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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Court watchers: Opinion shift on gay marriage hard for justices to ignore – The Hill – covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns and Capitol Hill | TheHill.com

The dramatic shift in public opinion on same-sex marriage is likely to affect the Supreme Court’s historic rulings on the issue later this month, say legal scholars.

The justices often say they do not worry at all about politics or public opinion, and simply do what they believe the law compels them to.

But it will be hard if not impossible for them ignore the enormous transformation in opinion on same sex marriage, court watchers say, especially with two cases that offer them flexibility in how to rule.

“I have to think the justices — and especially the chief — are very cognizant of the shifting public opinion,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.



The justices aren’t driven by polling the way elected lawmakers are, but they are often mindful of the court’s credibility. Chief Justice John Roberts, in particular, has shown himself to be an “institutionalist” who wants to protect the court’s legitimacy, Tobias said. That was clear in last year’s decision on ObamaCare.

The political pressures facing the court on same-sex marriage are blowing from several directions, however, making it uncertain exactly how the court will rule.

“I don’t think you can say confidently which way it cuts,” said Tom Goldstein, a Supreme Court attorney and the founder of SCOTUSBlog.

via Court watchers: Opinion shift on gay marriage hard for justices to ignore – The Hill – covering Congress, Politics, Political Campaigns and Capitol Hill | TheHill.com.

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7 Reasons DOMA & Prop 8 need to be stopped – TGV News

There are currently 12 states, and the District of Columbia currently that allow same sex marriage. The Supreme Court decision will soon be made with Proposition 8, and DOMA. It is time to refocus to many advantages gay marriage would have, and the pursuit of marriage equality.

There are at least seven ways in which the legalization of gay marriage is beneficial for LGBTQ Americans and the United States of America.

Gay Marriage Promotes Equality and Non-Discrimination in Society

Millions of LGBTQ contribute daily to American life in a multitude of ways culturally, socially, financially, politically, vocationally, and spiritually. We are fundamental to this nation’s continued growth and evolution, the U.S.A. would suffer greatly from the withdrawal of our many contributions. The legalization of same-sex marriage affirms the inherent worthiness of LGBTQ people as valued American citizens deserving of equal rights under the law.

via 7 Reasons DOMA & Prop 8 need to be stopped – TGV News.

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13 key moments in the Supreme Court argument over gay marriage – U.S. News

2. Justice Sonia Sotomayor asks about gays, discrimination and marriage.

Sotomayor: “Outside of the marriage context, can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them? Is there any other rational decision-making that the government could make? Denying them a job, not granting them benefits of some sort, any other decision?”

Cooper: “Your Honor, I cannot. I do not have any — anything to offer you in that regard.”

 

via 13 key moments in the Supreme Court argument over gay marriage – U.S. News.

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Facebookers Go Red To Support Marriage Equality | TechCrunch

Notice a little extra red in the blue sea of Facebook the past couple of days?

That’s a new picture shared by the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for LGBT individuals and their allies, which is being used to show support for marriage equality.

Proposition 8, which outlaws same-sex marriages in California, has moved in front of the Supreme Court for review. During this crucial time, Facebook users are finding a way to show support through the social network by sharing this photo and adding it as a profile picture.

The photo is a new take on the HRC’s usual yellow and navy logo, turned red and white to represent love.

Here’s what the HRC said when it shared the photo:

Make sure you wear red to show your support for marriage equality. And make your Facebook profile red too!

The photo has been shared over 65,000 times since being uploaded yesterday morning, and has garnered almost 20,000 likes.

But the HRC isn’t the only spreading the love of equality. Popular gay celebrities Ellen Degeneresand Lance Bass (formerly of Nsync and an attempted space mission) both changed their profile pictures yesterday to show support. Ellen’s new pic has over 60,000 likes, and Lance’s whole Facebook page is dedicated to fighting for marriage equality.

To top it all off, Facebook’s official resource page for LGBT individuals, has also joined in by changing its profile picture to the red equality image.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen political activism take place on social media — SOPA/PIPA, cell phone unlocking, and Arab Spring uprisings all come to mind. This also marks a growing trend of this particular debate, around marriage equality, going down on Facebook. Remember Chick-Fil-A appreciation day?

If you want to show your support for the striking down of Proposition 8, inching a group of minority Americans closer to the equality they have been promised, go ahead and

change your profile photo to the one above.

And if that doesn’t feel like enough, the HRC has an online petition here..

via Facebookers Go Red To Support Marriage Equality | TechCrunch.

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Weighing in on gay marriage ban? Obama may ask the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban – The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that would mark a political victory for advocates of same-sex unions and a deepening commitment by President Barack Obama to rights for gay couples.

Obama raised expectations among opponents of the Proposition 8 ban when he declared in last month’s inaugural address that gays and lesbians must be “treated like anyone else under the law.” The administration has until Feb. 28 to intervene in the case by filing a “friend of the court” brief.

The Proposition 8 ballot initiative was approved by California voters in 2008 and overturned a state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage. Twenty-nine other states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, while nine states and Washington, D.C., recognize same-sex marriage.

An administration brief alone is unlikely to sway the Justices but the federal government’s opinion does carry weight with the court.

via Weighing in on gay marriage ban? Obama may ask the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban – The Washington Post.

