Kojo and Tom Sherwood chat with Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker and Alexandria mayoral candidate Kerry Donley.
Maryland voters could become the first in the nation to approve same-sex marriage at the Nov. 6 ballot. Lawmakers in six states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage, but none of them put the issue before the voters. Kojo explores the campaigns for and against Maryland’s Question 6, and looks at how similar measures elsewhere and a possible Supreme Court decision could affect same-sex marriage across the United States.
- Annie Linskey Maryland Political Reporter, Baltimore Sun
- Derek McCoy Executive Director, Maryland Marriage Alliance
- Nancy Polikoff Professor, American University's Washington College of Law; and author of "Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families under the Law" (Beacon Books)
MR. KOJO NNAMDIWelcome back. It's a debate that's divided people across the country. Should gay couples be able to get married? Six states and the District of Columbia say yes, dozen of states and the federal law say no. Now, Maryland voters will decide which camp to join when they cast their ballots for or against Question 6 on the November ballot. The Maryland General Assembly legalize same-sex marriage effective next year, but opponents force the question onto the ballot.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThe vote comes amid similar measures in other states and new activity in the courts. Last week, an appeals court ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. As Maryland prepares to vote, we'll look at who's lining up for and against same-sex marriage and examine how the state measure figures into the national battle over who can tie the knot. Joining us in studio is Annie Linskey, Maryland political reporter with the Baltimore Sun. Annie Linskey, thank you for joining us
MS. ANNIE LINSKEYHi there.
NNAMDIAlso with us is Derek McCoy. He is executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance. Derek McCoy, thank you for joining us.
MR. DEREK MCCOYGood to be with you as well, Kojo.
NNAMDIAnd joining us by phone from Los Angeles is Nancy Polikoff. She's a law professor at American University. Nancy, thank you for joining us.
PROF. NANCY POLIKOFFIt's a pleasure.
NNAMDINancy, I'll start with you. If Maryland voters approve Question 6 on the ballot next month, they will make history as the first state where same-sex marriage is affirmed by the voters. But six states in the District of Columbia already allow same-sex marriage. Why are their laws different?
POLIKOFFMarriage is a state matter, and so every state decides for itself who it is, who's allowed to marry, and that's how it's always been here. So state law varies on all sorts of marriages. The District of Columbia recognizes common law marriage. The other states around us don't. It's -- that's the normal course of events.
NNAMDIVoters in a number of states have approved bans on same-sex marriage. And Minnesota voters are being asked to approve such a ban next month. But, Nancy, last week, a federal appeals court in New York struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed by Congress, saying it's unconstitutional. Explain what the act says and what this ruling means.
POLIKOFFSure. So, as I said, states define who it is who's allowed to marry, and historically, the federal government accepts that you're married if the state where you live says that you're married. And this has been true, again, throughout our history. So for matters of federal law, such as immigration purposes, Social Security, income tax and other aspects of federal law, if you are married in the state where you live, you're considered married.
POLIKOFFThe Defense of Marriage Act which was enacted in 1996 says that that general rule does not apply to married same-sex couples. And so it's that aspect of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is contained in section three of DOMA -- so we call it section three of the Defense of Marriage Act -- it's that section that was declared unconstitutional in New York last week, in Massachusetts earlier. A number of federal court judges around the country have declared that unconstitutional.
POLIKOFFAnd assuming that the U.S. Supreme Court upholds those rulings, which I think it will, all that means is that the federal government must recognize couples who are married as married, whether they're same-sex or different-sex couples. It does not mean that any state must allow same-sex couples to marry. It only has to do with federal government recognition of couples who are indisputably married.
NNAMDIYou mentioned the acronym for the Defense of Marriage Act as DOMA. So what is Super-DOMA? What is a Super-DOMA law, and have any been approved?
POLIKOFFSo a Super-DOMA -- so states have their own Defense of Marriage Act. And when we talk about a Super-DOMA, we're talking about a law that bans not only same-sex marriage but any recognition of unmarried couples, gay or straight. So, for example, in Michigan where they have a Super-DOMA, same-sex and different-sex couples who were working for various government municipalities or for the University of Michigan, lost their domestic partner benefits because that state has a Super-DOMA.
