Marriage Equality

Allen West's "American Way'

Congressman Allen West (R-FL) is out with a new ad this week. Set to soaring, dramatic music, the Congressman tells the story of his upbringing and how describes how his father gave him the opportunity live the American Dream. He runs through typical Republican talking points calling for tax cuts and slashing services, and laments the failings of Washington. It’s standard campaign-ad fare, and he concludes by stating “I’m just getting started; that’s the American Way.”

However, West’s record suggests that his notion of the “American Way” is rather at odds with the Constitution’s promise of freedom and equality for all.

The First Amendment guarantees the freedom of religion for all Americans, and Article VI of the Constitution states that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” But West thinks that Representative Keith Ellison (D-MI), a practicing Muslim, represents the "antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established." He also harbors some vehemently anti-Islamic ideas.

America is a country that values free speech and open debate. Yet West has a habit of resorting to calling his colleagues who disagree with him Communists. Liberals, he said, can just “Get the hell out of the United States of America.” 

Freedom of the press doesn’t seem to be high on his list either. He once called for censoring American news agencies for publishing information about the government’s activities.

West believes America is a land of opportunity – something to which he owes his own success – but “equality” and “fairness” somehow fly in the face of liberty. Marriage equality, he says, is not only un-American but will destroy society as we know it.

Congressman West may have produced a slick ad, but the agenda he pushes in Congress would increase inequality, harm working families, destroy core constitutional liberties and cripple Americans’ ability to address pressing problems through government. That’s not the American Way.

PFAW

Prop 8 Appeal Sent to the Supreme Court

This afternoon, the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal of the Prop 8 case.  In February, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit struck down Prop 8, finding California's revocation of the right of same-sex couples to marry same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional. The 9th Circuit's decision means that either the Supreme Court will take up the case or the 9th Circuit’s decision striking down the law will stand.

The appeals court ruling is on narrow grounds unique to California, where same-sex couples were left with all the state rights of marriage but not the name. It found that taking away gay and lesbian couples’ designation of “marriage” while leaving their rights unchanged did not serve any of the purposes put forth by its defenders. Instead, its only purpose and effect was to lessen a targeted group’s status and dignity by reclassifying their relationship and families as inferior. The Court did not address the larger question of whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. While the Supreme Court will be presented with the narrower question as framed by the Ninth Circuit, it is impossible to tell, if it agrees to hear the case at all, whether they will rule on this principle or more broadly on the ability of states to deny lesbians and gays the right to marry.

PFAW Foundation

Perkins: Americans Will Never Accept Gay Marriage Because it 'Violates Reason and Natural Law'

Recently, Tony Perkins and Harry Jackson sat down for a half-hour interview with CBN's David Brody to discuss President Obama's support for marriage equality and what it will mean for the 2012 election.

Brody has posted the entire interview on his blog, in which Perkins compared the issue of gay marriage to the issue of abortion, declaring that Americans will never accept the legitimacy of gay marriage, regardless of what the courts rule, because "same-sex marriage violates reason and natural law" and warning that any Supreme Court ruling upholding the legality of gay marriage will "create great unrest in this society": 

For his part, Jackson saw the President's statement as an opportunity to create a new "Black-Brown coalition" among African Americans and Hispanics rooted in opposition to the Democratic Party's growing support for gay rights and fueled by resentment against gay activists who are trying to push minorities to the back of the line. 

Jackson said comparisons between the push for gay rights and the struggle for civil rights are nonsense because systematic discrimination and violence against the gay community "never happened" and warned that if African Americans and Hispanics don't escape the "Democratic Party plantation," then "America's best days are over": 

No Reason for DOMA, Says Appeals Court

 A federal appeals court in Boston today upheld a lower court ruling that called the key section of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA bans the federal government from recognizing legal marriages between people of the same sex, meaning that it willfully discriminates against a set of married people when it comes to Social Security benefits, joint-filing tax breaks, military spousal benefits and immigration. When DOMA was passed in 1996 no states allowed gay and lesbian couple to marry – its provisions were purely theoretical. Today, marriage equality exists in six states and the District of Columbia, and DOMA actively harms thousands of married Americans – 100,000 couples, according to the court.

