Friday, 29 March 2013

Marriage Equality

You may possibly have noticed that marriage equality is big news in the US and Europe at the moment, with the  Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012-13 heading for the Report Stage and 3rd Reading in the House of Commons any time now.

The marriage equality movement in the US is currently waiting with baited breath for SCOTUS (the Supreme Court Of The United States) to give judgment on the recent hearings about Proposition 8 and DOMA. The former added a new provision to the California Constitution, "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California". The latter (the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into US Law by President Clinton in 1996) restricts federal marriage benefits and limits inter-state marriage recognition to opposite-sex marriages only.

However, I spotted a couple of postings online that show the struggle for marriage equality in the US began earlier than I had previously realised. In the 1970s, in fact.

In 1970, the October issue of Jet magazine included a photo of Edna Knowles and Peaches Stevens at their wedding in Liz’s Mark III Lounge, a gay bar on the South Side of Chicago, “before a host of friends and well wishers". Of course, the wedding was not recognised in law.

And the blog, Hunter Of Justice, blogged about the subject last December, starting with the 1972 case of Baker v. Nelson. This was the first gay marriage case to reach the Supreme Court. The Court dismissed the plaintiffs' claim "for lack of a substantial federal question"; ie. the Court considered the couple's Equal Protection argument to be so patently invalid that it was not worthy of their attention.

Over the next year or so, two further claims were filed, but neither reached the Supreme Court.

With further detail here:

You can follow the progress of the UK's Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2012-13 here:

See also:

Added on 30 March 2013:
Barely two years after the Stonewall riots, an activist group threw a gay engagement party at the New York Marriage Bureau. They were protesting a City Clerk's threat of legal action against Father Robert Clemment, who was performing Holy unions for gay members of The Church of the Beloved Disciple. Randy Wicker was there to capture it all on film.

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