This week, the Supreme Court made the historic ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8 are both unconstitutional. It’s an enormous victory for gays and lesbians, their families, and anyone who cares about equality.
So how did The New Yorker, arguably the most reputable magazine in the country, memorialize the occasion on their cover? With Bert and Ernie, two puppets from “Sesame Street,” watching a television with the Supreme Court justices shown the screen.
The background, in case you aren’t aware, is that there have long been jokes that roommates Bert and Ernie are actually extra-special roommates. Predictably, some whackadoodles have gotten upset about children watching “Sesame Street” and wondering why two male puppets (and their rubber ducky) live together.
I’ll be honest: I think the cover is a little cute just because I like Jim Henson puppets, especially the ones from “Sesame Street.” I also think it’s an eye-catching image, which means it may sell better on the newsstands (and is likely the primary reason The New Yorker chose it). The media is a business after all.
But not everyone feels the same way I do. Let’s ignore the National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, who posted the image under the homophobic title “Innocence. Lost.” Blogger Tyler Coates of Flavorwire, whom I implicitly trust to interpret all things LGBTQ-related, blasted the cover as “infantilizing,” “offensive,” and click-baiting for Internet outrage. Keep reading »
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.
Keep reading »
Page Price and Carolyn Compton are a pair of moms living in Texas. They have been together for three years and are raising two children that Compton had with her ex-husband. But the couple may be forced by a court to move apart due to a “morality clause” in Compton’s custody agreement with her ex that said no sexytimes overnight guests could sleep at the home — and the longtime, cohabitating couple are not legally allowed to marry by Texas law. Keep reading »
Today New Zealand became the 14th country (counting France, which will make it official with a final vote next week) to legalize same-sex marriage, and they rang in equality in grand style. Once the vote was announced, the gallery cheered, and then a voice from the balcony started singing the traditional love song, “Pokarekare Ana,” which includes the following lyrics (translated):
“I have written you a letter, and enclosed with it my ring. If your people should see it, then the trouble will begin… My poor pen is broken, my paper is spent, But my love for you endures, and remains forever more.”
Skip to 1:20 to see the joyous moment! [YouTube via Think Progress]
“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]
Yesterday in Austin, Texas, a city I’m very proud to call home, 250 people gathered on the south steps of the state capitol for a nice round of bigoted back-patting, peppered with lines like this, from state senator Donna Campbell: “They want to redefine marriage between a natural man and natural woman the same way they want to redefine the Constitution.”
This, of course, while the Supreme Court was hearing arguments on same-sex marriage.
“Our core values are being attacked on a daily basis,” Campbell told the crowd.
I like that line, about “core values” that are “being attacked,” because if there’s one thing that gives me a little pleasure when thinking about people like Donna Campbell, and others who would deny civil rights to all Americans because something something Jesus, it’s the thought that maybe they stay up at night seriously worried that the gays, or whoever Donna Campbell thinks “they” might be, are coming for her values and children, cowering beneath their quilted comforters.
Maybe that thought is funny to me because things like the “Future Bride” baby onesie exist in the world. If anyone is coming for your children, it is hyper-normative heterosexuals who can’t even wait for a little girl to get out of goddamned diapers before casting her as a sexual being. Keep reading »
As the fight for marriage equality reaches the Supreme Court this week, this video is a reminder that “The Golden Girls” were able to sum up the case for gay marriage in less than a minute. Where is Sophia Petrillo when we need her? [YouTube]