Tags: Gay Marriage | Supreme Court | advocates | states | opposed

Gay Rights Advocates Focus on States Opposed to Same-Sex Marriage

By    |   Wednesday, 08 October 2014 06:45 PM

Gays may be celebrating the Supreme Court's unexpected decision clearing the way for same-sex marriages in five states but their struggle is far from over.

And, likely, neither has the Supreme Court heard the last of the contentious issue.

While the court's action in declining to hear cases against state appeals courts which had overturned state laws limiting marriage to only a man and a woman may have freed gays to marry in about 30 states and the District of Columbia, 20 conservative states, mostly in the South and Midwest, are still considered resistant "low equality" states by gay activist groups, who now plan to turn their legislative, electoral and legal activism efforts toward those states, the New York Times reports.

Steve Elmendorf, chairman of the Victory Fund, a gay activist political group, told the Times, "It’s hard to pass laws that change people’s hearts and minds. We’ve got a lot more to do, and the only way to do it is to remember what it was like in Washington and New York in the ’80s and ’70s, when people came out and were visible."

In Alabama, for example, same-sex marriage remains illegal under a 2006 law that passed with 86 percent of the vote.

Much of the opposition in both the South and the Midwest comes from the religious right.

When a gay-straight alliance group met at a local high school, Shawn Smith, evangelist of the East Florence Church of Christ, complained the meeting was "a violation of God's will," and "an effort by the homosexual community to reach our young people" in a letter to school authorities, the Times reports.

The Human Rights Campaign plans to spend $8.5 million on Project One America, focusing on Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi.

The day after the court's decision, Colorado began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Republican Attorney General John Suthers ordered their release, saying, "There are no remaining legal requirements that prevent same-sex couples from legally marrying in Colorado," CNN reported.

However, in Reno County, Kansas, when two women filled out a marriage license application, their request was turned down by Chief Judge Patricia Macke Dick who explained that Kansas' law forbidding same-sex marriage had not specifically been overturned.

Kansas Republican Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback agreed, with Brownback telling ABC News, "The people have spoken on this. I don't know how much more you can bolster it than to have a vote of the people to put in the constitution that marriage is the union of a man and a woman."

In South Carolina, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley says she will honor the court's decision, but added that she was surprised when a South Carolina judge accepted a marriage license application from a gay couple, The State reported.

With all the confusion, University of California, Berkeley, law professor Jesse Choper told CNN, "This will only authoritatively be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court."

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Gays may be celebrating the Supreme Court's unexpected decision clearing the way for same-sex marriages in five states but their struggle is far from over.
advocates, states, opposed
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 06:45 PM
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