Tag Archive: DOMA

Jun 26 2013

SCOTUS: DOMA Struck Down; Dismisses Prop 8

Equal Right to Marry photo imagesqtbnANd9GcQmD05y7D9pRuFTg2wtz_zpsbcb78269.jpg The Supreme Court ruled on two important cases for the LGBT community: Windsor v. U.S., addressing the Defense of Marriage Act, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, addressing California’s Proposition 8.

On DOMA, which was signed into law by Pres. Bill Clinton in 1996, the court ruled (pdf) that same-sex spouses legally married in a state may receive federal benefits. Justice Kennedy delivered the court’s opinion, and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito all filed dissenting opinions. While the ruling is a victory on the federal level, the 5- 4 ruling does not effect a state’s right to ban same sex marriage.

“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”

The plaintiff who brought the case, Edie Windsor, 84, will now get her refund for the $363,000 in federal estate taxes she paid after her spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009.

In the Prop 8 case, that was argued before the court by attorneys, Theodore Olson and David Boies, the court decided, again by a 5 – 4 decision, that the opponents of same sex marriage have no standing to sue. The ruling allows gay couples in California to marry.

“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “We decline to do so for the first time here.”

Roberts was joined in his majority opinion by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. Justice Anthony Kennedy filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor.

The judgement of the Ninth Circuit was vacated and the case remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

California voters added Proposition 8 to the state’s constitution in 2008 through a ballot initiative that reversed the state Supreme Court’s recognition of same-sex marriage earlier that year. Two same-sex couples challenged the ban in federal court, and by the time their suit reached the justices, two lower courts had declared it unconstitutional.

After the disappointing ruling yesterday striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, this is truly a great day for equal rights in the US.

Oct 18 2012

2nd Circuit Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

In a 2 to 1 decision, a three judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has ruled that Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

The majority opinion written by Judge Dennis Jacobs rejected a section of the law that says “marriage” only means a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and that the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. A federal appeals court in Boston earlier this year also found it unconstitutional.

The issue is expected to be decided by the Supreme Court. The decision came less than a month after the court heard arguments on Sept. 27. [..]

In striking down the law, the Jacobs wrote that the law’s “classification of same-sex spouses was not substantially related to an important government interest” and thus violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

He said the law was written so broadly that it touches more than a thousand federal laws. He said “homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public.”

He rejected arguments that the definition of marriage was traditional.

“Even if preserving tradition were in itself an important goal, DOMA is not a means to achieve it,” he said.

Judge Chester Straub dissented, saying that if the government was to change its understanding of marriage, “I believe it is for the American people to do so.”

As noted in another New York Times article, acceptance of same sex marriage has grown even among Latinos:

Just six years ago, 56 percent of Latinos were against same-sex marriage. Today, their rate of approval stands at 52 percent over all and slightly higher – 54 percent – among Latino Catholics, the survey by the Pew Research Center found.

Latino evangelicals, on the other hand, remain strongly opposed to same-sex marriage, affirming their conservative credentials in a demographic group whose politics and positions, liberal and conservative, have become more in line with Americans over all.

The Republican House took up defending DOMA after the Obama Justice Department stopped defending it in February 2011. House leaders committed $1.5 million of tax payer funds to hire lawyer, Paul Clement, to represent them in DOMA cases. So far they have argued in 14 cases and have spent nearly all of the allocation. As of today they have lost six.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) criticized Boehner for ignoring “critical issues like comprehensive jobs legislation” while wasting “time and taxpayer money defending the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.”

“Despite losing multiple court cases, Speaker Boehner continues to insist on racking up even more taxpayer-funded legal bills, even as Republicans claim to be concerned about the deficit,” Hoyer said in a statement.

It remains unclear if House Republican leaders plan to extend their contract with Clement — and spend more taxpayer dollars — to continue defending DOMA. They maintain they are obligated to defend current law, regardless of what it is. A Boehner spokesman deferred all DOMA-related questions to Clement. A request for comment from Clement was not immediately returned.

So much for those deficits concerns.

Jul 08 2012

Rep. Barney Frank Marries Jim Ready

Rep. Barney Frank married his partner Jim Ready Saturday in Newton, MA. Mr. Frank met his husband at a fund raiser in 2005 and they started dating in 2007 after Mr. Ready’s longtime partner, Robert Palmer, passed away after a long illness. The modest ceremony took place in the Marriott hotel in Newton and was preformed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Guests included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator John Kerry and Representatives Dennis J. Kucinich and Steny H. Hoyer and other close friends and family of the grooms.

Mr. Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, became, in 1987, the first sitting member of Congress to volunteer that he was gay. He is now the first to be married to a partner of the same sex. Both bridegrooms said they recognized the historical significance of the ceremony, which lasted less than five minutes. Gov. Patrick told the guests that Mr. Frank had requested that the service “be short and to the point.”