POLIKOFFAnd even though it wasn't a question of recognizing same-sex couples as married, their constitutional amendment says if you're an unmarried couple, gay or straight, you cannot be recognized at all for any purpose.
NNAMDI800-433-8850 is the number to call if you'd like to join this conversation. Do you think the Supreme Court should take up the question of same-sex marriage this term? 800-433-8850. Annie Linskey, how did Question 6 end up on the ballot in Maryland?
LINSKEYOh, well, it was quite a fight. It was a two-year fight in the Maryland General Assembly. In 2011, the Maryland Senate made some very subtle shifts to a key committee, a judiciary committee, which allowed same-sex marriage to get out of that committee where it had been locked for years. And when that happened, it caught a lot of people by surprise, and it -- the legislation passed in the Senate and then went over to the House of Delegates, where everybody thought it would pass. It's traditionally a much more liberal chamber.
LINSKEYBut it did not. In 2011, the votes were not there, and the House speaker pulled the bell from the floor at the last minute. It was very dramatic. And then the state went into this year of lobbying on both sides, and the governor last summer decided that he would -- he announced that he would put it in his own bill in '12, and he did so. And there was this -- you know, Derek is here laughing. I mean, there was a lot -- there's quite a struggle in the General Assembly.
LINSKEYReally, the first half of the legislative session was taken up with this issue, will it or will it not pass in the House of Delegates, and it did via single vote. And then it passed again in the Senate. So it was -- it's taken up a lot of time and a lot of energy, but it got through.
NNAMDISo how did it now end up on the ballot in the form of a referendum?
LINSKEYWell, Maryland has a petition rule. It had not been used in 20 years until last year, and all of a sudden, it's being employed in quite a number of different situations in Maryland. But a group of individuals...
NNAMDILed by State Delegate Neil Parrot.
LINSKEYLed by -- and the man sitting next to me, Derek McCoy.
NNAMDIWe're going to get to Derek shortly.
LINSKEYIt was able to -- they were able to collect hundreds -- tens of thousands of signatures. I believe there's 160,000 signatures to put this law to referendum, which is -- the constitution in Maryland allows that. And so when those signatures were validated, the issue went -- was put on the ballot.
NNAMDIDerek McCoy, tell us about your group, the Maryland Marriage Alliance, and who your local partners are in opposing Question 6.
MCCOYSure. Thank you very much, Kojo. Well, the Maryland Marriage Alliance is a collective group of many people across the entire state of Maryland from the east side to the Eastern Shore, Lower Eastern Shore that basically comprise of blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians and various different denominational groups as far as religious organizations as well as other just organizations in general that got together collectively and said, hey, we need one organization to try to work on this one issue.
MCCOYThere's legislators involved. There's people across the party lines, Democrats, Republicans, independents. And matter of fact, we did a pretty large rally on -- in Annapolis and the Capital during the legislative session, and many are touted that, you know, we had Tea Partiers and NAACPers standing next to each other, which was kind of symbolic of really what this Maryland Marriage Alliance is about.
MCCOYAnd like what Annie said, we were able to, probably, I think, for Maryland, historically get over 162,000-plus petitions turned in by the end of the day. We feel like we got close to 200. And, you know, those were concerned citizens across the state that really wanted to have a say on this issue and on this bill.
NNAMDIFor those people who may be a bit confused because they know that the NAACP CEO Ben Jealous is supporting same-sex marriage, they should understand that the NAACP isn't really an organization that is the sum total of its local chapters, and local chapters can make their own decisions about issues. And what you're saying is that there were a lot of NAACP members who are participating in your organization.
MCCOYAbsolutely. And to date, we still have a lot of NAACP members which are a bit baffled right now by Ben Jealous, which is the head of the NAACP coming in and being in our state. Julian Bond has ads running in the state. And so from a national perspective, it's quite baffling for a lot of local members as well as local chapter leaders and presidents about where they are actually sitting on this issue. So there's a bit of a gap there.
