American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Marriage Equality and the Super Bowl

Anti-gay comments overshadow the Super Bowl, but they can’t stop progress in Arizona, Hawaii, and Rhode Island. We have new legislation and strong polling to carry marriage forward from coast to coast. Plus, amicus briefs in the Prop 8 case.

Last week a member of the San Francisco 49ers drew fire for openly rejecting the possibility of having gay teammates. Team management distanced themselves form his remarks. But others players followed that up by claiming that they hadn’t made an It Gets Better video that they actually had. Meanwhile, a player on the rival Baltimore Ravens has been an outspoken supporter of the freedom to marry.¬†Brendon Ayanbadejo said he’ll reach out to the 49ers and to the public on the issue of marriage.

Meanwhile in Arizona, State Senator Steve Gallardo has introduced two marriage equality bills. One would repeal the existing constitutional ban on marriage, and the other would repeal the state’s statutory ban. This may seem like a long shot, but the polling is actually pretty encouraging. A Public Policy Polling survey from a year ago showed a near-tie, with 44% supporting marriage equality and 45% against.

A political action committee in Michigan is collecting signatures to put marriage equality on the ballot. Marriage Michigan PAC wants to gather 300,000 signatures and raise $10 million for a 2014 vote. But Equality Michigan is skeptical about the effort. They’ve been laying the groundwork for a ballot measure in 2016. Polling in Michigan has steadily improved, but it’s still close.A November survey showing 56% support.

We also have new polling data from Hawaii, with support now at 55% to 37% opposed. Legislators may vote on marriage equality bills in the coming months. There’s also a lawsuit in progress over the state’s marriage ban.

Numbers are even stronger in Rhode Island, where 57% support marriage to 36% opposed. A marriage bill passed the House last month but it’s slowed down in the Senate.

And there’s new data from Pennsylvania, where we have a plurality of support. Forty-seven percent favor marriage, with 43% opposed. That’s a slow but steady improvement over the last decade in the state. The Pennsylvania Democratic Party added marriage equality to the official party platform last year, and several pro-equality legislators won their elections in November. Pennsylvania may become a state to watch in the next year for renewed efforts to pass a marriage bill.

There’s been progress in Wyoming, where a domestic partnership bill advanced further than any such measure ever has before. Although the bill ultimately failed in a House vote, it was the first time that any pro-LGBT legislation made it that far in the state legislature.

And finally this week, various groups have filed amicus briefs in support of Prop 8 with the US Supreme Court. The next milestone will be briefs from the plaintiffs on February 21st, briefs in support of the plaintiffs a week after that, and then oral argument on March 26th.

We’ll have more news on the Prop 8 case, as well as developments from the states, in the coming weeks. Subscribe on YouTube, @AFER on Twitter, and at Facebook.com/AmericanEqualRights for the latest. You can also pledge your support at AFER.org and sign up for breaking email alerts.