In its decision concluding that DOMA violates the Constitution, the unanimous First Circuit panel – two out of three of whom were nominated by Republican presidents – was cautious. The panel said that under First Circuit precedent DOMA doesn’t trigger “heightened scrutiny” – a tougher standard for the federal government to meet. It also declined to address any arguments based on the premise that lesbians and gays have a constitutional right to marry (as opposed to having their existing marriages recognized by the federal government).

But the court was clear that Section 3 of DOMA does not meet the “rational basis” test for upholding a federal law that denies equal protection to a group long subject to discrimination – in other words, there’s just no good reason for DOMA to do the harm that it does.

The court looked at several justificiations offered for the law by DOMA’s supporters and found that each comes up short. Supporters say DOMA will save the federal government money (reports say that it actually costs the government money…and saving money isn’t a good enough reason for legal discrimination in the first place); that allowing lesbians and gays to marry harms children (it doesn’t, and Section 3 of DOMA doesn’t affect these couples’ rights to raise children anyway); and just plain moral disapproval (Supreme Court precedent says this isn’t enough of a reason). And finally, the court takes on the constant argument of opponents of same-sex marriage: that somehow gay couples getting married will harm the institution of marriage for everyone else:

Although the House Report is filled with encomia to heterosexual marriage, DOMA does not increase benefits to opposite-sex couples--whose marriages may in any event be childless, unstable or both--or explain how denying benefits to same-sex couples will reinforce heterosexual marriage. Certainly, the denial will not affect the gender choices of those seeking marriage. This is not merely a matter of poor fit of remedy to perceived problem, but a lack of any demonstrated connection between DOMA's treatment of same-sex couples and its asserted goal of strengthening the bonds and benefits to society of heterosexual marriage.

This is the crux of any number of court decisions that have struck down barriers to marriage equality. The main reason given for many laws that seek to deny marriage rights to gays and lesbians is that same-sex marriage will somehow weaken marriage for everybody else. It’s a claim that just doesn’t hold water.

The First Circuit panel did, however, go out of its way to defend DOMA’s supporters even while rejecting the law.

The District Court judge whose ruling the appeals court upheld declared that DOMA was motivated by “irrational prejudice” toward gays and lesbians. The First Circuit explicitly refuses to go there, instead stating that while that may have been true for some supporters, others were motivated instead by what it characterizes as the non-biased wish to “preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization.” Under recent Supreme Court precedent, they write, the wish to uphold tradition isn’t a good enough one for denying equal protection. But the Supreme Court can change that if it wants:

In reaching our judgment, we do not rely upon the charge that DOMA's hidden but dominant purpose was hostility to homosexuality. The many legislators who supported DOMA acted from a variety of motives, one central and expressed aim being to preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization. Preserving this institution is not the same as "mere moral disapproval of an excluded group," and that is singularly so in this case given the range of bipartisan support for the statute.

The opponents of section 3 point to selected comments from a few individual legislators; but the motives of a small group cannot taint a statute supported by large majorities in both Houses and signed by President Clinton. Traditions are the glue that holds society together, and many of our own traditions rest largely on belief and familiarity--not on benefits firmly provable in court. The desire to retain them is strong and can be honestly held. For 150 years, this desire to maintain tradition would alone have been justification enough for almost any statute. This judicial deference has a distinguished lineage, including such figures as Justice Holmes, the second Justice Harlan, and Judges Learned Hand and Henry Friendly. But Supreme Court decisions in the last fifty years call for closer scrutiny of government action touching upon minority group interests and of federal action in areas of traditional state concern.

Recognizing that the Supreme Court will likely review its reasoning, the court stayed the decision, so it will not go into effect yet.

PFAW Foundation

PFAW Foundation Applauds First Circuit DOMA Ruling

A unanimous three-judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a lower-court ruling which held that Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The panel included two Republican appointees.

Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way Foundation, issued the following statement:

“The First Circuit has reached the inevitable conclusion on DOMA: the arguments for such a discriminatory, hurtful law just don’t hold up. Over 16 years, DOMA has denied thousands of legally married Americans the protections and responsibilities granted to all other married couples under federal law. DOMA prevents married couples from providing for each other through Social Security; sponsoring each other for visas; helping each other with the tax benefits reserved for married couples; and prevents some service members and veterans from having their marriages recognized by the military. DOMA marginalizes a group of Americans, declares them inferior, and denies them rights granted to all others.

