Pelosi vs Boehner on DOMA: This Week in Prop 8 for March 7, 2011

March 7, 2011 at 6:46 am 28 comments

There’s a bitter battle shaping up in Congress, and a nailbiting fight to the finish in Maryland. A new judge in the Prop 8 case, and a big surprise from Wyoming Republicans, thanks in part to one legislator’s gay daughter.

Now that Obama has decided that DOMA is unconstitutional, Congress is pretty much guaranteed to take up its defense, but not without some fireworks. This week House Speaker John Boehner said that he would convene the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to decide on next steps. Even though it’s called bipartisan, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group is dominated by Republicans, and they tend to support DOMA.

The group does include Nancy Pelosi, and she’s likely to push back. Unfortunately, the meetings will probably not be public, so we’ll never know what she says to John Boehner behind closed doors. Which is a shame, because it’s probably pretty good.

Now that we’ve had some time to digest the administration’s decision not to defend DOMA, historians have found lots of examples of presidents making similar decisions in the past. Those include US versus Lovett in 1946, Simkins versus Moses H Cone Memorial Hospital in 1964, INS versus Chadha in 1983, Morrison versus Olson in 1988, Metro Broadcasting Inc versus FCC in 1990 … and so on.

That’s important because anti-gay groups are spreading a lie that the government is required to defend DOMA. It’s just not true. They’re not

They’re also saying that a vast majority of Americans support DOMA. That’s also not true: an survey by the AP last August showed that the public supports recognizing gay couples’ marriages by a margin of 52 to 46 percent. A CNN poll at the same time showed the same numbers. And data released last week by General Social Survey shows support for marriage at 46 to 40 percent.

For us to have multiple surveys showing majority support for marriage is a huge stap forward from just two years ago. And we’re likely to increase that margin even in 2011 and 2012, when, by the way, there’s a presidential election.

That’s all for DOMA, now let’s take a look at Maryland, where things have been crazy. This week a marriage equality bill passed a House panel, but by a margin of just one vote. Now it it goes to a full House vote, which at one point looked like it would go solidly in our favor, but now could go either way.

Multiple legislators have thrown their support into question, or pulled it altogether. That includes Tiffany Alston, who once supported marriage equality and now opposes it. And Jill Carter, who simply never showed up to an earlier vote on the bill.

Then there’s Sam Arora, who campaigned on a promise to support equal marriage, then reversed himself this week and said that he’d oppose it. Then he reversed himself again, and said he’d vote for the bill but only because it starts a process that would eventually allow voters to veto it.

So it’s going to be very close in Maryland, and we need to do everything we can to contact our legislators.

In Prop 8 news this week, a new judge was assigned to the case. Judge James Ware replaces Judge Vaughn Walker, who retired. Because so many Judges touch this case in so many different ways, Ware may or may not have a chance to rule — it all depends on how things go with the California Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit later this year.

That’s a long time to wait, but actually fast by court standards. Last week Ted Olson asked them to move oral arguments up from September to May, but they responded that September was already an accelerated timeframe.

In Maine, the National Organization for Marriage has been ordered to release a list of their donors in the 2009 election that eliminated marriage equality there. They’ve now appealed that ruling.

In New Hampshire, Republicans put a bill on hold that would have eliminated marriage equality for that state. They say they’ll bring it back next year, but it faces a certain veto by the governor. So marriage equality is safe in New Hampshire … for now.

In Rhode Island, time’s running out for a vote on a marriage equality bill, but Democrats are pushing hard for it to happen, possibly as soon as March 10.

And some unlikely help in Wyoming, where a handful of Republican legislators helped to defeat a bill that would have nullified out-of-state gay marriages. One Republican credited his own gay family members for proving that gay couples are worthy of marriage.

That’s why it’s so important for all of us to be open and out.

And on that note, Eric Ross is the author of “My Uncle’s Wedding,” a cute new children’s book that tells the story of a gay couple’s wedding through the eyes of a young nephew. I metup with Eric in the Castro this week to talk about his book.

Matt: I’m here with Eric Ross, he’s the author of My Uncle’s Wedding, a new book for kids that explores a gay wedding through the eyes of a young kid who’s experiencing his uncle marrying his boyfriend. So Eric, people like us are surrounded by all this gay activism and LGBT history, and so we have all this knowledge about what it means to be gay and to have a wedding. Was it difficult to put yourself in the position of a kid who doesn’t have that information, doesn’t have that knowledge, just sees a family member getting married?

Eric: Actually I found it a little bit easy. Matt and I, my fiancee, are planning our wedding for April 2, and as we were going through the process of the cake tasting and the tasting of the food, the outfits, we were kind of taking in that process and I figured it would be kind of a good idea to use that as a storyline.

