In those 40 years we’ve made progress. People at bars no longer get harassed by police, in many places in the northeast we have full or almost full protection under the law. Wait Wait, three’s an update. See here. Of course it would have to be in shithole Texas. I’ve been to Texas, if it were to sink to the bottom of the ocean tomorrow I wouldn’t miss it though I would miss a few people I know who live there.
But in 37 states we still have mean spirited DOMA laws in place, which forbids gay people from the right of civil marriage.
And here in RI, House Speaker William Murphy saw fit not to let a divorce equality bill come to a vote. I cannot believe he’s being this obstinate. He knows what the consequences of not changing the divorce law will bring. But I understand his thinking since he’s a good Catholic boy, kisses the Bishops ring et al. You see he’s thinking of the divorce equality bill as the camels nose in the tent flap for gay marriage. But what he has lost sight of is what will happen now that this bill is pretty much dead for this year.
I believe Cass Ormiston will push forward with a discrimination suit against the state. The crux of the argument will be that her Article 1 Section 2 rights under the RI Constitution (To name just one!) are being violated by her inability to obtain a divorce decree in the case of Ormiston v. Chambers.
If it does go forward the section of statute that precludes the equal rights under the law is the Family Court Act of 1967, particularly the section of Rhode Island General Law that has the husband/wife thing in § 8-10-3. It will be the linchpin of the entire suit.
If by chance the suit is successful it would destroy the Family Court Act. I don’t think Murphy is paying attention to that aspect.
And yes, we may have what is perceived to be a hostile judiciary. But when it comes to interpretation of rights under the Constitution I think this might be a slam dunk for the plaintiff.
But otherwise almost every Fortune 500 company has policy that covers LGBT people. And I know having worked for both Brown University and the State of Rhode Island that health care and insurance benefits are available to the partners of gay people.
But it isn’t enough. Until we all have the same rights the fight is never over.