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Mormons, religious groups file brief in support of Prop 8 | Gay News | Washington Blade – America’s Leading Gay News Source

The participation of the Church of Latter-Day Saints in a legal brief filed by religious groups in favor of California’s Proposition 8 is vexing an organization that advocates for LGBT Mormons.

In a 38-page friend-of-the-court brief, filed before the Supreme Court Jan. 29, religious groups — including the Mormon Church — emphasize that justices shouldn’t strike down Prop 8 on the basis of religious support for the anti-gay amendment. The brief is signed by Von Keech, a Utah-based private attorney who has previously assisted the Mormon Church, as well as other private attorneys with his firm Alexander Dushku, R. Shawn Gunnarson and Kirton McConkie.

“[O]ur members supported Proposition 8 based on sincere beliefs in the value of traditional marriage for children, families, society, and our republican form of government,” the brief states. “Only a demeaning view of religion and religious believers could dismiss our advocacy of Proposition 8 as ignorance, prejudice, or animus.”

In a statement on Monday, Affirmation, a national group for gay and lesbian Mormons, questioned why the Mormon Church would participate in a legal brief in favor of Prop 8 after backing off its support of anti-gay measures since the passage of the California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2008.

“I agree that churches should have the freedom to petition the government and that Proposition 8 should not be invalidated due to religious support of the initiative,” said Affirmation President Randall Thacker, who’s gay. “However, we believe Proposition 8 should be invalidated on the grounds that it denies protections to same-sex couples who have committed to care and provide for each other and their children, a grouping that is clearly defined as a family by the majority of society.”

Spencer Clark, who’s straight and president of Mormons for Marriage Equality, said he agrees the law should provide a foundation for strong families, but said Prop 8 harms children being raised by same-sex parents.

“Unfortunately, Proposition 8 provides no additional benefits to straight couples while denying substantial benefits and legitimacy to gay and lesbian couples who are also raising children,” Clark said. “The brief argues for a conception of marriage that blatantly ignores the hundreds of thousands of children in the United States being raised by same-sex couples, pretending that these loving families don’t exist.”

via Mormons, religious groups file brief in support of Prop 8 | Gay News | Washington Blade – America’s Leading Gay News Source.

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Supreme Court sets Prop. 8, DOMA hearings – SFGate

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday scheduled a March 26 hearing on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The hearing will come one day before the high court hears a challenge to the federal government’s denial of benefits to legally married gay and lesbian couples under a law known as the Defense of Marriage Act.

Justices will question lawyers for each side at hearings scheduled to last an hour each.

Prop. 8 was approved by the voters in November 2008, overturning a May 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that recognized a right to same-sex marriage under the California Constitution.

A federal appeals court declared Prop. 8 unconstitutional in February 2012, saying the measure had withdrawn rights from a historically persecuted minority. The ruling stopped short of deciding whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, but the Supreme Court could address that issue in its ruling, due by the end of June

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Supreme-Court-sets-Prop-8-DOMA-hearings-4172681.php#ixzz2HW7YNBYv

via Supreme Court sets Prop. 8, DOMA hearings – SFGate.

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Supreme Court showdown expected over DOMA and Prop. 8 decisions – latimes.com

WASHINGTON — For more than two decades, the defining battles within the Supreme Court over social and moral controversies have been fought between two devout Catholics appointed by President Reagan.

Justice Antonin Scalia believes the law can and should enforce moral standards, including criminal bans on abortion and on “homosexual conduct” that many “believe to be immoral and destructive.”

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is a libertarian conservative who believes the Constitution protects the freedom of individuals to “make personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing and education.”

FULL COVERAGE: The battle over gay marriage 

Now the ideological fight between the conservative giants is set for another round. The two 76-year-olds are to some extent likely to be on opposite sides when the court meets in the spring to decide whether the government can refuse marriage and federal benefits to gays and lesbians.

The two have much in common. Born in 1936, they graduated from high school in the early 1950s and excelled at Harvard Law School, where they were a year apart. They were Republicans who rose through the legal ranks. When appointed to the court, both bought homes in McLean, Va.

They agree on much. Both voted to strike down President Obama‘s healthcare law as an overreach by the government. Scalia joined Kennedy’s majority opinion in the Citizens United case that freed corporate and union spending on political ads.

But Kennedy, the libertarian, and Scalia, the social conservative, clash fiercely over the court’s role in deciding moral controversies.

The two split 20 years ago when the court’s conservative bloc was poised to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the ruling that legalized abortion. Though personally opposed to abortion, Kennedy switched sides in spring 1992 and cast a crucial vote to uphold a woman’s right to choose. “Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code,” Kennedy wrote.

In the past, Scalia has accused Kennedy of having “signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda.” Scalia is likely to have the votes of fellow conservatives Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and probably Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to uphold state and federal laws that exclude gays from marriage.

But Kennedy has the much stronger hand. He ranks third in seniority after the chief justice and Scalia, and he has four liberal justices on his left. Because the senior member of the majority decides who writes the opinion, Kennedy could decide who writes the opinions if he votes with the liberals. And he could take the assignment for himself..”

FULL COVERAGE: The battle over gay marriage

Now the ideological fight between the conservative giants is set for another round. The two 76-year-olds are to some extent likely to be on opposite sides when the court meets in the spring to decide whether the government can refuse marriage and federal benefits to gays and lesbians.

The two have%2

via Supreme Court showdown expected over DOMA and Prop. 8 decisions – latimes.com.

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