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Yesterday’s historic statement by President Barack Obama in support of gay marriage capped what Obama called an “evolution” in his thinking. In California, a similar evolution may be taking place, in both the courts and the minds of voters.
At the federal level, the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (“DOMA”), which permits states to refuse to recognize the legality of same-sex marriages from other states, is still in place regardless of President Obama’s expressed “personal” views. In the future, the U.S. Congress could conceivably vote to repeal DOMA, in which case President Obama’s stated support for gay marriage may be an indication that he would sign such a repeal.
Likewise, in California, a federal district court in 2010 struck down the 2008 Proposition 8 voter ban on gay marriage, and, last February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the district court’s decision on appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court could eventually decide the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage, via the California Prop 8 case, another similar case making its way through the federal courts, or a combination of such cases.
At the same time, recent polls suggest that Californians no longer support the Prop 8 gay marriage ban, aside from the court rulings that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. Accordingly, Californians may have “evolved” in their feelings about same-sex marriage in the same manner as President Obama, and, apparently, many other Americans, who increasingly support gay marriage.
At minimum, all of this activity in both the legal and political arenas makes it likely that gay marriage will be a prominent issue throughout this year’s presidential campaign.
© 2012 Matthew Emmer -- All Rights Reserved
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