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Morning Links: Prop 8, Sodomy Laws, And Carrie

Lila Shapiro   |   January 23, 2013    9:52 AM ET

-- Proponents of Proposition 8, the ban on gay marriage in California that will be tested before the Supreme Court this spring, filed their opening brief with the court on Tuesday. Buzzfeed reports on the brief:

Our Constitution does not mandate the traditional gendered definition of marriage, but neither does our Constitution condemn it. This Court, accordingly, should allow the public debate regarding marriage to continue through the democratic process, both in California and throughout the Nation.

-- Montana, one of several states to keep laws criminalizing sodomy on the books even after the Supreme Court made them unenforceable, appears poised to finally repeal its law.

-- The Advocate has a long profile of Boys Don't Cry director Kimberly Peirce, who is rebooting Stephen King's Carrie. "Maybe I haven't lived Carrie's exact experience, but you draw from the things that are similar in your own life that you are working out."

Morning Links: Manti Te'o, GOProud and DOMA

Lila Shapiro   |   January 18, 2013   11:11 AM ET

-- Speculation is heating up in the gay blogosphere that the explanation behind Manti Te'o's bizarre saga of a dead ex-girlfriend who never existed may be that he is in the closet. Over at Outsports Cyd Zeigler writes "Not since Troy Aikman have I been bombarded on email, text, Twitter and phone calls about the sexual orientation of any athlete the way I was today about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o."

-- The gay conservative group GOProud finally announced today that they support civil marriage for gay couples.

-- Leading up to the Supreme Court hearing this March, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is continuing the push to help bi-national same-sex couples stay together, at least until the court has ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act.

Morning Links: Paris and Washington, D.C.

Lila Shapiro   |   January 17, 2013   10:34 AM ET

-- Last weekend in Paris, more than 340,000 protesters marched in protest of same-sex marriage. Now, the mayor of Paris is hitting organizers of the march with a $133,000 bill for clean-up costs, to cover damages by the protestors to the grass on the Champs-de-Mars.

-- In a testament to Obama's ongoing support of gay rights, and the progress he has already helped move along in his first term, the President's inaugural committee has chosen a gay man discharged under Don't Ask Don't Tell to be one of eight "citizen co-chairs" to join the commander-in-chief's swearing in.

Morning Links: Wyoming, The Supreme Court, And The 'Gay Cure'

Lila Shapiro   |   January 15, 2013   10:28 AM ET

-- Lawmakers in Wyoming are pushing to legalize same-sex marriage, and several Republicans in the state are already on board.

-- At the New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin considers the upcoming marriage cases before the Supreme Court and wonders how far Obama will go in the next few months in support of gay rights.


-- Two documentary filmmakers who went behind the scenes of the New Jersey ex-gay therapy center JONAH discuss their experience with the founder of the center, Arthur Goldberg, who is now targeted in a groundbreaking lawsuit. "Whichever way the court may rule, we can confirm that the Southern Poverty Law Center's allegations match our own personal experiences with the man at the center of the lawsuit."

Morning Links: Marriage and Drinking

Lila Shapiro   |   January 14, 2013   10:48 AM ET

-- The marriage fight is fully underway in Rhode Island -- the only state in New England that doesn't allow same-sex couples to marry -- where Rhode Islanders United for Marriage just launched a campaign to win full civil marriage rights for same-sex couples. From the press release:

"Rhode Islanders United for Marriage is a broad and growing non-partisan coalition of organizations who are coming together to stand up for all families and ensure the Ocean State joins the rest of New England in providing the unique protection and recognition that only marriage can afford," said Ray Sullivan, Rhode Islanders United for Marriage campaign director. "With more legislative sponsors and supporters than ever before, we believe we can win passage of this important civil rights act in 2013," he added. 

-- In Illinois, business leaders are throwing their support behind efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, after a proposed bill recently failed to get traction. From the Chicago Tribune:

In addition to Google, Orbitz Worldwide and Groupon, individual signers of the letter include Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Co.; Lance Chody, CEO of Garrett Popcorn Shops; Fred Eychaner, chairman of the Newsweb Corp.; and Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs. Eychaner and Ricketts are openly gay executives who are helping fund the statewide push for same-sex marriage, the Tribune has reported.

-- Meanwhile, a Republican lawmaker in Maryland says his state's recent legalization of same-sex marriage drove him, in part, to drinking.

Morning Links: Weddings At The National Cathedral, Developments In Illinois, And A Gay Poet At Inauguration

Lila Shapiro   |   January 9, 2013    9:47 AM ET

-- In a big win for promoters of marriage equality, the AP is reporting that the Washington National Cathedral will soon begin performing same-sex marriage -- one of the first Episcopal congregations to do so. Any Gay Voices readers affiliated with the National Cathedral who plan to tie the knot there?

-- Lawmakers in Illinois plan to reintroduce legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

-- Obama has chosen a gay poet, Richard Blanco, to read an original poem for the president's inauguration on the steps of the Capitol on January 21st. The New York Times has a short profile of the poet.

--The National Stonewall Democrats, a gay rights organization affiliated with the Democratic party, is closing its doors due to a $30,000 deficit. They plan to reopen in 2014.

