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Defense of Marriage Act

A Milestone for Same-Sex Marriage – NYTimes.com

The battle to legalize same-sex marriage saw a historic victory this week when the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver became the first federal appeals court in the nation to declare that same-sex couples have a “fundamental right” to wed.

The decision, striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, extended a remarkable string of favorable federal court rulings; a similar ruling was issued on the same day by a Federal District Court in Indiana. The decision also provides a vehicle for the issue’s possible return to the Supreme Court next term.

“To claim that marriage, by definition, excludes certain couples is simply to insist that those couples may not marry because they have historically been denied the right to do so,” Judge Carlos Lucero, a Clinton appointee, wrote in a majority opinion in the Utah case, joined by Judge Jerome Holmes, a George W. Bush appointee. “One might just as easily have argued that interracial couples are by definition excluded from the institution of marriage.”

The opinion affirmed a lower court’s decision in December that resulted in more than 1,000 same-sex marriages in Utah before the Supreme Court issued a stay.

All in all, this has been a year of extraordinary progress on same-sex marriage. Almost exactly a year ago, the Supreme Court left standing a lower-court ruling overturning Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage; that case has given rise in recent weeks to two books and an HBO movie.

But the prime factor behind the explosion of lawsuits challenging state bans, as well as the many court rulings rejecting discrimination in both red and blue states, is United States v. Windsor — the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s denial of federal benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples. The 10th Circuit decision in the Utah case included many references to the Defense of Marriage Act ruling.

Utah’s attorney general, Sean Reyes, has said he intends to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Decisions on same-sex marriage are expected in coming months from other federal appeals courts as well, with the soonest perhaps from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Virginia.Continue reading the main st

Yet the Supreme Court need not — and should not — wait for every appeals court to act or for a conflict to emerge among different circuits to revisit the same-sex marriage question and provide a definitive ruling making marriage equality the law of the land.

via A Milestone for Same-Sex Marriage – NYTimes.com.

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Marriage equality a step to end bigotry toward gays – Other Views – MiamiHerald.com

You’d never accuse the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, of liberal activism. Not even now. This year’s decisions made it easier for states to discriminate in voting practices, harder for employees to sue their bosses for discrimination, and easier for property owners to resist government takings for public ends.

Faced with rising opposition to discrimination against gays and lesbians, though, the court struck down DOMA’s federal marriage ban in Windsor v. United States. The federal government will now treat legally married same-sex couples the same as straight couples. Same-sex couples in discrimination states like Florida face ambiguity and more litigation.

Apart from new rights for some and hope for others, Windsor reframes the public debate by conceding what anyone familiar with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) knew: the statute was about irrational hostility towards a minority rather than the ludicrous argument that gay marriage could harm straight people.

Hostility is easy to spot with the Westboro Baptist Church — a small group in Kansas that seeks media attention by holding anti-gay protests at military funerals even when the dead soldiers are not gay. At least the Westboro group owns up to its hostility when it protests.

Legislators are wilier in their hostility. When demeaning a group, t

via Marriage equality a step to end bigotry toward gays – Other Views – MiamiHerald.com.

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New Yorkers mob Gay Pride Parade just days after DOMA’s toss by Supreme Court – NY Daily News

Gays wore their rainbow colors with extra pride Sunday, strutting and dancing down New York’s Fifth Ave. — this time with an extra dose of equality.

The city’s 44th annual Gay Pride Parade was like no other as 84-year-old Edith Windsor led the way — just four days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key part of the antigay Defense of Marriage Act.

PHOTOS: NEW YORK CITY GAY PRIDE PARADE 2013

“I don’t know how to describe it. It’s everything. Everything is different,” said Windsor, the parade’s grand marshal and the principal plaintiff in the historic high court case.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/new-yorkers-mob-gay-pride-parade-post-doma-article-1.1386744#ixzz2Xr7yTM1k

New Yorkers mob Gay Pride Parade just days after DOMA’s toss by Supreme Court – NY Daily News.

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Gay marriage couple wins green-card petition – POLITICO.com

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Bulgarian graduate student and his American husband are the first gay couple in the nation to have their green card petition approved after the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriages, their lawyer says.

But Traian Popov, here on a student visa, won’t be able to work or visit his family back home for at least another six months while his green card can be processed. And his marriage to Julian Marsh, performed in New York, still won’t be recognized in Florida where they live.

“It’s unbelievable how that impacts you,” Marsh told The Associated Press on Sunday. “They make you feel more and more like a second-class citizen and they don’t want you. And that’s how I feel about Florida.”

Two days after the Supreme Court struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples, Marsh and Popov were notified Friday afternoon that their green card petition was approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/07/gay-couple-green-card-petition-93614.html#ixzz2Xr0WajLC

via Gay marriage couple wins green-card petition – POLITICO.com.

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DOMAs Demise Celebrated by Apple, Other Top Tech Firms – Mike Isaac – Social – AllThingsD

In a pair of 5-4 decisions, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of same-sex couples in two major cases, effectively allowing federal benefits for gay couples and clearing the way for same-sex marriages in the state of California.

One ruling overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the bill passed in 1996 that ruled same-sex marriages unconstitutional. The other decision left intact a lower-court ruling that invalidated California’s Prop. 8 ban on same-sex marriage.

Among progressive Silicon Valley tech companies, the reaction was incredibly positive.

“Apple strongly supports marriage equality and we consider it a civil rights issue. We applaud the Supreme Court for its decisions today,” an Apple spokesman told AllThingsDin a statement.

