After three months of deliberation, the Supreme Court of the United States is due to give rulings on the cases of Windsor v. United States and Hollingsworth v. Perry this Thursday June 27. These two cases mean very different things for the fate of same-sex marriage in America.
Windsor v. United States is a case that challenges the constitutionality of The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. The case was brought forth after Edith Windsor of New York lost almost $400,000 in federal estate taxes just because she was married to a woman instead of a man. Windsor legally married her partner of 40 years, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. When Spyer died a few years ago, Windsor inherited the entire estate, but that estate was subject to taxes that would not have applied to a heterosexual couple.
In lower courts, DOMA was deemed unconstitutional because it violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws with regard to same-sex couples married legally in states that allow same-sex marriage. Although Spyer and Windsor were married in Canada, New York is one of the 12 states in which same-sex marriage is legal.
Now in the Supreme Court, this case will decide how the federal government will treat legal same-sex marriages. DOMA could either be supported by the Supreme Court or overturned. If DOMA is overturned, same-sex couples already in civil unions will be afforded the same rights as married heterosexual couples in federal laws and programs such as Social Security benefits, income tax, estate tax, and immigration. These rights will also apply to future, legal, same-sex marriages.
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Naptime, feeding time … final exam? For Rebecca Mabrey, 25, of Jacksonville, Florida, that was how her and her 10-month-old baby’s afternoon was going to play out. But she was denied entrance to her final exam at Florida State College for bringing the kiddo along.
Mabrey argued that the exam fell right between her baby’s naptime and feeding time, so she felt that she had no choice but to bring her kid along to breastfeed. (Her husband was unable to watch the kid.) Florida State College did not agree: in an email, they told her children under 16 are not allowed on campus in order to maintain an environment that is conducive to learning. The school also added they were not in violation of Florida’s maternal and infant health care law on breastfeeding because “this is not a prohibition of breastfeeding an infant.” In other words, Mabrey would be allowed to breastfeed her baby during the exam — if only kids were allowed. Keep reading »
UPDATE, 4:45p.m.: Via Jezebel, Horizon Science Academy has posted an apology on their web site and said it will “correct the information” in its dress code, as well as send out an updated version. [HorizonLorain.org]
School dress codes are generally a great thing for kids. The mission statement of the new dress code at The Horizon Science Academy in Lorain, Ohio is a very promising one; the goal is to decrease the pressure on students to fit in with their clothing. It diminishes socioeconomic differences between students and creates a sense of unity at school. All good ideas, but this dress code in particular has a very strange and racist stipulation: it inexplicably bans afro-puffs and small twisted braids. Keep reading »
A standard traffic stop over a broken headlight turned into sexual abuse in Florida when a Lakeland police officer asked Zoe Brugger to lift up her shirt, pull her bra away from her chest, and shake it. He then decided that the first time had not been sufficient, so she was made to do it again. The best part?
He had literally no reason to have her do this. Keep reading »
Up until he underwent a grueling 13-hour surgery, Wesley Warren Jr. had 132-pound testicles. In 2009, after crushing his testicles in his sleep, Warren Jr., developed a disorder called “scrotal lymphedema” (also known as scrotal elephantiasis). His balls swelled to a gargantuan size, and his titanic testes were so massive that he toyed with the idea of selling the boys on eBay, which, oddly enough, is not all that rare of an idea. In his condition, Warren was unable to have sex and experienced tons of pain. Also, apparently carrying around testicles the size of another human is not especially good for one’s health. Considering all of these things, the surgery that brought his testicles back down to average size sounds like the best possible scenario, right?
Well …. Keep reading »
An academic journal entitled Porn Studies is debuting in 2014 and will be “the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic.” The notion of classifying pornography as academia is already hard for many to swallow, but the new periodical from Routledge may be in for some real opposition. The organization, Stop Porn Culture, has sponsored a petition to have “Porn Studies” change before it even starts. The organization has argued that the periodical is too pro-porn and will not provide enough criticism of the genre. Keep reading »