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June 27th, 2013
05:21 AM ET

History at the Supreme Court – Joe Johns reports

“Early Start” begins this morning with history, at the Supreme Court.

In a decision that is likely to change the lives of millions of Americans, the high court threw out a law banning the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court ruled that marriage rules are up to the states and also opened the door for gay unions to resume in California.

CNN’s Joe Johns has more on the story, reporting that proponents took to the streets, celebrating what's being called a major victory for gay rights.

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Filed under: DOMA • Gay rights • Prop 8 • Supreme Court
February 6th, 2013
08:17 AM ET

Fmr. scout: 'In order to remain relevant, the Boy Scouts need to stop discriminating'

The Boy Scouts are considering a major shift in their policy toward homosexuals and their board could vote to lift the national ban on gay scouts and leaders today. If that happens, local troops will decide on their own whether or not to accept gays.

After James Dale was expelled from the Boy Scouts in 1990 for being gay, he filed a lawsuit against the organization in New Jersey State court saying his expulsion violated New Jersey's state law against discrimination. His case made it to the Supreme Court in 2000, and it was ruled that the Boy Scouts could refuse membership to people who identify as gay.

Dale joins Early Start this morning to comment on today's vote, saying that he thinks it's "great that they’re having a conversation about this but I think it’d be more important if they did the right thing once and for all."

"What they’re going to do now is kick the can down the road and delay the inevitable," Dale says. "They can’t continue to discriminate... Unfortunately I think what they’re going to do today is compromise. They’re going to go half way."

Dale also responds to a comment by the president of the Southern Baptist Convention Richard Land on Starting Point yesterday, when he said that allowing gays could be a "catastrophe" that would propel many members to leave the Scouts.

"I’m not going to comment about what a small minded hate monger has to say about discrimination issues," Dale says.

Filed under: Boy Scouts • Gay rights
February 6th, 2013
07:19 AM ET

Boy Scouts of America to vote on ending ban against gay membership – Casey Wian reports


Irving, Texas (CNN) - The polarizing debate over whether Boy Scouts of America should allow gay members could culminate with a vote on a new policy Wednesday.

But no matter which way the vote goes, activists on both sides aren't going to be satisfied.

The controversy pits leaders of religious groups that sponsor about 1 million Boy Scouts against activists who want the organization to end its ban on openly gay Scouts and Scout leaders.

Representatives from both camps aren't happy with a proposal to let local troops decide if they want to allow gay members.

This morning on "Early Start," Casey Wian reports on the highly anticipated vote.

READ MORE: Boy Scout leaders to vote on ending ban against gay membership

Filed under: Boy Scouts • Gay rights
May 10th, 2012
09:52 AM ET

Gay community reacts to President Obama's same sex marriage endorsement – San Francisco AIDS foundation's Neil Giuliano explains

San Fran. AIDS Foundation's Neil Giuliano on how gay community will react to President Obama's gay marriage endorsement.

Filed under: Gay rights • Same sex marriage
May 10th, 2012
09:48 AM ET

Fmr. Clinton aid: President Obama did right thing in endorsing same sex marriage

NewYorker.com writer Richard Socarides on the potential political fallout for President Obama endorsing gay marriage.

Filed under: Gay rights • Same sex marriage
May 10th, 2012
09:34 AM ET

Rev. Bryant doesn't think President Obama's same sex marriage stance will be a deal breaker for African American voters

This morning, a brand new era in American history as President Obama becomes the first president ever to support same-sex marriage. He made the statement in an interview with ABC.

"I've just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," President Obama says.

While the nation is nearly evenly split on this issue with 50% supporting same-sex marriage and 48% opposing it, some analysts say that his support might lose him vote in a key demographic that has supported him for years: African-American voters.

While fewer African-Americans oppose the issue than before, just 39% of African-Americans support same-sex marriage, 49% oppose it. Reverend Jamal Harrison Bryant, pastor of the Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, talks with Ashleigh Banfield to explain how black voters will view President Obama's gay marriage backing.

"A lot of African-American leaders right now are really dazed by this because we didn't see it coming," Rev. Bryant says. "For the last four years, the African-American clergy have really supported, covered, and prayed for President Obama, and it really came without any warning."

Regardless of the shock, Rev. Bryant says it may not sway African American voters to pick another candidate.

"I would say by and large, African-Americans are going to support President Obama. I don't think that this is going to be a deal breaker because there's so many issues at stake when you deal with Pell Grants, when you deal with predatory lending, when you deal with job preparedness and you see the economy on the surge of rebound. I think African-Americans are going to stand with the president, with his presidency, but not on this policy," Rev. Bryant says.

Read more from the interview below.



Filed under: Gay rights • Same sex marriage
May 10th, 2012
06:30 AM ET

Politics of Obama's gay marriage stance – Ron Brownstein on how it could sway voters in November

National Journal's Ron Brownstein on how President Obama's historic endorsement of same sex marriage will sway voters.

Filed under: Gay rights • Same sex marriage
May 9th, 2012
10:14 AM ET

The politics of same sex marriage

This morning, protesters in North Carolina are saying "our fight for fairness is not over."

This comes after North Carolina voters passed a strict amendment to their constitution that eliminates same sex marriages. Amendment One also bans civil unions and domestic partnerships for both gay and straight couples in the state. Gay marriages were already illegal in the state.

As the general election gears up towards November, many Democrats calling on President Obama to speak out in support of gay marriage. So far, the President has been ambiguous.

On "Early Start" this morning, CNN political contributor Roland Martin talks about the political wrangling around same sex marriage.

Filed under: Gay rights • HIV • Same sex marriage
May 3rd, 2012
06:54 AM ET

'One Million Moms' vs. JCPenney...again: Group accuses retailer of taking sides in gay marriage issue

JCPenney's May catalog is attracting controversy from a group the company has tousled with before.

In the ad, you can see a smiling lesbian couple with both women wearing wedding bands and the caption says it's "Wendi and her partner Maggi."

The conservative group "One Million Moms," which is considered by some to be anti-gay, is accusing the retailer of "taking sides" and is calling for a boycott.

This isn't the first time "One Million Moms" has gone after JCPenny. They crticized the store back in February for naming openly gay talk show host Ellen Degeneres as its spokesperson.

Branding strategist Peter Shankman talks with Ashleigh Banfield this morning on "Early Start" to talk about how this will affect JCPenney.

Filed under: Branding • Gay rights • Protest