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equal rites

Marriage-Equality Update: D.C., Maine, Wisconsin, and the Supreme Court

The week after Independence Day has seen a lot of action nationwide on the gay-marriage front. In Washington, D.C., same-sex marriages performed elsewhere began to be officially recognized on Tuesday, paving the way for what some say is likely the next battle over full legalization. Yesterday, Wisconsin became the first state with a constitutional ban on such nuptials to allow certain domestic-partnership benefits to committed couples. In Maine, opponents to the recently passed marriage-equality legislation say they've attained enough signatures to get a a referendum on the ballot this fall.

Meanwhile, tensions are running high between gay groups and the Perry vs. Schwarzenegger federal suit over marriage equality. Former rivals from the days of the Bush-Gore Supreme Court battle, David Boies and Ted Olson have teamed up against California's Proposition 8 to try to bring same-sex-marriage rights before the Supreme Court. Gay groups like Lambda Legal, Freedom to Marry, the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force have publicly stated they are against "ill-timed lawsuits" that could set the agenda back by years, because "without more groundwork, the U.S. Supreme Court likely is not yet ready to rule that same-sex couples cannot be barred from marriage." In fact, some of those groups have filed legal motions to intervene in the trial, allegedly to aid and participate, but more likely to trip it up in litigation before it can proceed. This spurred a nasty backlash from Boies and Olson's team.

On top of that, the state of Massachusetts is suing the United States on behalf of the 16,000 same-sex couples who've wedded there. They are challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which says that those marriages don't need to be recognized by other states.

And, as you know, here in New York a marriage-equality bill that was introduced by the governor and has been passed by the State Assembly sits languishing outside the State Senate door as the circus enters its third act.

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