Matt: So are there a lot of resources out there for parents who want their kids to understand what it mean when a gay couple has a wedding?

Eric: Actually I don’t think there are a lot of resources for children with LGBT families. And I had a couple people contact me to say that they’re buying two copies of the book, one for themselves and one to donate to a library or a school. And I think that’s a great idea, to help get these resources out in the communities.

Matt: What made you decide to write a book? A lot of people just have a wedding and don’t write a book about it. Why put something out this out there?

Eric: It’s interesting, that’s a good question. Throughout the Prop 8 campaign and all the campaigns against marriage equality, I feel like the other side was using children for their political gain, and there was a lot of misconceptions about how children are involved with LGBT people in general, though adoption, through just gay families, and there aren’t a lot of resources for children who have gay family members, or LGBT family members, and I thought this would be a great resource. And we need more resources like this for kids.

Matt: Fantastic. So if somebody wants to get a copy, where should they go?

Eric: They can get a copy on, or they can go to the website, which is

Matt: Fantastic. Well, Eric, thank you so much for talking with us.

Eric: Thank you, appreciate it.

Visit to get your own copy of “My Uncle’s Wedding.”

And you can visit to learn more about all of the stories on this week’s episode.

You can also visit, and if you hit “Like,” you’ll get breaking news alerts from us on your wall, so you’ll always known when there’s action on marriage equality near you, your family, and your friends.

You can get all caught up by watching our previous episodes, including the ever-popular Valentine’s Day protest spectacular. And subscribe to get more of these updates every week on YouTube.

And contact legislators in Maryland.

Entry filed under: DOMA trials, Prop 8 trial, Videos.

Lady Gaga urges supporters to contact New York State Senator LCR vs. United States of America, et al legal update

28 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sagesse  |  March 7, 2011 at 7:10 am

    For later.

    • 2. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 7, 2011 at 7:34 am

      subs. Always enjoy your videos Matt : D

    • 3. Ed Cortes  |  March 7, 2011 at 7:55 am

      scribin’ again! I just can’t get enough!

    • 4. LCH  |  March 7, 2011 at 8:30 am


      • 5. JonT  |  March 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    • 6. dsc77  |  March 7, 2011 at 10:32 am

      Yes, me too.

  • 7. Kathleen  |  March 7, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Great post, as always, Matt.

    A question – you said (wrt the California Supreme Court in the Perry case), “Ted Olson asked them to move oral arguments up from September to May, but they responded that September was already an accelerated timeframe.”

    Do you know of a statement the Court made? The copy of the order I have only says the application is denied, with no additional comment.

  • 8. Ronnie  |  March 7, 2011 at 7:21 am


  • 9. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 7, 2011 at 7:42 am

    sorry if this is a duplicate. NOMs creepy ads in Maryland:

  • 10. Mark  |  March 7, 2011 at 9:43 am

    If every gay relative of every government official came out, there would be no anti-gay representatives in Washington. I can guarantee you everyone in Washington has at least one gay relative.

    • 11. Kathleen  |  March 7, 2011 at 9:52 am

      I saw the movie “Outrage” again this weekend. It made the point that there are so many gay staffers in Washington, that Washington would cease to function without them. Someone in the film comments that the city is “gayer” than San Francisco.

      • 12. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 7, 2011 at 10:30 am

        Reminds me of Bruce Willis in “The Jackal” where he seduced he seduced a Washington staffer to gain access to the U.S. President for assassination… they met in a well-lit very busy mainstream gay restaurant/bar. It made me wonder if it was representative of Washington D.C…..

  • 13. Carpool Cookie  |  March 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

    So, as a refresher, can we have someone gather and post the contact information for members of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, and the House Members in Maryland (highlighting key voters), in each entry this week? It can just be cut and pasted in the post section by some able member of the family.

    That way, people who are able to make calls this week (using their *67 feature if necessary) will have access to the phone numbers and names without having to search for them?

    (For those willing to go above and beyond, we also need snail-mail addresses, as anonygirl learned in NY that writing an actual note or letter to a legislator makes SUCH a bigger impact than a simple email or call.)

    • 14. Straight Dave  |  March 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm

      I know this is a little cheap, Cookie, but until someone posts a better list this may get you started.
      I have no clue who are the key delegates at this point.
      Clicking on a name will give you their phone#, email, party affiliation and brief bio.

      Snail mail for all goes to:
      House Office Building
      6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401

      Individual room #s are listed in their bio’s.

