“Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act, paves way for gay marriage to resume in California”


NBC NEWS

By Pete Williams and Erin McClam, NBC News

In a pair of landmark decisions, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of gay marriage, and it allowed gay marriage to resume in California by declining to decide a separate case.

The court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to gay couples who are legally married in their states, including Social Security survivor benefits, immigration rights and family leave.

Justice Anthony Kennedywriting for the majority in a 5-4 decision, said that the act wrote inequality into federal law and violated the Fifth Amendment’s protection of equal liberty.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he wrote.

In the second case, the court said that it could not rule on a challenge to Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage in California passed by voters there in 2008, because supporters of the ban lacked the legal standing to appeal a lower court’s decision against it.

The court did not rule on the constitutionality of gay marriage, but the effect of the decision will be to allow same-sex marriage to resume in California. That decision was also 5-4, written by Chief Justice John Roberts.

It was not clear when same-sex marriages would resume in California. Los Angeles County said in a statement that it was waiting for a technical step by lower courts — the lifting of a stay that stopped gay marriage in California — but was prepared to begin issuing marriage licenses and performing ceremonies for gay couples.

The two rulings, released minutes apart, were greeted by jubilant cheers outside the Supreme Court, where crowds of gay-marriage supporters waved rainbow banners and flags bearing symbols of equality, and at City Hall in San Francisco.

“The underlying message, I think, is that these are marriages, these are relationships, that are worthy of equal respect,” said Tom Goldstein, the publisher of SCOTUSblog and a Supreme Court analyst for NBC News. “It really does send a powerful message to the country that this is something that deserves fair treatment.

President Barack Obama placed a phone call from Air Force One to the two gay couples who had challenged Proposition 8. He told them, “We’re proud of you guys.” Paul Katami, one of the challengers, invited the president to his wedding to his partner, Jeff Zarrillo.

David Boies, a lawyer who argued against Proposition 8, said that the rulings took the country closer to realizing the Declaration of Independence’s guarantee that all men are created equal.

“It’s a wonderful day for America,” he said.

The decisions were handed down 10 years to the day after the court decided Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down anti-sodomy laws across the country. They also came just ahead of the weekend when many large cities celebrate gay pride by observing the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, considered the beginning of the gay rights movement.

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CALIFORNIA’S GOV. GERRY BROWN ORDERS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE TO RESUME  AS SOON AS APPEALS COURT BAN IS LIFTED

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“Former President Bill Clinton support gay marriage”


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“Gays,Guns and Immigration: How the Culture Wars Shifted Left”


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SCOTUS: Will Procreation Determine Prop 8?


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“Poll: 60% think federal gov’t should recognize same-sex marriages”


As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in two high-profile cases this week – California’s Proposition 8 and the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act – 60 percent of Americans think the federal government should legally recognize existing same-sex marriages and provide The National Electoratethem the same federal benefits the government provides to heterosexual married couples. Just 35 percent do not think the government should do this.

The legality of same-sex marriage varies by state. When it comes to who should decide this issue, most Americans- 62 percent – think the decision should be left up to each individual state government, while just 26 percent think it should be up to the federal government.

Meanwhile, a slight majority of Americans (53 percent) thinks it should be legal for same-sex couples to marry.

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“Sen. Rob Portman comes out in favor of gay marriage after son comes out as gay”


THE PLAIN DEALER

By Sabrina Eaton, Plain Dealer Washington Reporter

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman discusses his views on gay marriage in his office on Capitol Hill.Sabrina Eaton/The Plain Dealer
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman discusses his views on gay marriage in his office on Capitol Hill.
Sabrina Eaton/The Plain Dealer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman on Thursday announced he has reversed his longtime opposition to same-sex marriage after reconsidering the issue because his 21-year-old son, Will, is gay.

Portman said his son, a junior at Yale University, told him and his wife, Jane, that he’s gay and “it was not a choice, it was who he is and that he had been that way since he could remember.”

“It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that’s of a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have — to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years,” Portman told reporters in an interview at his office.

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“President Clinton, DOMA, and the Living, Breathing Constitution”


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“U.S. Supreme Court looks at whether to take up same-sex marriage”


By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

The U.S. Supreme Court this month will begin considering several cases involving same-sex marriage, including one testing the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which says "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Above, Frank Capley-Alfano and Joe Capley-Alfano celebrate outside of San Francisco City Hall in February after a federal appeals court blocked the law. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The U.S. Supreme Court this month will begin considering several cases involving same-sex marriage, including one testing the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which says “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Above, Frank Capley-Alfano and Joe Capley-Alfano celebrate outside of San Francisco City Hall in February after a federal appeals court blocked the law. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Edith “EdieWindsor lost her spouse in 2009, her grief compounded by an estate tax bill much larger than other married couples would have to pay.
Because her decades-long partner was also a woman, the federal government in legal terms did not recognize the same-sex marriage, even though their home state of New York did.
“I was devastated by the loss of the great love of my life, and I was also very sick, then had to deal with pulling together enough money to pay for the taxes,” Windsor, 83, told CNN. “And it was deeply upsetting.”
That fundamental unfairness as Windsor and her supporters see it, is at the center of legal fight now awaiting action at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The justices will meet privately Friday for a closed-door conference to decide if they will accept any of 10 pending appeals, essentially over whether a fundamental constitutional right for gays and lesbians to marry exists.
If they agree to hear the issue, oral arguments would be likely be held in March with a ruling by late June.

The political, social, and legal stakes of this long-simmering debate will once again put the high court at the center of national attention, a contentious encore to their summer ruling upholding the massive health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama.

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Defense of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional by federal appeals court


“A federal appeals court in New York has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Act’s Section 3, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston issued a similar ruling in May.”

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Speaker John Boehner Continues to Waste the People’s Money!


Eric Cantor
Eric Cantor (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)
Official portrait of United States House Speak...
Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a giant step toward equality today, a federal appeals court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.

The decision was clear: the law treats same-sex couples as second-class citizens – and that’s a violation of fundamental rights.

But despite losing over and over again in court, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor are still planning to fight for DOMA all the way to the Supreme Court, if need be – dumping millions of taxpayer dollars into defending discrimination.

DOMA hurts our families. But Boehner and Cantor won’t focus on repealing DOMA instead of continuing to defend it unless we rally right now – their decision to appeal today’s ruling could come any hour, so we don’t have much time to act.

Tell Boehner and Cantor: Not another taxpayer cent to attack the rights of loving same-sex couples.

President Obama ordered the Department of Justice to stop defending the DOMA case in court over a year ago. His leadership was critical to the progress we have made.

But Boehner and Cantor, reacting to the anti-LGBT fringe of their party, stepped in to use House resources – our taxpayer dollars – to make sure this terrible law was defended.

Even in a time when our federal budget is already strapped, they have committed up to $1.5 million taxpayer dollars to fight for this outdated law – and as this and other cases challenging DOMA continue, we could be looking at millions more.

The anti-gay House Republican leadership needs see the writing on the wall. Already a vast majority of Americans oppose DOMA and want it repealed. The House already has a bill before it – the Respect for Marriage Act – which would get rid of DOMA’s discrimination once and for all.

Discrimination shouldn’t be the law. It’s that simple. Tell Boehner and Cantor to repeal DOMA, not defend it.

This ruling marks a critical juncture in the battle for marriage equality. With enough voices speaking out, Boehner and Cantor will have no choice but to consider the cost of their continued defense of DOMA.

With continued pressure and hard work, we can make DOMA a thing of the past.

Proud, excited, and determined,

Allison Herwitt
Legislative Director
Human Rights Campaign
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