Rainbow-Tinted News of the World 03/04/11
Obama administration orders the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
In an unlikely (and I say that due to Obama’s long reluctance to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) turn of events, the Obama administration has finally seen the light … and by that I mean that they’ve realized that DOMA is unconstitutional.
For those of you who don’t know, DOMA was a federal law that was passed in 1996 and determined both that a) marriage is solely a legal union between a man and a woman, and that b) no states need to recognize same-sex marriages determined by other states.
According to CNN, Attorney General Eric Holden said:
“The president has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny,” and that DOMA “fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the president has instructed the (Justice Department) not to defend the statute” in two pending cases in New York state.
Hawaii’s governor signs the bill to allow gay civil unions in 2012.
I’m surprised too. Long known for being quite “anti-gay,” Hawaii – okay, well, the governor, anyway – is going to allow gay civil unions starting in 2012. The governor, Neil Abercrombie, said, “For me, this bill represents equal rights for everyone in Hawaii – everyone who comes here. This is, to me, the essence of the aloha spirit.”
But apparently that spirit isn’t found in everyone. The Star Advisor reported that even a Democratic representative of Hawaii is not okay with this decision.
“It’s a sad day for the people of Hawaii,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard (D, Kalaeloa-Makakilo), who has been at the forefront of opposition for gay marriage since the 1990s. “Politicians have shown that they just don’t care about the views and values of the majority of Hawaii’s residents.”
Maryland is one step closer to allowing gay marriages.
The Maryland Senate approved legislation to remove the requirement for marriages to be solely between a man and a woman. Now, the House of Representatives, the Governor, and, yes, the people themselves will be the deciding factors in this important issue. The Baltimore Sun reports that:
Such a repeal would mean that same-sex couples could be issued a marriage license by the state. The proposal does not require any religious institutions to perform the ceremonies. But voters are likely to have the final say. By collecting about 55,000 signatures, opponents of same-sex marriage could petition the new law to referendum on the 2012 ballot.
Lady Gaga and Target to Jointly Support LGBT Causes
After last year’s criticism over supporting political group Minnesota Forward, which backed a gubernatorial candidate known for supporting a constitutional ban on gay marriages, Target will begin aligning itself with more gay rights groups in exchange for exclusive rights to sell a special edition of Lady Gaga’s hit single “Born This Way.” Of the arrangement, Lady Gaga said,
Our relationship is hinged upon their reform in the company to support the gay community and to redeem the mistakes they’ve made supporting those [anti-gay] groups.
PoliticsDaily.com and Billboard.com report that Target has already donated over half a million dollars to gay groups so far in 2011, and that the company “had always supported groups in the LGBT community.”
Facebook (Finally) Recognizes Gay Partnerships
Though long overdue, Facebook has finally added two additional available relationship statuses to its list. Now users can choose “In a Civil Union” or “In a Domestic Partnership” as their status.
The measure is a step forward in the fight for gay rights. According to Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD),
“When millions of Facebook users see these relationship status options, they gain a greater understanding of the legal inequalities faced by loving and committed same-sex couples in so many states today.”