Thank you to Sex in the Public Square for giving me the space to write.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Julia B. Adams. Here's what you need to know in order to catch up with where I want to begin writing. I'm almost 40-years-old, I've been married for about 10 years and we have two daughters. In fact, I'm not all that different from my friends, peers, and colleagues - graduate degrees, careers, families, home life.
I have a confession to make. I'm not anything like them. Julia B. Adams is not my real name. I don't dare give you my real name because I've done something so bad that if others knew, I would risk damaging everything that matters to me: my family and my career. Some people would treat us very differently. People would condemn my husband, causing him to feel worse about this than he already does. Our daughters lives' would be changed forever. So what is this hideous crime? I had sex for money.
Marriage is now legal, regardless of gender, in four states in the US: Massachusetts, Connecticut and Iowa courts ruled that their state constitutions guaranteed equal protection and access to marriage for same-sex partners, and Vermont just enacted legislation that expressly permits marriage for same-sex partners.
In California the courts had also ruled that the state constitution guaranteed access to marriage for same-sex partners and for about half a year such marriages were legally performed. Then the people voted to amend the state's constitution to expressly prohibit same-sex marriage.
Judicial and legislative processes are generally better suited for protecting minority rights than are popular votes. This isn't to say that the courts and the legislatures always get it right. First of all they are often on opposite sides of the same issue (witness the judicial processes that overturn unconstitutional legislation). Second of all, most legislatures have taken an approach quite different to Vermont's: they've used the legislative process to exclude couples from marriage where legislators in Vermont used their power to expand access to marriage.
Good news today from the Iowa Supreme Court: In a unanimous decision the court ruled that the state's ban on same sex marriages violated the equal protection clause. The original lawsuit was filed in 2005 challenging Polk County's denial of marriage licenses to six couples. A lower court found that the denials were unconstitutional and this ruling by the Iowa Supreme Court upholds that lower court ruling.
The case is called Varnum v. Brien and you can see the full decision in PDF form here.
According to a Huffington Post article, it is unlikely that the Polk County Attorney's office does not plan to ask for a rehearing, and according to John Sarcone, the Polk County Attorney, the decision can't be challenged in the courts by same sex marriage opponents because they have no legal standing, and the case does not raise any federal issues.
It sounds like marriage may be secure in Iowa in a few weeks. Of course opponents are furious, asking if this "perversion" is allowed what will be next, and no doubt they are already lobbing for an amendment to the Iowa constitution.
According to the anti same sex marriage Alliance Defense Fund's DOMA Watch, thirty states have amendments defining marriage as exclusively one-man+one-woman. Ten others have legislation that ban same-sex marriage. Iowa was one of those 10, and now it's ban has been declared unconstitutional.
This is an issue that ultimately needs to be settled at the federal level. Marriage should not be a state-by-state prerogative. I should not have to worry, if I move from one state to another, that my marriage will no longer be valid because of the gender of my partner. The Defense of Marriage Act needs to be repealed and the US Supreme Court needs a case like the Loving v. Virginia in which arguments can be made that prohibiting marriage based on gender is as unconstitutional as prohibiting marriage based on race.
From The California Channel: The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Thursday, March 5, 2009, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in three cases challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a statewide ballot initiative that was passed by a majority of California voters in November 2008.
Proposition 8 was an amendment to the constitution of the state of California that banned recognition of same-sex marriages. This constitutional amendment revoking people's already-established rights was passed by a simple majority vote on a ballot question. This occured half a year AFTER the state had begun recognizing - and solemnizing - same-sex marriages because the Supreme Court had issued a ruling declaring that the failure to to do so was a violation of the basic civil rights of gays and lesbians as guaranteed by the state's constitution. In other words, the Supreme Court said "according to our constitution such marriages should be legal." Then the voters said "We've amended the constitution to make those marriages illegal." Now the Supreme Court is hearing a challenge to the voters' proposition.
Watch the oral arguments live at http://calchannel.com. If the server overloads then watch and listen later by archive.
And check in at Carnal Nation where Chris Hall, co-founder of Sex In The Public Square, will be live-blogging the hearing.
There is a reason they only allow one person in at a time!
We are suddenly less than a week away from Election Day in the United States an there is sex on the ballot all over the place. I'm especially interested in the following ballot questions that deal with
Good news from Connecticut this morning: The CT Supreme Court ruled that the state's marriage laws apply to same-sex couples making it the third state to allow same-sex marriage. Even better news: The governor, Jodi Rell, though she does not agree with the decision, will not challenge it. Of course challenges may come from elsewhere. There is a question on the November ballot asking whether direct initiatives should be allowed in CT, as they are in CA, where voters in November will be able to decide directly whether the state's constitution should be amended to expressly limit marriage to couples who fit the one man and one woman formula.
Why the Mormons (and other churches) are wrong about their support of the CA ballot initiative to restrictSubmitted by Elizabeth on 25 June 2008 - 4:20am
The Mormon church has asked its members to support the California ballot initiative that would amend the state's constitution to define marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman. Specifically, according to the Associated Press:
"We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to ensure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman," church leaders say in the letter. "Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage."
They should rethink that strategy and their own writings explain why: The LDS church claims, in a letter signed by the LDS president, that:
I saw this article and it may have recieved more press in the states but I was really touched that a retired supreme court judge (and I can't imagine a man doing this) has come out to say that her husband who has been suffering with alzheimer's has begun a "relationship" with another woman in a care home where he now resides.
A few hours later, Judge Robert B. Hanson formally stayed yesterday's ruling that the law declaring that valid marriages were only between a man and a woman was unconstitutional, and that the state had no valid interest in arbitrarily discriminating against same-sex couples by denying them the right to marry.
(CNN) -- An Iowa district court ruled Thursday that same-sex couples can marry based on the state constitution's guarantee of equal treatment, court documents show.
The ruling was in response to a December 2005 lawsuit brought by six same-sex couples seeking to wed. They were denied marriage licenses and claimed such treatment violates equal-protection and due-process clauses in the Iowa constitution.
The court also struck down a state law declaring valid marriages are only between a man and woman.