Gay Marriage-The Tide is Turning

In a recent Gallup poll, more than half of Americans say same-sex marriage should be legal, garnering the same rights as traditional marriages. 53 percent to be exact feel this way, as opposed to 44 percent this time last year. It seems like Americans are changing their minds about this controversial issue. Seven states plus the District of Columbia have passed same sex marriage. California’s Proposition 8, the ballot initiative which took away the constitutionally guaranteed rights of same sex couples to marry, narrowly passed in November 2008. Proposition 8 was found unconstitutional in court last year and is currently on appeal.

Los Angeles has long been a bastion of liberal thinking lefty folks. Practically everyone in Hollywood has come out in favor of gay marriage. Celebrities such as Drew Barrymore, Amy Poehler, Tori Spelling and Betty White all have come out in support. Even macho film icon Clint Eastwood has gotten into the mix. In an interview in “GQ”magazine to promote his upcoming film, “J Edgar”, his biopic about the controversial longtime FBI chief who many suspected to be a closeted homosexual, Eastwood said that, “These people who are making a big deal about gay marriage? I don’t give a f–k about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not? We’re making a big deal out of things we shouldn’t be making a deal out of. Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want.”

Leonardo DiCaprio, who stars as the bureau chief, also thinks that the gay marriage debate has been misguided. “That’s the most infuriating thing is watching people focus on that,” DiCaprio told GQ. “Meanwhile, there’s an onset of global warming and these incredibly scary and menacing things with the future of our economy and our relationship to the rest of the world .”

I spoke with Deborah Roth, an author and Interfaith Minister & Life and Relationship Coach based in New York. Deborah has been marrying gay couples for years and her feelings on the subject are clear. “Those people who object to gay marriage on the grounds that it undermines the institution of marriage have, in my opinion, got it all wrong. Divorce does that all by itself. The divorce rate is currently 40-60%. Clearly that institution, which is based on the presumed pairing of a man and a woman, isn’t working out very well. Seems to me we should be focusing more on how to create and sustain healthy heterosexual marriages than trying to prevent existing LGBT couples from legalizing their unions.” Deborah continues, “Who someone loves and who they choose to marry is a personal decision… love isn’t something that should be legislated, period.

I got the legal perspective from Noted Los Angeles based attorney Ben Meiselas. Meiselas says, “The fact remains that Proposition 8 is illegal. Plain and simple, it brands homosexuals as an inferior class without full access to the privileges of marriage. The Supreme Court has explicitly recognized that marriage is a fundamental right afforded to all citizens – and it has never limited the right to opposite-sex couples.”

Ben Meiselas continues, “The case Perry vs.. Schwarzenegger has already invalidated Proposition 8 in Federal Court. Governors Schwarzenegger and Brown have refused to defend it. Now the California Supreme Court must decide whether conservative anti-gay marriage groups can defend it in Brown’s place. Once the procedural battle ends, the Supreme Court will be under considerable pressure to review the decision. This is because federal law beats at the heart of Perry’s assertion that Proposition 8 is illegal.”

David Wolf, a political consultant who’s worked on numerous Senate campaigns including California Senator Barbara Boxer as well as Presidential campaigns including Hillary and Bill Clinton’s, plus Obama’s current campaign, sums up this controversial issue, “Prop 8 opponents won’t rest until it is overturned. Younger voters overwhelming support marriage equality. There’s a generational shift in California and it’s sweeping the nation.”

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