“ DOMA has caused real harm to Americans. A law that discriminates against a class of people just for the sake of discrimination is contrary to our principles and contrary to our laws.”

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Samuel Rodriguez: Marriage Equality an Assault on Religious Freedom

Samuel Rodriguez, the Hispanic Evangelical leader who is treated as a bridge-builder by some centrist Christians and the Obama White House in spite of his close alliances with the fringes of the Religious Right, has launched a fasting campaign against marriage equality.  Rodriguez, who serves on the White House Task Force on Fatherhood, has expressed “deep disappointment” regarding Obama’s recent embrace of marriage equality.

Rodriguez joined the Southern Baptists’ Richard Land on Land’s May 19 radio show to denounce marriage equality as a threat to religious liberty and to call on churches to be more aggressive in opposing it.  Rodriguez, who tells evangelicals that they should welcome Hispanic immigrants because God has sent them to redeem Christianity in America, insists that a multi-ethnic religious awakening is necessary to defend “Biblical marriage” in America.

Land and Rodriguez both portrayed the advance of gay rights as a threat to religious liberty, with Land claiming, “There is an attempt in our society to basically make it illegal to condemn homosexuality in our churches – it’s called hate speech.”  Rodriguez said the promotion of marriage equality is “an attempt to silence the church of Jesus Christ.”

Excerpts from the interview:

This egregious attempt to redefine an institution that God formed is not only a violation of everything that we understand to be appropriate but it is an incredible incursion into religious liberty and religious expression. So I believe that we need a multi-ethnic kingdom-culture firewall to push back. White evangelicals alone will not be able to defend marriage in America.

...

This is not an issue of equality.  There is an attempt to silence the voice of Christianity, there is an attempt to silence the voice of truth, of righteousness and Biblical justice. So really the church needs to wake up and say, 'Not on our watch.’  We must stand up for Biblical truth. We must vote vertical.  We must look at our legislators and those that represent us on Capitol Hill and say, ‘religious liberty, the family, biblical marriage and life, must stand protected.’

...

I do believe that the power of the pulpit in addressing truth and righteousness is critical.  We can’t sacrifice Biblical truth because at times it becomes confrontational. Listen, Jesus Christ had very strong confrontational moments. This idea that this is a patsy sort of Christianity. That’s not the Christianity that we follow and adhere to. Sometimes, truth hurts.

Random Book Blogging: The Book of Genesis and the Biblical Definition of Marriage

Last week, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis spoke at the Family Research Council's "Watchmen on the Wall" conference where he warned that the failure to embrace a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis is undermining "the doctrine of marriage" and leading to things like gay marriage.

As luck would have it, just last week I bought a copy of "The One Year Chronological Bible" and had begun reading through it in conjunction with my copy of The ESV Study Bible.  Ham's assertion that a literal interpretation was required in order to understand the true nature of biblical marriage was in the forefront of my mind as I began working my way through Genesis, especially once I realized how much polygamy and incest the book contained.

In fact, outside of Adam and Eve, and Noah and his wife, just about every major patriarch engaged in either polygamy or some form of incest, and often both.

According to Genesis 16, Abraham slept with and married his wife's Sarah's slave because Sarah was was unable to bear children. On top of that, according to Genesis 20, Sarah was also Abraham's half-sister and he later took at least one more wife.

Abraham's son Issac was married to Rebekah, who, according to Genesis 24, was the daughter of the son of Abraham’s brother, which would make Rebekah the daughter of Issac's cousin, or Issac's first cousin, once removed.

Rebekah then gave birth to Esau and Jacob.  According to Genesis 26, Esau married two Hittite women and then later took a third wife while Jacob married the daughters of his mother's brother, his first cousins, named Leah and Rachel.  Rachel was unable to bear children and so gave Jacob her servant to sleep with and take as a wife, to which Leah responded by likewise giving Jacob her servant for a wife.

In addition to these arrangements, Genesis 38 tells the story of Judah sleeping with and impregnating his daughter-in-law while Genesis 19 tells the story of God's destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah where only Lot and his two daughters were saved ... after which Lot's daughters got their father drunk and slept with him and became pregnant.

