• May has been a month of incredible progress for equality

    This month has been historic for marriage equality.

    May has been a month of incredible progress for marriage equality. Two states overturned their bans on same-sex marriage and started issuing marriage licenses to all couples this month. Here’s a recap of some of the most exciting news from all over the country:

    Oregon
    On May 19th, Oregon became the 18th state to legalize same-sex marriage. Voters in the state passed a constitutional amendment in 2004, banning same-sex couples in the state from getting married. This year, a coalition united for marriage equality collected signatures for a ballot measure to reverse that constitutional amendment and overturn the ban.

    Before they could even submit their signatures to put the measure on the ballot in November, a federal judge ruled that the ban was unconstitutional and county clerks began issuing marriage licenses immediately. The plaintiffs in the case left the courthouse and headed straight over to the Multnomah County Clerk’s Office to get theirs. Congrats!

    Arkansas
    On May 9th, an Arkansas Circuit Court judge decided that the state’s definition of marriage being between only a man and a woman, passed by voters in 2004, was unconstitutional. The state’s first same-sex couple was wed the very next day. Four days later, on May 14th, the Arkansas Supreme Court rejected a request to stay the decision but put a hold on clerks to issue marriage licenses. Most recently, the state’s Supreme Court put a hold on the original decision by the Circuit Court to overturn the state’s ban on same-sex marriages, so this fight isn't over. Still, more than 500 marriage licenses were issued to same sex couples during the week.

    Idaho
    In the Gem State, a magistrate decided on May 13th that the state’s law banning same-sex couples from marrying was unconstitutional. She stated, "Idaho's Marriage Laws withhold from them a profound and personal choice, one that most can take for granted. By doing so, Idaho's Marriage Laws deny same-sex couples the economic, practical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of marriage, relegating each couple to a stigmatized, second-class status. Plaintiffs suffer these injuries not because they are unqualified to marry, start a family, or grow old together, but because of who they are and whom they love."

    Two days later, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay pending an appeal brought by the governor and attorney general. Stay tuned.

    Pennsylvania
    The northeast hit a milestone on May 20th when Pennsylvania became the last state in the region to legalize same-sex marriage. (Holy cow!)

    On Tuesday, a federal judge overturned an 18-year-old ban on same-sex marriage. U.S. District Court Judge John Jones III declared, “We now join the twelve federal district courts across the country which, when confronted with these inequities in their own states, have concluded that all couples deserve equal dignity in the realm of civil marriage.”

    The Philadelphia Register of Wills even stayed open late on the day of the decision to begin issuing licenses to same-sex couples. The next day, Gov. Tom Corbett announced that he would not appeal the Judge Jones’ decision on behalf of the state, sealing the victory in Pennsylvania.




    Supporters of marriage equality have enjoyed victory upon victory upon victory this month—and now is no time to let up. State by state, OFA supporters are going to keep organizing to make sure all loving couples can share in the right to get married.

    We want to hear from the people who are out there fighting for it—share what marriage equality means to you.

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    Equal Rights LGBT Marriage Equality