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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“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?”
– Here’s Supreme Court Justice/all-around baller Sonia Sotomayor‘s response to the anti-gay argument during the Prop 8 hearing this week. Lawyer Charles Cooper, who was defending California’s Prop 8 ban on gay marriage, had nothing to say in response. A “wise Latina” indeed! [Latina]
Tardar Sauce is a wee bit misanthropic, but even Grumpy Cat herself won’t deny her support of gay marriage. We found this amazing portrait of the Grumpster made (we think!) by Lana Rakhman, and couldn’t resist sharing Grumpy’s pro-gay marriage protest. [Facebook]
Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” lyrics plus a marriage equality plea? We are all in.
Sometimes the only way to counter irrational hatred, anger and fear is with a little humor. Check out these hilarious responses to anti-gay protesters, set to a cheery John Mayer cover. Our favorite: “82 years of being gay: but maybe it’s just a phase I’m going through.” [BuzzFeed
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The “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star is one of the celebrities showing her support for marriage equality by posing for the NOH8 campaign, which seeks to overturn Proposition 8 in California. [via DListed] Keep reading »
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the civil rights group founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is trying to fire Reverend Eric Lee, the president of its Los Angeles Chapter, because he supports gay marriage and dissed Prop 8. While it’s pretty ironic that the SCLC would give him a pink slip over gay rights, that’s sadly, not the only thing funny about a leading civil rights group turning their back on a marginalized community. Reverend Lee was a key figure in the marches and rallies against the California bill. But sadly, 70 percent of black voters did not share his sentiments at the polls. While the SCLC refuses to comment on the matter, perhaps, as the WOW Report pointed out, this quote from a 2003 speech by MLK’s widow, Coretta Scott King, can come to his defense now.
“I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people. … But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”
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It seems the Prop 8 folks have gotten to Portia de Rossi. Ellen DeGeneres’ wife has rethought her position on gay marriage and decided to do some apologizing on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show. Check it out above! Keep reading »