NNAMDIIn case you're just joining us, we're having a conversation about Maryland's same-sex marriage referendum, which will be on the ballot in this November election 2012. We're talking with Derek McCoy. He is executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance. Nancy Polikoff is a law professor at American University. And Annie Linskey is the Maryland political reporter for The Baltimore Sun. We're taking your calls at 800-433-8850. You can send email to email@example.com.
NNAMDIAnnie, you wrote about Frank Schubert, the strategist who's running the campaigns against same-sex marriage in four states including Maryland. What role has he had in fighting same-sex marriage nationwide?
LINSKEYWell, he's a really interesting man, I think. He is a Republican strategist from California, and he was instrument -- he was ran the Prop 8 campaign against same-sex marriage in California, and he won. He also won in Maine where -- in 2009 when that was on the ballot. And he won again more recently in North Carolina this last -- earlier this summer. And...
NNAMDISays he's never lost.
LINSKEYHe has never lost, and he has this really persuasive message. And it's -- I thought he is interesting because when you look at the polls right now in Maryland, The Baltimore Sun did a poll, the Washington post did a poll, we -- both newspapers have marriage -- same-sex marriage passing by either nine or 10 points, depending on which newspaper you believe. But what Frank Schubert says is I'm not worried about that because I have come in to states like this before, and I unrolled this message.
NNAMDIIn a consequences message.
LINSKEYThat's right. That's right.
LINSKEYAnd it says there is a consequence to marriage that you don't understand. It's going to have an impact in your life, in your marriage, in schools, in religious institutions that -- that's not being explained to you. And this message, it always works. Now, the issue -- the problem, I believe, that opponents of same-sex marriage have is they don't have the money, really, to get that message out.
LINSKEYRight now, it's to put our jar up in the polls, and supporters have significantly more money. And it's just -- as an observer, it's hard for me to see, you know, if this message is so effective, how they're going to unroll it.
NNAMDIWell, we may have already heard a little bit of the message. Let's listen to an ad opposing same-sex marriage in Maryland.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMANThey promise us Question 6 protects people who oppose gay marriage, but it doesn't. Dr. Angela McCaskill is an official at Gallaudet University. She signed the petition putting Question 6 on the ballot. Then she was suspended from her job. She's not alone. When marriage has been redefined elsewhere, as Question 6 does, people who believe in traditional marriage have been punished. They were threatened. He was fired. They were sued. Who will be next? We're all at risk under Question 6.
NNAMDIDerek McCoy and Nancy Polikoff, I'd like to hear both of your thoughts on this commercial. First, you, Derek, talk about how the suspension of a Gallaudet University official reflects your concerns about legalizing same-sex marriage.
MCCOYWell, I think it's, you know, when you begin to deal with this whole issue about marriage, there are consequences. I think it's right thinking to begin to understand, are there any substantial consequences that take place if you begin to look at either redefining marriage or this issue? We've already seen -- because this issue was such a hot-topic debate issue at this point, when people begin to talk about it, I mean, there are significant folks that begin to say, hey look, how can you think this way? Where are you?
MCCOYAnd I --- like, I always talk about this, and I've had quite a few interesting names and adjectives put together about me. Now, specifically, in terms of, like, this one with Dr. McCaskill, if we look at Dr. McCaskill, well, Dr. McCaskill was the first African-American awarded Ph.D. student at Gallaudet University. She served as chief diversity officer over the last few years, but she's also been working there for over 24 years.
MCCOYAnd from my understanding, every indication shows, as Deaf Person of the Year and other different awards she's gotten, that she's had an exemplary time of service there. Now, it was interesting, under Dr. McCaskill's own admission in her own press conferences the other day, not what I said, but she said there were -- there was a lesbian couple there at the University. They basically floated a name based on what's been published out there, that she signed the petition.
MCCOYWhen she signed the petition about marriage -- and this just puts it on the ballot. And the petition, really, is a generic petition. It didn't make a difference what side you're on. If your name's on there, you can -- it goes to ballot. What took place, though, is that she was immediately suspended without ever asking the question of why did you sign the petition? Is this fairness or anything else?