Google, in typical Google fashion, has had fun with its statement of support for same-sex couples. Type the word “gay”, “lesbian”, “transgender” or “bisexual” into Google’s search bar, and the box quickly morphs into a pride-colored rainbow, a not-so-subtle showing of celebration. (As Staci Kramer points out, this isn’t a new thing for Google — the company has done the rainbow search bar thing for Pride week for years now.)

HP also hopped on board, pointing to its history of support for the gay community: “HP has more than 30 years of partnership with and participation in pride events, and works throughout the year to build and strengthen HP as an organization that values all employees, customers and communities,” said Michael Thacker, global communications chair, HP Pride Employee Resource Group. “Our sponsorship at San Francisco Pride this year is a great example of how HP is committed to diversity and to creating a flexible, inclusive environment for everyone inside and outside of the company.”

Facebook declined to comment, but earlier in the week, a Facebook spokesman pointed out that of the roughly 200 million U.S. Facebook users, 70 percent have a gay friend on the social network. That’s a noteworthy indication that in recent years, more Americans have increasingly accepted — or at least acknowledged — gay friends and family members.

It’s worth noting that CEO Mark Zuckerberg did post a pretty warm and fuzzy message to his Timeline (though not till later in the afternoon): “I’m proud that our country is moving in the right direction, and I’m happy for so many of my friends and their families. #PrideConnectsUs,” he wrote.

Instagram posted to its company blog a photo-documented celebration of the Supreme Court’s ruling as shot by people around the world.

Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but big business made clever use of the microblogging service. Companies like Mastercard and ABC purchased promoted tweets around the #gaymarriage hashtag, which meant that every time a user looked up the hashtag, they would have one of those promoted tweet ads pop up. Smart, quick thinking.

Of course, the Valley has quite a history around being progressive in its view of same-sex rights, especially compared to the rest of corporate America. Facebook, Twitter, Cisco, Intel and Qualcomm, along with hundreds of other companies, filed an amicus brief opposing the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year.

And Apple, in particular, has traditionally stood against inequality, having long offered health benefits to same-sex couples employed by Apple, and publicly donating to the “No on Prop 8” campaign in 2008.

via DOMAs Demise Celebrated by Apple, Other Top Tech Firms – Mike Isaac – Social – AllThingsD.

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Justice Scalia Is Not Happy About The Decision – Forbes

My fellow Son of Xavier, Antonin Scalia, did not like the majority decision one little bit:

This case is about power in several respects. It is about the power of our people to govern themselves, and the power of this Court to pronounce the law. Today’s opinion aggrandizes the latter, with the predictable consequence of diminishing the former. We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation. The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution [the Supreme Court] in America.

As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms.

A reminder that disagreement over something so fundamental as marriage can still be politically legitimate would have been a fit task for what in earlier times was called the judicial temperament. We might have covered ourselves with honor today, by promising all sides of this debate that it was theirs to settle and that we would respect their resolution. We might have let the People decide.

But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today’s decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent.

I thought Justice Scalia might have already thrown in the towel, since in his dissent in Lawrence v Texas, he more or less said that if we can’t prosecute them for sodomy, we might just as well let them get married:

If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest” for purposes of proscribing that conduct…what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising “the liberty protected by the Constitution”? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry.

 

I don’t know about the sterile, but personally, I think it would be a good idea if the elderly were not allowed to marry, but that’s just me as I’m getting elderly.

via DOMA Unconstitutional – Scalia Unhappy – Let’s Get Practical – Forbes.

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DOMA: Military spouses to see benefits ‘as soon as possible,’ Hagel vows – CSMonitor.com

With the Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)the Pentagon will move “as soon as possible” to make all the same benefits available to all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, the nation’s top defense official announced Wednesday.

via DOMA: Military spouses to see benefits ‘as soon as possible,’ Hagel vows – CSMonitor.com.

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Marriage equality returns to California: Plaintiffs in Proposition 8 court case wed in San Francisco | Steve Rothaus’ Gay South Florida

SAN FRANCISCO — The lead plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban tied the knot at San Francisco City Hall on Wednesday, about an hour after an appeals court cleared the way for same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses for the first time in 4 1/2 years.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris presided at the wedding of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, of Berkeley. The couple sued to overturn the state’s voter-approved gay marriage ban along with Jeff Katami and Paul Zarrillo, of Burbank, who planned to marry Friday evening at Los Angeles City Hall.

“They have waited and fought for this moment,” Harris said. “Today their wait is finally over.”

Harris declared Perry, 48, and Stier, 50, “spouse and spouse,” but during their vows, they took each other as “lawfully wedded wife.”

Click here for updates.


Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gaysouthflorida/2013/06/marriage-equality-returns-to-california-plaintiffs-in-proposition-8-court-case-wed-in-san-francisco.html#storylink=cpy

via Marriage equality returns to California: Plaintiffs in Proposition 8 court case wed in San Francisco | Steve Rothaus’ Gay South Florida.

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Larabee: DOMA ruling grounded in Constitution | The Salt Lake Tribune

“The liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause contains within it the prohibition against denying to any person the equal protection of the laws. While the Fifth Amendment itself withdraws from Government the power to degrade or demean in the way this law does, the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment makes that Fifth Amendment right all the more specific and all the better understood and preserved.” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

via Larabee: DOMA ruling grounded in Constitution | The Salt Lake Tribune.

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