This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that goes a long way toward getting the federal government out of the business of discriminating against gay Americans who simply want the same privileges and responsibilities of marriage that other Americans enjoy. You can read my reaction here: Gov. Gary Johnson Reacts to SCOTUS Decisions on Same-Sex Marriage.
By striking down the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that deny married gay couples the federal tax advantages, inheritance rights and other benefits granted other couples, the Court essentially returned the issue of legal marriage to the States. In short, if two individuals -- gay or straight -- are married in accordance with state law, the federal government must recognize that marriage, without injecting its own definition.
While many of us envision a government that isn’t in the marriage business at all, this ruling at least removes the discrimination that DOMA had enshrined in federal law. That’s progress.
Now, the focus returns to the various states. 38 states have some kind of restriction against equal marriage, with most of those being outright bans against same-sex marriage. As a result, despite the Supreme Court’s rulings on both DOMA and California’s Proposition 8, marriage equality is not yet reality for the majority of Americans.
Anticipating a ruling from the Court along these lines, the Our America Initiative has already launched initiative petitions in two of those states, Arizona and Florida, to overturn bans on gay marriage and begin the process of ensuring true equal marriage rights for all. Polls show America is ready for equality, even if the politicians aren’t, and I am committed to fighting for that equality -- even if it means doing so one state at a time.
As soon as the Court ruled this morning, our organizations in both Arizona and Florida began printing petition forms and heading out to gather signatures to put equal marriage on the ballot. Doing so will be a huge undertaking, but I am confident we will succeed -- with your help. If you want to be a part of this effort, I hope you will go to www.OurAmericaInitiative.com and make a contribution today.
In each of those states, we have done the legal work, we have filed the required paperwork, and we have put people in place to coordinate the efforts of activists from across the political spectrum. But that is just the beginning. In Arizona, we must gather roughly 400,000 signatures to ensure that our Equal Marriage Amendment will be on next year’s ballot. In Florida, we will need almost a million signatures. Even though we will be relying heavily on volunteers, the reality is that gathering that many signatures requires significant funding.
To seize the momentum from today’s Supreme Court ruling, Our America must raise at least $50,000 in the next few days to be sure that we have the people and the logistical support to get these signature drives off and running. If you don’t live in Arizona or Florida, be assured that these efforts are only the beginning. We need your support to take this fight to every corner of the nation. I hope you will go to www.OurAmericaInitiative.com today and make a contribution that will allow voters to take marriage equality out of the hands of the politicians and make their own decisions.
Today was, indeed, a good day for equal marriage rights. But, in reality, the Justices simply gave us the opportunity to reclaim a bit of liberty. I hope you will join me to grab that opportunity!
Gov. Gary Johnson
P.S. Your contribution today will go directly to support placing Equal Marriage Amendments on the ballots in key states. Go to www.OurAmericaInitiative.com.