012 Republican National Convention Committee on the Platform filed a brief arguing that marriage bans are constitutional because, in part, men need “traditional marriage” so women can “‘transform [their] male lust into love.’” But there’s a basic flaw in the “democratic process” arguments, as last year’s cell phone search decision confirms. They get the Constitution exactly backwards.” Read the full piece here:

THE PATH FORWARD FOR ANTI-LGBT ADVOCATES: As the tide continues to move in the direction of greater support for marriage equality, opponents are planning their next move, as many legislatures draft “opt-out” proposals. The New York Times notes, “In North Carolina, the Senate president, Phil Berger, a Republican from Rockingham County, is the chief sponsor of a bill that would allow the county officials who issue marriage licenses as well as magistrates to decline to participate in marriages on religious grounds. The bill has passed the Senate.” The Times also uses Alabama as an example, saying that resistance strategies have been planned and implemented in the state, but that they may ultimately run afoul of legal challenge. More here:

REP. KING INTRODUCES “RESTRAIN THE JUDGES ON MARRIAGE ACT”: Notoriously anti-LGBT Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has introduced a bill, dubbed the “Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act,” which would “strip away Article III of the Constitution, which gives federal courts the jurisdiction to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage. The bill also prohibits federal funds from being used for any litigation in, or enforcement of any order or judgment by, any federal court.” Yes, you read that right: Rep. King wants to repeal Article III of the Constitution, just so gay people cannot get married. More here:

MAJORITY SUPPORT FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN GUAM: A new poll from the University of Guam shows that 55 percent of residents of the U.S. territory support marriage equality. Professor Ron McNinch, who helped conduct the poll, told Pacific News Center, “Almost everybody you talk to on Guam has an uncle or an aunt or a cousin or a sister or brother who is gay, and so this is a readily understandable sort of issue.” Recently, Guam’s attorney general issued an order to officials on the island, instructing them to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, licenses have not yet been issued, and now a legal challenge is pending in federal court.


-ANTI-LGBT TEXAS BILLS ADVANCE, ADVOCATES CALL FOR ACTION: Yesterday, two new anti-LGBT bills cleared committees in the state’s House of Representatives, and pro-equality advocates are calling for an “Indiana-style” backlash in order to show legislators that these types of bills will not go unnoticed in Texas. At the helm of these bills is State Rep. Cecil Bell, who has previously gained attention for his anti-LGBT bills and public statements. HRC is fighting against the more than 20 anti-LGBT pieces of legislation on the table in Texas. More here:

-ALABAMA HOUSE COMMITTEE SAYS ADOPTION AGENCIES CAN REJECT SAME-SEX COUPLES: An Alabama House Committee voted yesterday in favor of a bill that would allow private adoption agencies to reject same-sex couples for religious reasons. The “Alabama Child Care Provider Inclusion Act”, which states that groups cannot be forced to participate in adoptions or foster care placements that contrast with their religious beliefs, will now move on to the House floor. The adoption bill is one in a series of contentious religious freedoms bills being passed across the country as marriage bans fall.

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