MCCOYIt's just that immediate concept that's going on right now in our culture that if you support marriage between one man, one woman, there are absolute saying, you know what, there's consequences. You don't need to be here. We need to suspend you.
NNAMDIAnd as we pointed out, Dr. McCaskill has not indicated a position, one way or the other, on the issue.
NNAMDIShe signed the petition to get it on the ballot. But, Nancy Polikoff, I'm suspecting that there are those who will argue that, for instance, in the District of Columbia, the reason there could be no referendum is because the district has a law that says you cannot have a referendum on a human rights issue and that this is a human rights issue. I suspect that there were people at Gallaudet who oppose the -- Dr. McCaskill signing that petition because she's signing a petition that, in their view, makes human rights an issue that voters can weigh in on.
POLIKOFFWell, I don't believe anybody should be fired from their job for signing a petition to put something on the ballot. And that is allowed in Maryland, so I don't think she should've been fired from her job for that. That's a separate issue from whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in Maryland. And this argument that if you oppose same-sex marriage, you're essentially the new oppressed minority, I think, is just a bogus argument. There is a lot of support for the position that marriage be between a man and a woman.
POLIKOFFAnd people who believe that do not have any trouble expressing their views, just as people don't have trouble expressing any view that they want to about how policies should be in place in our country. That's a separate matter about -- then government recognition, and it's a separate matter than principles of equality that are in our Constitution. So you don't have to agree. Look, there's religious organizations that believe that a husband is a superior dominant person in a marriage and that a wife is to be submissive.
POLIKOFFThey have an absolute right to have that opinion, to preach it in their churches, to offer it to the public if that's what they want to do. What they don't have a right to do is have laws that implement that opinion. They can raise their children that way if they want to. They can offer that as their opinion in any forum. But law represents something different. And in our country, a law represents equality between men and women in marriage, and it should, in my opinion, represent equality between same-sex couples and different-sex couples.
NNAMDIGot to take a short break. When we come back, the lines are filled with callers. So if you want to join the conversation, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, a tweet, @kojoshow, or go to our website, kojoshow.org, and ask a question or make a comment there. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back to our conversation on Maryland's same-sex marriage referendum. We're talking with Nancy Polikoff. She's a law professor at American University. Annie Linskey is Maryland political reporter with the Baltimore Sun. And Derek McCoy is executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance.
NNAMDIAnnie Linskey, the Baltimore Sun had a poll showing African-American voters supporting Question 6, while a Washington Post poll found American -- African-American voters leaning against it. Talk about the role black voters play in deciding same-sex marriage in Maryland. Are black churches coming out strongly on one side or the other?
LINSKEYI think black voters are going to be critical on same-sex marriage and a number of the other referendum, but especially same-sex marriage because what every poll has shown is that the population of African-American voters are changing their minds on this issue. And that's the one consistent thing, that no matter what sort of metrics you're using and whatever formulas you're -- question you're asking in the poll, is that African-Americans are opening their minds to this issue in a way that they had not for years.
LINSKEYSo, you know, there are a lot of potential reasons for that. But, absolutely, if same-sex marriage is going to pass in Maryland, there's going to have to be a large number of African-Americans, probably about 50 percent, supporting it. Conversely, if it's going to go down in Maryland, African-Americans are going to have to come back to their traditional view.
NNAMDIThis could be one of the reasons for the changes. This is an ad or part of an ad on the website Marylanders for Marriage Equality. It's titled "Clergy for Question 6." The speakers are Rev. Al Sharpton, the Rev. Delman Coates and the Rev. Christine Wiley.
REV. AL SHARPTONListen, the truth is there are various views among us about the religious definition of marriage as it relates to same-sex couples. And we are confident that the Civil Marriage Protection Act protects religious institutions and clergy who do not perform same-sex marriage.
REV. HOWARD-JOHN WESLEYNo member of the clergy and no church will ever be forced to marry anyone if it is not consistent with their own religious beliefs.
REV. DELMAN COATESAnd yet we realize that the role of the state is to protect everyone equally under the law.
