Checking gay marriage claims across the country
In a ceremony permitted by a Texas judge, two women were legally wedded in Austin today (see the exclusive video with this story).
Which reminded us... PolitiFact researchers have looked into varied claims about marriage.
- Attorney David Boies, speaking in Austin, got it mostly wrong in April 2014 when he said every one of "more than 30 federal judges who have considered the issue of gay and lesbian rights since last June… ruled that marriage is a constitutional right and you cannot deprive individual citizens of that right based on their sexual orientation." Federal district judges had indeed almost uniformly ruled for gay-marriage plaintiffs in his timeframe, but Boies’ count of such judges was considerably off. At the time, we identified nine federal district judges who had issued such rulings since June 2013. We rated this claim Mostly False.
- Separately in 2013, PunditFact rated True a claim by Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress, that 40 "percent of the country is going to be in states that are tolerant of gay marriage or at least civil unions." Experts and statistics supported that percentage provided the definition of "tolerant" swept in any states where same-sex marriage or civil unions were legal. Subsequent court decisions could raise or lower that number, and opponents noted many of those states allowed same-sex marriage only after court intervention. Still, at the time she spoke, her statement was accurate.
- In April 2014, PunditFact looked into this claim by Faith and Freedom Coalition founder Ralph Reed, objecting to gay marriage: "Social science is irrefutable" that children are better off being raised by a mom and a dad. False: What studies really show is that children are better off with two parents--and the studies do not focus on gender. All reputable research to that date indicated children brought up by gay parents were just as well off as those brought up by straight parents.
- And earlier this year, PunditFact found True this statement by Ted Olson, a lawyer seeking to legalize gay marriage across the land: The "Supreme Court 15 times over the last 120 years has said marriage is a fundamental right" and never said "it had to be between a man and a woman." Olson provided a list of 15 cases that addressed marriage as something like a "fundamental right" that did not specify marriage as a union between a man and woman. Several experts backed up his claim. Until recent years, though, the Supreme Court never had to address the question of whether or not marriage should be limited to a man and woman. Because of societal norms, they assumed that the decision would be interpreted as referring to a heterosexual relationship.