One of the arguments we hear most often from the Religious Right is that changing "the biblical definition of marriage" by allowing gay marriage will lead to things like polygamy and incest ... which is odd considering that, according to the Book of Genesis, polygamy and incest were predominant forms of marriage.

Barber: 'President Obama has Called Jesus a Liar'

It has come as no surprise that the Religious Right has been up in arms over President Obama's recent announcement in support of marriage equality, but what seems to have really upset them was his citation of the Bible's "do unto others" teaching in explaining his views.

Today, on Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Matt Barber blasted Obama for daring to cite the Golden Rule in support of gay marriage, saying that in doing so "President Obama has called Jesus a liar" and engaged in heresy: 

Barber: NAACP's Support for Marriage Equality is Offensive and Demeaning

Earlier this month, the NAACP passed a resolution supporting marriage equality and declaring that it would "oppose any national, state, local policy or legislative initiative that seeks to codify discrimination or hatred into the law or to remove the Constitutional rights of LGBT citizens."

This move is not sitting well with Matt Barber, who is accusing the organization of making the announcement simply in order to provide political cover for President Obama and, in doing so, "thumbing their nose at their own constituents."  On top of that, Barber said the resolution was "offensive," declaring "how dare they demean and undermine and cheapen the genuine, noble civil rights movement" by supporting "deviant sexual behavior" especially since gays never had to drink from separate water fountains or were victims of lynchings: 

Patrick Wooden on Gay Marriage, The Golden Rule, and Strangers at a Family Reunion

Peter LaBarbera today posted yet another interview with his new best friend, Patrick Wooden along with John Kirkwood, pastor of Grace Gospel Fellowship in Bensenville, Illinois, discussing the recent passage of the marriage amendment in North Carolina.

During the discussion, the three men tackled a wide array of related topics, including President Obama's statement of support for marriage equality.  It was Obama's citation of the Golden Rule in explaining his views that seemed particularly offensive to them, prompting Wooden to offer up a truly incoherent statement that "most people don't invite strangers to their family reunions" while Kirkwood simply compared Obama's citation of Scripture to Satan: 

LaBarbera: Talk about this use of the Golden Rule that Obama cited to justify his new support of the so-called homosexual marriage.

Wooden: It's funny, he's quoting Scripture to debunk Scripture. Amazing. But I agree with the President on the Golden Rule, I think we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us ... I don't that that I should aid anyone in entering into anything that does apply to them or does not appertain to them. Words still have meaning and the word "marriage" means something, it means the union between a man and a woman. So I don't know how he's applying the Golden Rule but I think we should treat people the way we want to be treated. But if a person wants to do something that doesn't apply to them, then I don't think we should help them do it.

Most people don't invite strangers to their family reunions. Most people don't allow perfect strangers to come into their house and sit at the dinner table and dine with them. And we shouldn't, under the Golden Rule, allow people who are not to participate in marriage to be invited into the union in the name of treating people the way we want to be treated. It makes no sense.

LaBarbera: And John, also, four years ago or long, dismissed Romans 1 to justify his support for homosexuality. So talk about this.

Kirkwood: Yeah, I don't think he holds The Word with a great deal of esteem. There was another guy in Matthew 4 who quoted The Word to rebuke The Word. It's not going to work out so well for him.

Matthew 4, for those who may not know, is when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness by Satan.

PFAW Commends NAACP’s Endorsement of Marriage Equality

People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement in response to the decision of the NAACP’s official endorsement of marriage equality this week:

“The anti-gay Right has continually tried to turn the LGBT community and the African American community against each other. The NAACP this weekend stood up and told them in no uncertain terms that their cynical wedge strategies won’t work. Many of the NAACP’s board members, including PFAW board member Julian Bond, are already powerful leaders for LGBT equality. I am heartened to see the organization, which has led the way on so many civil rights issues of our time, take this strong stand on equality for all.”


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Jackson: 'The Black Community is in an Adulterous Relationship with President Obama' Over Gay Marriage

Earlier today we posted a clip of Harry Jackson saying that, with President Obama's recent statement in support of marriage equality, "is just like during the times of Hitler" as gay activists are now "coming after one group after another group."