  • 15. Ronnie  |  March 7, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Quinn Boycotts Staten Island St. Patrick’s Parade Over Discrimination

    NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn and other Big Apple lawmakers announced that they will no longer walk in the Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day parade after organizers refused to let people show their gay pride at yesterday’s event.

    Though LGBT activists were initially allowed walk along, they were told they could only do so if they kept all signs of gay pride out of sight. Activists refused, and parade organizers then did their best to toss them.

    “They tried to take us out,” explained Dominick DeRubbio, who tried to march with other members of the local Young Democrats chapter.

    Another participant, St. Jermaine Endeley, who was wearing a rainbow emblem, says a parade organizer tried to censor his garb: “He grabbed my jacket and tried to rip the [rainbow] ribbon off of me. It’s not fair. This is America. I can wear what I want.”

    Quinn, an Irish-American lesbian, insisted she and many of her colleagues, including NYC Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, and Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, won’t return to the parade until organizers open their ranks.

    She also remarked that she’s bewildered by the continued discrimination: “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has been repealed. The military is no longer discriminating against LGBT people but yet parades in New York City are. It baffles the mind.”

    McKeon denied pushing Endeley and insisted that the group was trying to “sneak” gay people into the march, according to the Post. His daughter, Lorraine McKeon Scanni, is reported to be a co-founder of the Staten Island Tea Party.

    (me) As you can tell in the video below, Dennis McKeon DID IN FACT push & touch St. Jermaine Endeley several times…..You know what, I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what your personal biases are….YOU DO NOT PUT YOUR HANDS ON ANYBODY!!!!!!……. <3….Ronnie:

    • 16. Rhie  |  March 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      Again these losers need to read their Constitution. Freedom of expression and right to assemble are guaranteed rights and apply to rainbow stickers and parades.

  • 17. Alan E.  |  March 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Did anyone watch Dateline last night? It was a fantastic episode on bullying in schools. I teared up throughout the entire piece. A writeup about the show can be found here:

    The episode can be found on the Dateline page:

    • 18. Gregory in Salt Lake City  |  March 7, 2011 at 10:50 am

      Thx Alan! look forward to watch later…grateful this topic/awareness has gone mainstream.

  • 19. Eric  |  March 7, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Please don’t spread the misinformation the the Obama administration thinks DOMA is unconstitutional and won’t defend it in court.

    Just last week the administration had no problem denying employment benefits to a same-sex couple, despite court orders to provide benefits.

    • 20. Michelle Evans  |  March 7, 2011 at 11:29 am

      This has been discussed here previously that defending it in court is a different thing than having to enforce a law that–for now–is still on the books.

    • 21. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  March 7, 2011 at 11:29 am

      It’s not misinformation Eric. The Obama admin and the DOJ will not be DEFENDING DOMA in court….but as long as it remains law they will be ENFORCING the law.
      Two totally different things.

    • 22. Kathleen  |  March 7, 2011 at 11:39 am

      You can read the government’s court filing in the case Eric is referencing – Golinski v. OPM here. It’s includes the government’s answers to the questions posed by the court in an earlier order to show cause:

      Lambda Legal has responded to that filing with their own. You can find a link to it here:

  • 23. Ronnie  |  March 7, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Young Gay Prof Heads NAACP Chapter

    After five years of inactivity, the Worcester, Mass., chapter of the NAACP elected a 28-year-old gay professor to revive the group, signaling a generational shift in the national organization.

    Perry’s work focuses on race and governance, education, and public policy, specifically in relation to HIV/AIDS among African-Americans. According to the report, Perry said he hopes his election will help the organization address gay and lesbian issues, which he said have been long ignored among minority communities.

    (me) Congratulations Professor Ravi Perry on the new position……<3….Ronnie

  • 24. Richard A. Jernigan  |  March 7, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Oh, yes, Pelosi is going to push back againt the Weeper of the House. I still think we all need to chip in and buy Boehner either a couple pallets of Kleenex or a case of ShamWow’s to dry his tears with. And follow that with an alligator suit to match those alligator tears.

  • 25. Rhie  |  March 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm


    • 26. tomato  |  March 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      Our pre-Prop8 California marriage is now recognized by Washington State (as a domestic partnership)! Washington HB1649 gives us a legal leg to stand on, without having to register for every state line we might happen to cross.

      • 27. tomato  |  March 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm

        Whoops, that was supposed to be a free-standing reply. Sorry!

  • […] mike posted about this interesting story. Here is a small section of the postThis week House Speaker John Boehner said that he would convene the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to decide on next steps. Even though it’s called bipartisan, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group is dominated by Republicans, … […]


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