REV. BRAD BRAXTONTherefore, we have a civic and a moral duty to stand with fellow Americans as they pursue equality.
NNAMDIThat was an ad featuring Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Howard-John Wesley of Alexandria, Rev. Delman Coates of Clinton and the Rev. Brad Braxton of Baltimore. Derek, what role do you see African-American voters and religious leaders playing on these ballot questions? Blacks make up a larger percent of the voting population in Maryland than in any state outside the Deep South.
MCCOYThat's right, and it is absolutely critical. I think we know from a -- past gubernatorial elections that the black voters really decided quite a bit as far as the selection of our leaders. And right now on this issue, there is a specific reason where, on the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage, you don't see anybody who's Caucasian. You don't see anybody on any aspect. You just see straight NAACP, black preachers and everything else.
MCCOYYou would think that it was all in the black community of people who wanted to get married. So it's interesting to see that dynamic take place. But I think on our end of it, where you look at it is there's absolutely -- the contingency of African-Americans in our state -- I'll say this. There are huge amounts of African-American leaders that are absolutely in support. I mean, I think just the other day, Dr. Frank Reid of Bethel A.M.E.
MCCOYThere's John Jenkins. There's John Cherry. (sp?) There are people with megachurches. One thing about Maryland is we probably have some of the largest churches in our country sitting in Prince George's County and some in Baltimore. And what you see is there's a groundswell. A lot of these guys have not necessarily -- they've been very supportive on the issue, and they have informed their congregations. And you see that going on on a weekly basis.
MCCOYBut I think, at the same time, they're not stepping over some line to say, you know, we want to enforce our thing. These are engaged citizens. These are people that are in faith, have their own faith. But, let's not forget, they are voting citizens. They are engaged voting citizens and are signatory in Maryland, that they have a right to speak out in a public square. They have a right to make their opinion heard.
MCCOYAnd I think you're seeing -- you're going to see a groundswell of people begin to talk about, I think what you see here. And be honest, Delman Coates and Donte and those guys, you know, there are people right next door to them that really have issues with what they're talking about and who are friends. But we're trying to agree, you know, agree to disagree, but...
NNAMDIWithout being disagreeable.
MCCOYWithout -- exactly.
NNAMDINancy Polikoff, I mentioned earlier to you that the question was never put on the ballot because D.C. law says human rights legislation can't be overturned by voters. And given last week's appeal court ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, do you think the Supreme Court will take up cases dealing with the Defense of Marriage Act this session?
POLIKOFFI do. Let me just say on the last topic that the whole discussion of African-American voters and marriage equality got off on the wrong track in California after Prop 8 where there was some immediate news claiming that it was the votes of African-Americans that resulted in the passage of Prop 8, where later analysis showed that the real issue was how religious voters were. And when you adjusted for religion, when you held constant for religion, in fact, African-American voters did not oppose marriage equality more than anybody else did.
POLIKOFFAnd so even in this discussion we've been having, there's this equation of black voters and African-American churches. And I think we're talking about two different things. It is true that among religious voters, there is less support for marriage equality. And I really think it's a mistake to discuss this as though it pits black people against gay people as though there are no black gay people, who, in fact, are very supportive of marriage equality. And I just feel like the record needs to be corrected on that. Now, as for the...
NNAMDIIs it, Derek McCoy, that more African-Americans identify as religious than other ethnic groups?
MCCOYAbsolutely. That is absolutely true. And they also attend services either on a once, twice, or three times monthly basis more than any other group. But even in California, two -- our other guests point -- when I was in California, you know, there was Jasmyne Cannick, openly gay lesbian person, who worked on the issue.
MCCOYBut at the same time, we had real candid discussions even on air about, look, there are several things we can work on in the African-American community that -- and she was not necessarily one that was touting, we need to be legalized, have some legal definition of getting married from a same-sex perspective.
MCCOYSo I think there is an interesting dynamic going on if you are black and gay. Or that mean everybody in that community wants to redefine marriage? I don't think it does. I think we can be tolerant of the rights of others and love our gay and lesbian colleagues, family and friends without redefining marriage.
