Post-DOMA, What's Next For The Gay Marriage Fights?
So: DOMA's history, Kristen Bell's engaged, and your local vegan bakery has stopped making free rainbow cupcakes. What's an activist to do now? Well, plenty. For starters, marriage equality advocates have turned to the task of kicking up new legal battles in states that still prohibit same-sex marriage.
On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced a challenge to a Pennsylvania law defining marriage as "a civil contract in which a man and a woman take each other as husband and wife." The wording of the 1996 law explicitly bans domestic partnerships sanctified elsewhere, including civil unions.
As Pittsburgh's CBS affiliate reports: "The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Harrisburg, also will ask a federal judge to prevent state officials from stopping gay couples from getting married. It names Gov. Tom Corbett, Attorney General Kathleen Kane and three other officials. The plaintiffs are one widow, 10 couples and one of the couples’ two teenage daughters, and they include four couples who were legally married in other states but whose marriages go unrecognized by the state of Pennsylvania."
Though recent polling suggests that Pennsylvania—the only northeastern state with such a ban still in place—has become more open to the idea of gay marriage, recent initiatives have stalled in the face of conservative opposition. Enter the ACLU with funds from their $10 million marriage equality "war chest" targeting Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Virginia.
Another prominent gay rights organization, Freedom to Marry, has also set its well-funded teeth on the 37 remaining states in the union that the DOMA ruling won't touch. Their $3 million "Roadmap to Victory: Finishing the Job" plan expands on initiatives that helped overturn a gay marriage ban in Maryland last year.
Leaders in gay rights groups across the country cite the "irrefutable momentum" of the Court's decision as they crank up the fight – literally and figuratively.