The Associated Press announced that New York Gov. David Paterson has told state agencies to start recognizing gay marriages performed where the unions are legal.
Paterson spokeswoman Erin Duggan says the governor’s legal counsel sent a memo to all the state’s agencies telling them they could be violating state human rights law if they don’t start recognizing the marriages.
The move is one of the strongest steps the state can take short of action by the Legislature.
The AP explains: “State agencies, including those governing insurance and health care, must immediately change policies and regulations to make sure “spouse,” “husband” and “wife” are clearly understood to include gay couples, according to a memo sent earlier this month from the governor’s counsel.”
Field Poll: Majority of Californians now support gay marriage
The Sacramento Bee‘s Peter Hecht announces new information which indicates that California voters support the right to marry for same-sex couples – by 51 to 42 percent. This is according to a poll taken in May, with 1,052 registered voters.
Hecht explains the significance of the new data: “The results marked the first time in more than 30 years of state polling that a majority of Field Poll respondents favored making gay marriage legal. In 2000, more than 61 percent of voters approved Proposition 22, a statute declaring that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid in California.”
One Field Poll respondent is a lesbian – raising two children with her partner. And the results weren’t surprising to her.
She says, “I don’t need polling data to tell me that I am getting a different attitude these days. I’m president of my daughter’s school PTA. Everybody knows. And nobody questions me.”
Califiornia Supreme Court rejects religion-based bigotry in giving gays and lesbian freedom to marry
Faith in America, an advocacy group working to end legal and spiritual discrimination against GLBT people, has released a statement regarding the gay marriage decision in California.
The group says, “It is a monumental and historic repudiation of religion-based bigotry and discrimination…”
Research in the area highlights examples of the similarity in arguments used to ban interracial and same-sex couples from the freedom to marry.
FIA points out: “…theological arguments and the Bible, even references in Leviticus, were used by opponents of marriage for interracial and same-sex couples. Assertions were made that relationships for interracial and same-sex couples were unnatural and purely sexual, not worthy of marriage and that children raised in such unions would be physically and psychologically harmed.”
Faith in America is the only national LGBT rights advocacy organization lead by a straight ally. Although FIA is not a religious organization – it works to educate Americans about the harm caused by religion-based bigotry against GLBT individuals.
California Supreme Court overturns gay marriage ban
The California Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, and recognizes state marriage laws as discriminatory.
The Los Angeles Times reports: “Today’s ruling by the Republican-dominated court affects more than 100,000 same-sex couples in the state, about a quarter of whom have children, according to U.S. census figures. It came after high courts in New York, Washington and New Jersey refused to extend marriage rights to gay couples. Before today, only Massachusetts’ top court has ruled in favor of permitting gays to wed.”
In his concurring opinion, California Supreme Court Justice Kennard said, “The architects of our federal and state Constitutions understood that widespread and deeply rooted prejudices may lead majoritarian institutions to deny fundamental freedoms to unpopular minority groups, and that the most effective remedy for this form of oppression is an independent judiciary charged with the solemn responsibility to interpret and enforce the constitutional provisions guaranteeing fundamental freedoms and equal protection.”
Paul Drugan, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, said the county was not immediately granting same-sex marriage licenses, and said that the court’s decision would take effect in 30 days.
Images: Los Angeles Times, FaithInAmerica.info