LINSKEYYou also have to look at the -- what people are expecting the turnout to be in Maryland, which is one out of four voters is going to be black. I mean, that's what our political strategists are saying. So you have to be paying attention to African-American voters because they are going to be an enormous part of the electorate. And in other states, just -- you don't have that many black people going to the polls.
NNAMDINancy Polikoff, I think I interrupted you.
POLIKOFFSo I was just going to answer your question about the Supreme Court. And I do believe the Supreme Court will hear the cases involving section three of the Defensive Marriage Act, again, limited to the question of whether if you're married in your state, you must be recognized as married by the federal government. And that is the issue that was decided last week. And every court in the last couple of years that's looked at that issue has said that statute is unconstitutional.
POLIKOFFSo I don't see how the Supreme Court can avoid making the final decision on that. Now, the broader question of whether all states must recognize same-sex marriage, that's something the Supreme Court does not have to hear at this term if it doesn't want to.
NNAMDIHere is Sloan in Reston, Va. Sloan, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
SLOANThank you, Kojo. Appreciate it. Yeah. I just -- I would encourage really all Marylanders to vote in favor of civil marriage equality in favor of Question 6. And what I would say specifically, 'cause it seems to me there's sincere folks on both sides, what I would say specifically is you can be 100 percent pro-religious liberty and 100 percent pro-civil marriage equality. The way the law is written, it has very strong protections for people of faith who are -- and/or not comfortable with gay and lesbians couples being married in their congregations.
SLOANSo you do have clergy who are supportive of marriage equality and clergy who are not. But the very important point about the law is that no religious institution is going to have to perform a same-sex marriage if they don't want to, just like, you know, a church doesn't have to marry a Jewish couple if they don't want to. That doesn't mean the government should prohibit Jewish people from being civilly married. It's a separate issue.
MCCOYWell, I don't think that's necessarily true. And I appreciate the caller. I mean, I think that's great. I know the word. The context of the bill is written that a clergy will not have to perform a same-sex wedding tomorrow. And I agree with that potential aspect to the law. But the law gives us nothing more than what's already in the constitutional rights in our First Amendment. It doesn't really give us too much extra beyond that all. I think there are lot of loopholes within the law within the actual context of the bill.
MCCOYThere are penalties assigned to the actual bill -- in the financial notes to the bill. So there are other issues related to that bill that I believe was a little bit disingenuous. And I think what you find is a bit of a fundamental clash in terms of really understanding -- are clergy going to be forced to do something? No. But today's modern church is much more broader than just, you know, here is a church and here is the 10 people.
MCCOYIf they have CDCs attached, they have day cares attached, they have nursery care, they have schools, they have all sorts of entities that are attached to their organizations, which they're trying to, you know, they hire under those practices. They think about it that way, and their facilities for rental uses are under some of those auspices as well. And so those kinds of things are not protected under this law.
MCCOYThose kinds of things that clergy do need to think about because they're really running CEO or they're like CEOs of organizations now more so than just, hey, I'm just one pastor sitting in a church.
LINSKEYBut that is getting into public accommodations. I mean...
LINSKEYYou know, marriage is -- marriage won't -- you know, that's not what's on the ballot. I mean, in many cases already you -- in Maryland, you can't discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation. So a lot of these consequences that are discussed are already settled law and won't change no matter how you vote in November.
MCCOYWell, I think you -- but I think what you see with this process is that this whole discussion has heightened this thing to a whole another level where when you begin to have this opinion -- I mean, let's take the Chick-fil-A issue for a nothing. And I know that's outside of the context of marriage. But when you begin to see that the -- what took place, just out of a guy who off the record kind of made his comments about what he thought about marriage...
NNAMDIIt wasn't off the record.
MCCOYWell, really, yeah. It was on the record on a press interview. But he made the statements. And all of a sudden, you see this kind of thing where some of the mayors in Chicago were saying, how can -- how in the world can you -- we don't want you to build another Chick-fil-A. We know, you know, you got Mayor Vincent Gray saying, you know, let's hate chicken. And, you know, if you don't agree with the Maryland equality law there, then you really have no place in the city. So those are the kinds of things that I would think we're going to have to fundamentally deal with it.