This afternoon, Jackson followed that up with a new statement accusing President Obama of leading the black community into "an adulterous relationship" by supporting gay marriage which is "no different than a married person having a relationship with someone other than their spouse":

Bishop Jackson also said Obama's announcement that he now supports same-sex marriage was nothing new.

"I realized Obama was for same-sex marriage from the very beginning of his political career," said Jackson. "Jeremiah Wright (Obama's former pastor) has been performing same-sex 'commitment services' for years. Obama has been exposed to this belief for years and has demonstrated time and time again that he does not believe that homosexuality is a sin. Actions speak much louder than words."

...

"The black community is in an adulterous relationship with President Obama," Jackson said. "He is asking us to stray from the most basic tenets of Scripture – that marriage is an institution made by God for man and woman to become one and procreate. He's telling us it's fine to hold onto our beliefs but that it's also okay to accept his stance on a position that goes against that core belief."

"This is no different than a married person having a relationship with someone other than their spouse," said Jackson.

President Obama recognizes LGBT families

It’s clear that, for the President, this isn’t just about couples getting married. It’s also about couples raising children with the sense of security that comes from family equality.
PFAW

NOM's Hypocrisy on Civility

The National Organization for Marriage has found time between its campaigns to enshrine anti-gay discrimination in state constitutions to join a Religious Right attack on gay activist and author Dan Savage, who has forthrightly apologized for comments he made when some students walked out of a speech he gave at a high school.  Earlier this week, NOM blogger and “culture director” Thomas Peters, speaking about the incident on a Seattle radio show, said NOM wants to debate issues like marriage with civility and respect.  When the interviewer told Peters he has heard vitriolic and denigrating language about gay people from religious leaders opposed to marriage equality, Peters said that “when people on our side have said something like that, NOM is always very careful to distance ourselves from those sort of comments, to say, ‘that’s not us, that’s not our movement.’”

Really? Is that why NOM promoted Rev. Patrick Wooden as a spokesman for the anti-gay amendment that voters in North Carolina just passed?  As RWW has reported, Wooden has called anti-LGBT violence “normal” and encouraged parents to beat their transgender child, blamed Oprah, Tyler Perry and the cast of Glee for promoting “wicked” and “perverse” causes, said that Chaz Bono is controlled by demons and claimed homosexuality is a “wicked, deviant, immoral, self-destructive, anti-human sexual behavior."

We have also reported that NOM also promoted Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, who Brian notes has said that gay rights is “Satan’s plan” and “Satan’s point of attack on the United States,” claimed “Oprah [Winfrey] will have to answer to her Creator” for “promoting” homosexuality, wondered if gay TSA agents were deliberately groping passengers, attacked the US for trying “to lecture the Ugandans about homosexuality” by opposing their “kill the gays” bill, and agreed with Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern that homosexuality is more dangerous than terrorism and the greatest threat to America.

Faced with this vitriolic and denigrating language, NOM's response has not been to say, “that’s not us, that’s not our movement” -- it has been to promote the vitriol-spewers as spokespersons for their movement.  So it’s hard to take too seriously anything NOM says about civil debate.

Obama Endorses Marriage Equality

video platform

 

Today’s announcement marks a proud day for our country and for the President. For those of us who have been working towards marriage equality for many years, the impact of having the support of the President of the United States is incredibly powerful. As President Obama made clear in his comments today, marriage equality for all people is an idea whose time has come. Despite setbacks like the results from North Carolina last night, it’s more obvious than ever that the momentum is on our side.

In recent years, more and more Americans have come to understand that preventing loving same-sex couples from getting married causes real harm to the people they care about. In families and communities across the country, Americans are coming to the same conclusion as the President: when two people make a public commitment to love and care for each other, that’s a marriage no matter what the gender of the people involved.

Today the President did the right thing. For thousands of supporters who donated, canvassed and phone banked to help elect Barack Obama in 2008, this is a powerful reminder of why we felt so passionately about this President in the first place.

Now, we must redouble our efforts to knock down one of the biggest barriers to full legal equality nationwide: the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

With your continued dedication to core American values like Equality, and your support of our work expand the promise of our country and our Constitution to all families, together, we’ll Dump DOMA and achieve basic fairness for all: the American Way.

