Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gay Marriage in Norway!

From the Associated Press:
Gay couples in Norway will be granted the same rights as heterosexuals to marry, adopt and undergo artificial insemination under a new equality law passed Tuesday.

Norway's upper house of parliament voted 23-17 in favor of the gender-neutral marriage law on the same day that gay couples were marrying in California.

The law replaces 1993 legislation that gave gays the right to enter civil unions similar to marriage but did not allow church weddings or adoption. It takes effect Jan. 1.

Norway joins Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, South Africa, and Spain as the only six nations in the world where gays and lesbians are allowed to marry. California recently began allowing gays and lesbians to marry as a result of a court decision. The state of Massachusetts passed a gay marriage law in response another court decision. Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, these marriages do not get any of the 1,138 benefits, rights, and protections afforded to married heterosexual couples.

Since this is an election season, let's review where the candidates stand on this issue. The research on John McCain--analyzed by atdnext last week--uncovers some very uncomfortable facts. Although John McCain voted against the federal anti-gay marriage amendment, he signed a petition for a referendum on an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Arizona state constitution. Senator McCain seems to believe that states should be allowed to make their own decisions on gay marriage. So while he opposed the federal ban, he supported the state ban and even cut an ad:

He discussed his personal views at the Hardball College Tour in Iowa in 2006:

"On the issue of gay marriage, I do believe, and I think it's a correct policy that the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, a marriage between man and woman, should have a unique status. But I`m not for depriving any other group of Americans from having rights. But I do believe that there is something that is unique between marriage between a man and a woman, and I believe it should be protected."

In this video, McCain explains that while he doesn't have problem with gay marriage, in that he doesn't have a problem with the ceremony, the marriage should not confer any rights.

If that doesn't send a chill down your spine, maybe this will. In the fall of 2007, a judge in Iowa struck down the state's ban on gay marriage. Fox News wrote this about his response to that ruling:

Republican White House hopeful John McCain called the ruling "a loss for the traditional family."

"I have always supported the traditional definition of marriage as between one man and one woman," he said. "The ruling of the court only reinforces my belief that we must have a president who is committed to appointing strict constructionists to the bench."

Last week, I discussed the polling data for Senate races and the history of judicial nominations. Given the likely make-up of the Senate in 2009 and the Democrats’ history of capitulating to Republican presidents, electing John McCain will ensure that he will follow through on his threat promise to appoint more “strict constructionist judges” to the Supreme Court.

Senator Obama has a much gay-friendlier position. He discussed the importance of same-sex couples receiving the same benefits of marriage as married heterosexual couples at a 2007 forum on gay issues sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC):

This week, Jack Trapper (ABC News) asked Senator Obama about his pledge to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, in light of the California Supreme Court decision. Would he reconsider his position in light of this ruling?

"No," said Obama. "I still think that these are decisions that need to be made at a state and local level. . . . As president, my job is to make sure that the federal government is not discriminating and that we maintain the federal government's historic role in not meddling with what states are doing when it comes to marriage law."

Asked "does it bother you, what California is doing," Obama again answered, "no."

Given the very painful personal price I am currently paying for our nation's marriage laws, I cannot in good conscience do anything but join Hillary and support Barack Obama.


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