NNAMDINancy Polikoff, in 2008, California voters passed Proposition 8, which you mentioned earlier, which said the state would recognize only a marriage between a man and a woman. That measure has been appealed through a variety of course. And now the U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to decide it. What is at stake there? What do you think the court will do?
POLIKOFFSo that is a very interesting case for the following reason. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals -- so that's the court that's just below the Supreme Court that governs the area that includes California -- said that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Now, it didn't say that all bans on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but it did say Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. And that's because the passage of Prop 8, according to the 9th Circuit, was based on a campaign that was ran that was full of animosity against gay and lesbian people.
POLIKOFFAnd any law that's passed as a result of that kind of dislike of gay and lesbian people is an unconstitutional law. So that is a very narrow ruling by the 9th Circuit, which if it's allowed to go into effect will mean that same-sex couples in California will be able to marry again. And that's what was taken away from them by Proposition 8. And it won't affect any other state. If the Supreme Court chooses to hear that case, which we don't know yet, then it could do any one of a number of things.
POLIKOFFIt could say the 9th Circuit was right, and then California will allow same-sex couples to marry again. It could say that the 9th Circuit didn't go far enough, or it could say that the 9th Circuit made a mistake in its analysis. And this is the very well-know Perry case being litigated by Ted Olson and David Boies. And we don't know yet if the Supreme Court is going to agree to hear that.
NNAMDIRunning out of time, but, Annie and Derek, polls showed that younger voters supports same-sex marriage more than older voters do. What do you think that will mean for the vote in Maryland?
LINSKEYIt depends how many younger voters come out to vote. I mean, you know, certainly, you're absolutely right. Younger people don't see this as an issue. And our polls and The Washington Post polls both showed that they tend to support it. You know, I would say one thing about -- really quickly about the Supreme Court.
LINSKEYAnd one of the things that I think is just really exciting about watching Maryland and watching these other three states that are going to have it on the ballot is that I do believe that whatever happens in Maryland in November will have an impact on what the Supreme Court does.
LINSKEYThat when you go to the polls and you vote in November, you know, you're going to be saying something that the Supreme Court will end up, you know, it's going to end up on the brief on other side, you know, if it passes.
NNAMDIEnd up paying attention, too.
NNAMDIBut we're running out of time.
LINSKEYI'm sorry. Go ahead.
NNAMDIVery quickly, Derek, on the issue of younger voters, there are some, including Nancy, who say that it's only a matter of time before same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land given that younger voters support same-sex marriage more than older voters do. It's just a matter of time.
MCCOYI've heard that several different times over again, and I always look at this way: As long as people want to keep going to the ballot box, I think that's one of the things we're going to have to keep doing. I think -- at the same time, we have to build up marriages. We have to make them healthy. We got to make them strong. We got to make a difference.
MCCOYAnd I think, too, what we see as younger voters, true, are having this kind of perspective. But as they get a little bit older, as they start making family-like decisions and start having kids, they typically have a little bit of a different switch on that perspective as well.
NNAMDII'm afraid that's all the time we have. Derek McCoy is executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, Annie Linskey is Maryland political reporter with the Baltimore Sun, and Nancy Polikoff is a law professor at American University. Thank you all for joining us. And thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
Most Recent Shows
Over the past 40 years, the field of behavioral economics has emerged to explain why humans make irrational decisions. We talk with one of the pioneers of the field to find out what’s behind the choices we make, and how we can use this knowledge for good.
An exhibit opening this week at the Newseum explores how the media reported the country’s first televised war.
A pair of children staying in the D.C. General Hospital homeless shelter recently tested positive for lead. While it remains unclear whether they were exposed at the shelter, this news comes on the heels of revelations about the role lead paint exposure had in the life of Freddie Gray, the young man who recently died after a violent interaction with Baltimore police. We find out why the problem of exposure persists and what strides have been made in cleaning up homes over the last few decades.