PFAW

As President Obama Supports Marriage Equality, a Look Back

Today, President Obama at last acknowledged that he personally supports the right to marry for gay and lesbian Americans. Although the president maintains his position that marriage laws should be decided on a state-by-state basis, his personal statement provides a huge boost to the marriage equality movement. At a time when over half of Americans want full marriage rights for gays and lesbians, the endorsement of a sitting president is a meaningful signal of progress.

Sixteen years ago, in May 1996, People For the American Way became one of the first national groups to endorse marriage equality and vow to work toward it. In a note to members of the organization’s board, which was to vote on the issue, PFAW’s staff wrote that the Right had started to use the “marriage issue” to “polarize Americans” – a strategy that had its first major victory in the passage of DOMA later that year.

Despite all the progress that has been made for LGBT equality in the past sixteen years, the 1996 memo could have been written yesterday:

In recent years, People For the American Way has come to be a very important voice in the ongoing effort to rid America of discrimination and prejudice against gay men and lesbians.

We have done that over the years for the simple reason that it’s the right thing to do. Opposing discrimination and fostering respect and appreciation for diversity are core values for People For the American Way. These are precisely the values under attack in this latest campaign.

Of course, the marriage issue has very real implications for the everyday lives of millions of Americans. In the area of health care for example, existing marriage laws allow a spouse to make critical decisions for an incapacitated spouse; not so for unmarried couples wou haven’t gone through the necessary legal steps. In many hospitals, the right to visit patients in an intensive care unit is limited to immediate family; gay and lesbian partners – lacking the legal status of family – are often excluded, to the great detriment of both partners. In addition, enormous economic consequences flow from the inability of gay men and lesbians to marry, including significant tax and inheritance benefits.

The lack of legal recognition of gay and lesbian families is of particular concern when children are involved, since the children are deprived of the protection of a legal relationship with the non-biological parent and the ability of that parent to make important decisions for them in any number of settings, including schools and hospitals. And if the biological parent dies, the children may well be taken away from their other parent, who has no legal relationship with them.

Sixteen years later, marriage discrimination continues to hurt gay and lesbian American and their families. That a sitting president has publicly acknowledged the impact of that discrimination is very powerful. We hope that soon the injustice we outlined in 1996 will be hopelessly out of date.
 

PFAW

PFAW President Michael Keegan Responds to President Obama’s Endorsement of Marriage Equality

In response to President Obama’s public comments in support of marriage equality, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement.

“Today’s announcement marks a proud day for our country and for the President. For those of us who have been working towards marriage equality for many years, the impact of having the support of the President of the United States is incredibly powerful. As President Obama made clear in his comments today, marriage equality for all people is an idea whose time has come. Despite setbacks like the results from North Carolina last night, it’s more obvious than ever that the momentum is on our side.

“In recent years, more and more Americans have come to understand that preventing loving same-sex couples from getting married causes real harm to the people they care about. In families and communities across the country, Americans are coming to the same conclusion as the President: when two people make a public commitment to love and care for each other, that’s a marriage no matter what the gender of the people involved.

“Today the President did the right thing. For thousands of supporters who donated, canvassed and phone banked to help elect Barack Obama in 2008, this is a powerful reminder of why we felt so passionately about this President in the first place.”

 

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Marriage Equality: A State-By-State Guide

As North Carolinians go to the polls today to cast their ballot on an anti-gay constitutional amendment which would write discrimination into the state’s constitution and potentially harm all unmarried couples regardless of orientation, The Guardian put together an interactive feature summarizing the state of LGBT equality across America.

The infographic examines each state’s laws pertaining to LGBT persons’ right to marry, visit loved ones in the hospital or adopt a child, as well as protections from hate crimes and from discrimination in employment, housing and schools. While progress has been made, there is much work to be done.

Regardless of today’s vote, North Carolina will not be adding a dark red section to the outer ring, since state law already prohibits same-sex marriage. The proposed amendment simply inscribes discrimination into the state constitution.

Unfortunately, not all Americans have access to the all the protections and responsibilities that only marriage can provide, and this map demonstrates striking differences from state to state and region to region. That’s why we need the federal Respect for Marriage Act more than ever – to ensure that all Americans, straight and gay, are treated equally under the law.

PFAW
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