American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Supreme Court Gets Prop 8 Brief

It’s been a busy week, but we have even bigger news coming in just a few days with briefs in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases. Meanwhile, relationship recognition wins Senate votes in Colorado and Illinois, and new marriage initiatives are launching in Texas and Oregon.

Seventy five percent of Americans believe that marriage is a fundamental Constitutional right. That’s according to a new survey from Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. The survey also shows that 83% of Americans believe that marriage equality will be federally recognized in five to ten years. And nearly two thirds believe that marriage equality would not affect them.

And those values will be heading to court this week, on February 21st. That’s when plaintiffs in AFER’s case to overturn Prop 8 will file their brief with the United States Supreme Court. They’ll be urging the court to affirm the Ninth Circuit ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

We’ll have that brief posted at as soon as it’s submitted to the court. We’ll also have an analysis to explain its contents. The next step in the case will be amicus briefs in support of the plaintiffs, then a reply brief from the Proponents, and finally oral argument on March 26. Subscribe on YouTube and at to stay up-to-date on all those developments.

The Pentagon will expand access to military benefits for spouses of gay and lesbian service members. The policy change came just a day before President Obama called for equal treatment in his State of the Union address. For now, the expansion is far from comprehensive, and leaves numerous benefits still limited to straight spouses. The new policy will likely go into effect this fall.

Couples in Illinois had plenty to celebrate on Valentines Day. The state Senate voted 34 to 21 in favor of marriage equality, sending the bill now to the Democratic-controlled General Assembly. New polling shows public support for marriage at 45.5 percent to 33.6 percent opposed.

And the Senate in Colorado has approved a civil unions bill in a 21 to 14 vote. That bill now moves to the House, where it’s likely to pass, and then to supportive Governor John Hickenlooper.

A lawmaker in Texas has introduced similar legislation. The law, by State Senator Juan Hinojosa, would repeal the state’s Defense of Marriage Act and allow couples to enter into marriage-like civil unions. As in other states, polling is strong: 36% support marriage, 33% support civil unions, and only 25% oppose all relationship recognition.

Meanwhile, organizers in Oregon have moved forward to put marriage on the ballot in 2014. Following several years of public outreach and education, the move is similar to the recent successful strategy in Maine. Polling in Oregon is strong, with 54% support and 40% opposed.

But a marriage bill in Hawaii appears to have stalled for the foreseeable future. The House Judiciary Committee failed to schedule a hearing for the bill, which likely means that it’s off the table until next year. A Public Policy Polling survey from a year ago was close, with support for marriage running 49% to 40%.

Those are the headlines. Remember to subscribe on YouTube and at to get the latest news about the upcoming briefs and Supreme Court argument.