EXCLUSIVE: Why Maggie Gallagher, Gay Marriage Foe, Quit Her Syndicated Column After 17 Years

Lila Shapiro   |   January 4, 2013    3:18 PM ET

This week, Maggie Gallagher, one of the the leading voices advocating against marriage equality in the United States, announced the end of her syndicated opinion column for Universal Uclick after more than 17 years.

The weekly column appeared in 25 to 35 papers, including the New York Post. Clint Hooker, assistant managing editor of Universal Uclick, the world's largest independent press syndicate, told The Huffington Post that Gallagher's decision to end the column came as a surprise to him and that he "tried to talk her out of it."

Over the last two decades, Gallagher has expounded in her columns on the dangers of legalizing same-sex marriage and the importance of preserving, in her words, a "strong marriage culture" made up of one husband, one wife and babies. In 2007, she co-founded the National Organization for Marriage, a group that has, since its inception, led the fight against efforts to make same-sex marriage legal. In 2010, Gallagher stepped down as president of the organization, but she has continued to beat the drum for traditional marriage on TV and in her column.

Lately, as Gallagher admits in her closing column, that fight has not been going well. Since she began the column in 1995, "On every key measure, marriage is weaker," Gallagher writes. As evidence of this trend, she cites a rising proportion of children "born out of wedlock," and faults the lack of a "powerful ideal of masculinity that points men toward marriage and fatherhood."

But for many advocates of marriage equality, the future of the institution has rarely looked brighter. Last November, three more states legalized same-sex marriage -- the first instances in which voters, not the courts or legislators, enabled marriage equality -- and a number of polls show that a majority of Americans now favor legalizing it. This spring, the Supreme Court will hear two cases on same-sex marriage, with potentially sweeping consequences.

Gallagher reflected Friday via email on these changing tides and what social conservatives need to do to get an edge in an increasingly uphill battle.

Why did you decide to end your column now? 

Well, I found pulling off a weekly column was getting harder and harder and interfering with some other projects I value more. I began to resent writing in 600 words only, and I wanted more time to think. So many people are flailing, I want time to think. Plus, newspapers are dying and while getting a syndicated column was an achievement when I started, it’s now more of a dinosaur. I want to free myself up to do something new. The first iteration of that is building an audience for my weekly letter posted at MaggieGallagher.com. But that's only the first iteration.

Given the signs of decline you note in your final column, how do you feel about your last two decades of work?

Pretty proud and satisfied. I've spoken the truth within the limits of my insight, which is all any writer can do. I've had an impact on my times and stood up for some denigrated truths that I do not think any society can do without. Plus, I know people trying to live by these truths and [passing] them down to their children really appreciate my capacity to put into words what is in their hearts. All in all, I feel pretty good about how I've spent my life.

Some advocates of same-sex marriage see this moment -- and the November election -- as a sweeping turning point in favor of those who wish to legalize same-sex marriage. Not only did three states vote to legalize it and one state vote against an amendment banning it, but a mounting number of polls show support from a majority of Americans. Do you see this as a turning point?

It certainly was a significant milestone.  I actually think it will help us at the Supreme Court this year, but all in all I would prefer to win.  Meanwhile, back in the real world, the spokesman for the Democratic leader in Illinois is claiming he needs Republican votes to pass gay marriage deep in a blue state. They adjourned Friday rather than vote on gay marriage because they did not have the votes.  Deep in the bluest of blue states, the fight isn't over.  

Do you think that there's anything advocates of traditional marriage could have done differently?

I think it’s always important to learn both from failure and from success. In my view "social conservatives" need to do two big things much, much better: build actual political organizations instead of religious ministries masquerading as political organizations, and invest in culture creation networks -- serious artistic and intellectual networks. Culture wars are struggles over who has the power to "name reality." We are getting swamped in this war. 

Do you think anything positive could come from states legalizing same-sex marriage?

Not really. I hope I'm wrong though. Oh, except for making it less likely the Supreme Court will decide that gay people are politically powerless and need special court protection to function in a democracy.

Oh, and of course it would make some gay people happy so that's a good thing. Good that someone will be happy! 

When we last spoke, you said you thought Obama's support for same-sex marriage was "quite possibly" a turning point in the election. Looking back, what do you think the significance of that announcement was?

I think it revealed that social conservatives are not in the game politically. There was no money available to try to make Obama pay a cost for his announcement and that will hurt us dramatically going forward. 

I understand one of your upcoming projects will be working with the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, which has announced it will help defend the Jewish ex-gay therapy group JONAH against a lawsuit from previous clients. What do you think the significance of this fight is?

I am serving on the board with my old friend Chuck Limandri who is one heck of a litigator. The overarching goal is to build legal institutions to protect traditional religious believers from what I believe is going to be increasing efforts to stigmatize and marginalize us from mainstream society -- and to interfere with the process of building institutions that reflect these beliefs.

Chuck decided to take this case and I would defer to him in speaking about it.

What else is next for you now that the column is done?

I stopped the column because it interfered with building a more direct relationship with my readers through email and the web. That's one thing I'm doing. I'm considering other projects, but I haven't made any decisions.

Looking back on the last two decades of your work, what are you the most proud of?

I spoke the truth about the good, within the limits of my insight, whether it made me popular, or whether it made me hated -- or both. 

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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