And in vows written by the couple, Mr. Frank and Mr. Ready pledged to love each other “on MSNBC or on Fox” and “in Congress or in retirement,” a reference to Mr. Frank’s decision not to seek another term. [..]

They had long discussions about marriage; Mr. Frank wanted to be married while still serving in Washington. Mr. Ready was worried about the public scrutiny. But he remembered how he felt in high school in Tewksbury, Mass., when Mr. Frank came out publicly.

“The kids that are going to see us, and feel strong enough to be able to come out and be who they are. That gives me more encouragement that I’m doing the right thing,” he said.

Their wedding bands were made of black diamonds set in tungsten, a metal used in welding. Mr. Ready picked the material. “It helps keep me grounded, after going to lunch with the president,” he said.

The wedding took place at a no-frills Marriott hotel in Newton. (Mr. Frank said he chose the location for ease of access.) The bridegrooms planned to wear tuxedos by Joseph Abboud, which Mr. Frank noted is a union shop.

Ms. Pelosi said at the reception on Saturday that it was appropriate that a landmark same-sex wedding take place around the Fourth of July. “It’s about expanding freedom,” she said. “This opportunity was a long time coming.”

We extend our best wishes and congratulations to Barney and Jim. Mazel Tov

In some other positive news for the LGBT community, the Episcopal Church has moved closer to allowing transgender men and women to be ordained as ministers:

INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – The U.S. Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops on Saturday approved a proposal that, if it survives a final vote, would give transgender men and women the right to become ministers in the church.

The House of Bishops voted at the church’s General Convention to include “gender identity and expression” in its “non-discrimination canons,” meaning sexual orientation, including that of people who have undergone sex-change operations, cannot be used to exclude candidates to ministry. [..]

The Episcopal Church, which has about 2 million members mostly in the United States, now allows gay men and lesbians to join the ordained ministry.

The resolutions on gender would allow transgender individuals access to enter the Episcopal lay or ordained ministries, and extend the overall non-discrimination policy to church members.

The resolutions must now be approved by the church’s House of Deputies.

Great news, indeed!

 

Mar 05 2012

The Fight For Marriage Equality

“8”: A Play about the Fight for Marriage Equality

Featuring an all-star cast including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jane Lynch, Kevin Bacon and others, “8” is a play written by Academy Award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black and directed by acclaimed actor and director Rob Reiner. It is a powerful account of the case filed by the American Federation for Equal Rights (AFER ) in the U.S. District Court in 2010 to overturn Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment that eliminated the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. Framed around the trial’s historic closing arguments in June 2010, 8 provides an intimate look what unfolded when the issue of same-sex marriage was on trial.

This was a live production of the reading of Dustin Lance Black’s “8″, a play based on the transcripts from the hearings before Judge Vaughn Walker on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 which banned state sanctioned same sex marriage. I join Teddy Partridge in his congrats to Judge Walker for having Brad Pitt play his roll. George Clooney and Martin Sheen play Daivd Boies and Ted Olson, the lawyers who argued the case for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. Also, Kevin Bacon plays Charles J. Cooper, the lead attorney for supporters of Proposition 8, and Jane Lynch is Maggie Gallagher, co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage. The actual play is about 90 minutes.

In February, a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit upheld Judge Walker’s decision. The supporters of Proposition 8 asked the Ninth Circuit to grant them an en banc rehearing of the 2 to 1 decision.

Jan 27 2012

Congratulations to Barney Frank and Jim Ready On Their Engagement!

“I have a partner now, Jim Ready. I have an emotional attachment. I’m in love for the first time in my life”

Barney Frank on the announcement of his engagement to Jim Ready

Massachusetts US Rep. Barney Frank has announced his engagement to his partner of five years, Jim Ready of Maine. No date has been announced for the nuptials that will take place in Massachusetts which recognizes marriage between same sex couples. Rep. Frank recently decided to not run for reelection to his House seat that he has held since 1981.

We here at The Stars Hollow Gazette and Docudharma extend our heartfelt best wishes to Barney and Jim. May they have a long, happy, healthy and prosperous life together. Blessed Be.

“I’m in love, I’m in love

I’m in love, I’m in love

I’m in love with a wonderful guy!”

“Nellie Forbush”, South Pacific

Mar 14 2011

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – Unprincipled Zealots and March Madness

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

Clay Bennett

Moammar Gadhafi by Clay Bennett, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Feb 23 2011

Obama finds DOMA UNconstitutional!

from DOJ, a statement by Attorney General Holder says the Obama Administration found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and will no longer defend it in court.

A Great Day for LGBT!