American Foundation for Equal Rights

Supreme Court & Marriage: What Happens Next?

More suspense from the Supreme Court, with an announcement in the Prop 8 case pushed back to Friday at the earliest. Meanwhile, a setback in a Nevada lawsuit, but now the case goes to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. That court previously ruled in favor of marriage equality in the Prop 8 case. And with a string of losses and plummeting poll numbers, anti-gay groups are quickly running out of donors.

At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume, and welcome to Marriage News Watch fro December 3, 2012.

Once again, there’s no word from the Supreme Court about the Prop 8 case or the multiple cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act. All of those cases have been re-conferenced for this coming Friday, December 7. That means we may get word by the following Monday, the 10th.

This ongoing suspense is difficult for everyone, but it’s particularly agonizing for the thousands of gay and lesbian couples who are waiting to find out whether they can get married.

Fortunately, the wait is nearly over in Maine. This week the state announced that couples can begin getting marriage licenses on December 29th. But there’s a catch: while there’s no waiting period for marriage in Maine, December 29th is a Saturday. It’s unclear whether there will be special hours to accommodate the start of marriage. But more details are expected soon.

And there’s been a temporary setback in Nevada. A federal judge ruled in the case Sevcik v Sandoval that there is a legitimate government interest in limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. Lambda Legal will appeal the ruling to the Ninth Circuit, a court that has proven relatively receptive to arguments for marriage equality. Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit upheld a ruling that found Prop 8 to be unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, organizers in Illinois are laying the groundwork for a massive field organization. With new offices in Westmount and Springfield, Equality Illinois plans to lobby lawmakers to pass a marriage bill in the upcoming 2013 session.

And new polling in Michigan shows a majority supports the freedom to marry. This continues a trend over the last year and a half in Michigan, with support steadily climbing and opposition dropping.

That mirrors the trend nationally. A new survey this week from CBS shows 51 percent of Americans support marriage equality with 41 percent opposed. This is the 18th national survey to show majority support.

And that steady climb in support isn’t just apparent in polling. You can also see it in fundraising, with donors to anti-gay groups growing increasingly scarce. A new investigation from the Human Rights Campaign shows that in 2011, the National Organization for Marriage had only two major donors responsible for 75 percent of the anti-gay group’s budget. NOM raised 6 point 2 million dollars in 2011, down from 9 point 1 million in 2010.

This year, NOM suffered defeat in all four states with marriage on the ballot. We look forward to seeing the effect that their losing streak will have on NOM’s ability to retain donors in the future.

We’ll be getting news from the Supreme Court any day now. Remember to subscribe here on YouTube and at for breaking news alerts on the Prop 8 and DOMA cases. At the American Foundation for Equal Rights, I’m Matt Baume. We’ll see you next week.