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Aug 1, 2011: The Latest Wrinkle in the Prop 8 Trial
A new twist in the Prop 8 case, with a court date coming just days after a controversial new judge is expected to join the Supreme Court. New York launches its own attack on the Defense of Marriage Act, and polling brings mostly good news, and a little bad.
Well that didn't take very long. After just one day of marriage equality, New York has jumped into the legal fight to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. The state Attorney General filed documents last week, explaining that DOMA prevents New York from providing equal protection to gay and lesbian couples.
Now, this isn't a new case against DOMA. They're just backing up an existing case, Golinski vs United States. But because New York is one of the most populous states in the country, they bring significant weight in the form of thousands of newly married LGBTs.
On a national level, Americans narrowly support marriage equality in New York. A national survey shows support for the state's newly enacted law at 50% to 46%. And separate study, conducted jointly by pollsters for both Obama and Republican candidates, shows that national support for marriage equality is increasing at an exponential rate.
Our numbers are just shy of a majority in New Jersey, but we still have a plurality. A survey there shows 47% support marriage equality, with 42% opposing. We also have strong bi-partisan support, with 77% of Republicans supporting some form of recognition, despite Governor Christie continued refusal to afford equal protection to his LGBT constituents.
Across the country in Montana, a new survey shows 53% support civil unions. The state bans marriage, and although there's no provision in the law for civil unions, there's also nothing that would prevent them.
And continuing west, the California Supreme Court announced this week that they'll hear arguments in the Prop 8 case on September 6th. Now, you might be thinking, didn't they already do that? And the answer is "yes. It's complicated."
The California Supreme Court did hear arguments regarding Prop 8. But in a different case. And the issue before them now is extremely narrow,and actually doesn't have anything to do with marriage or LGBTs. The only issue they're examining is whether the anti-gay Prop 8 proponents have a right to represent California laws in court. That's usually only the job of the Attorney General, since she's the one who administers the laws; but in this case, the proponents want to push her aside and do it themselves.
And now there's a brand new twist. Governor Jerry Brown just appointed a new judge to the Supreme Court. Goodwin Liu will probably be sitting by September 6th. He's known for speaking out in favor of LGBT civil rights, so it's anyone's guess how he'll approach this particular issue.
Turning to international news, a disappointing new survey shows that 55% of Brazilians oppose civil unions. Meanwhile in Columbia, the nation's Constitutional Court has set a deadline of two years for the legislature to figure out how to recognize gay and lesbian couples. Cuba is studying civil unions, with a specific proposal expected in early 2012. And Australia's census will count gay and lesbian marriages for the first time in early August. The government there still doesn't recognize those marriages, but at least now they'll know how many couples they're hurting.
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