Tag Archives: Defense of Marriage Act

How Many LGBT People Oppose Marriage Equality?

One of the loudest arguments in the fight for LGBT equality has been same sex marriage rights. Same sex marriage has been at the forefront of the movement, as grassroots campaigners and leading politicians alike champion same sex marriage, attempting to repeal laws that go against it and make it legal in places that only offered civil unions or partnerships.

And that campaigning has been incredibly successful. In the United States, same sex marriage campaigners have seen the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) repealed in order for same sex married couples to have their marriages recognised by the government and over 70% of the population now lives in a place where same sex marriage is legal.

Meanwhile, in the UK, David Cameron has said that helping bring same sex marriage into law is one of his proudest achievements.

But has it all been for nothing? Despite the growing support for same sex marriage amongst in and out of the LGBT community, a new study from Pew suggests that many LGBT people are actually opposed to it.

Pew deemed that overall, 7% of LGBT people in the United States are opposed to same sex marriage. The biggest demographics who are against same sex marriage are LGBT African-Americans, LGBT Republicans and bisexuals.

58% of black LGBT people are strongly in favour of same sex marriage, with 12% against it.

45% of LGBT Republicans are strongly in favour, with 19% against it. 8% of bisexuals are against same sex marriage and 22% don’t feel strongly in favour or against it.

The data suggests that religion and age could have been strong factors in LGBT people feeling this way as although 82% of those ages 18 to 29 were in support, 71% of LGBT people over 30 support same sex marriage, which is a big difference.

And in religious groups, 67% of religious LGBT people support same sex marriage in comparison to 82% of non-religiously affiliated LGBT people supporting it.

What’s also important to note is that Pew’s data was collected in 2013, which was before the many same sex marriage victories that took place in the United States in 2014. Perhaps respondents saw those victories take place and changed their opinions afterwards.

Other Pew data told us that 18% of LGBT people overall were in favour of same sex marriage but not strongly.

That’s likely down to the fact that a growing number of LGBT people feel as though same sex marriage gets too much of the limelight and that other LGBT rights issues – such as housing, employment and adoption rights – deserve more attention.

Clearly there is work to be done on all fronts, so we’ll keep you posted once we know more.

Maura Healey is Elected USA’s First Openly Gay Attorney General

Democrat Maura Healey has won the race for Massachusetts attorney general, topping Republican John Miller to become the nation’s first openly gay candidate elected to the top law enforcement job.

Healey has spent seven years in the attorney general’s office and was the former chief of the civil rights division.

She said she had the experience to do the job and will hit the ground running.

Healey is best known in the LGBT community for her work as assistant attorney general on the Massachusetts challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, a lawsuit complementary to one led by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

United States Supreme Court Set to Make Monumental Gay Rights Decision

While many countries create laws with the idea of them being nationwide, the good ol’ US of A likes to be different and leaves many of its biggest laws and rulings up to each of its 50 individual states.

Unfortunately, sometimes this means that basic human rights get left out in the cold, with the majority of American states not allowing for same gender marriage even though a handful of states such as New York, California and Washington have all deemed them legal. However, as per his triumphant support of LGBTQ rights (he helped repeal the Defense of Marriage Act along with the exclusionary army policy, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell) President Barack Obama has told the US Supreme Court not to uphold same gender marriage bans and now, with many same gender marriage cases being put forward, the Supreme Court has an incredible weight on its shoulders.

At their upcoming September 29th conference, the Supreme Court will meet and decide to hear any number of same gender marriage bans. In Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin, same gender couples have all appealed to have their states’ same gender marriage bans ruled unconstitutional, looking to force same gender marriage into legality. While it’s certainly a different way of doing things, as opposed to the usual protesting, pleading and arguing that same gender couples deserve their basic humans rights, they are well within in their rights to do so and could even help move the the process of marriage equality along a bit quicker.

The Supreme Court will use their conference to decide which (if any) cases to hear and make a ruling on whether or not they should be upheld or overturned. The marriage bans being overturned is the outcome that we want – on a state level – but on a national level the impact could be greater. Theoretically, the decisions they make at the conference could determine whether or not it’s even constitutional for states to rule individually on the topic of same gender marriage. Should they deem it unconstitutional, same gender marriages could (again, this is theoretical) take place all over the United States, regardless of marriage bans previously brought into law.

Should we get a decision on same gender marriage at state level, we could get that answer as early as June, 2015 which is pretty flipping huge. We’ll keep you posted on the latest.

DOMA Conqueror Edie Windsor Was an ‘Ignorant Middle Class Lady’ Before Stonewall

Flashback to June, 2013 and one of the leading fights in the path for LGBTQ right was won triumphantly by those in favour of same gender marriage. DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was a stifling piece of United States legislation that meant that marriages between those of the same gender would not be recognised by the government.

And that even if you were legally married, you wouldn’t be entitled to healthcare and social security benefits that opposite gender married couples were free to enjoy.

However, DOMA’s oppressive power was swiftly dismantled and destroyed after widow Edie Windsor sued the US government after they billed her for $363,053 in estate taxes after Windsor’s wife, Thea Spyer, passed away in 2009. But she wasn’t always such a prominent activist.

In Windsor’s own words, the 84-year old describes herself as being an “ignorant middle class lady” around the time that the famous Stonewall riots happened in 1969 as she didn’t think she “identified with those queens”.

Stonewall was a series of protests by members of the LGBTQ community after police raided the Stonewall Inn (a gay bar in New York City which was then owned by the Mafia) and although the movement spawned the pride parades that we know and enjoy today, back then the anti-gay epithet of the times saw it get a bad rep. The fact that the Stonewall Inn was frequented by some of the poorest people in the LGBTQ community is likely also a factor as to why Windsor didn’t identify with those who took part in the riots.

However, Windsor soon recognised just how big of a deal the Stonewall riots are, telling Marriage Equality USA that

“I mean those queens changed my life and I saw them and I loved what I saw. It was the beginning of my sense of community.”

Edie Windsor

As for the own landmark decision in LGBTQ rights that she herself was part of, she added,

“Suddenly the self-esteem is just flowing – I mean even these judges are saying we’re respectable. So we were coming out in droves and the more we came out, the more we saw each other and the more we loved and then more of us came out until we’re just this huge, joyous, loving community and I live in the middle of it and its great.”

Edie Windsor