On Wednesday, the Supreme Court is set to begin hearing arguments on the subject of abortion. But it’s not reproductive rights, per se, that the Court will be hearing about: this time it’s a matter of clinic safety.
McCullen vs. Coakley is a lawsuit against a 2007 Massachusetts law that forbids anti-abortion protesters from entering a buffer zone of 35 feet in front of the entrances and exits of clinics. Under the law, anti-abortion protesters — known for their intimidating and harassing behavior — must do all their prosthelytizing and praying from outside of a yellow line painted on the side walk, allowing clinic patients and their escorts to pass freely into and out of the facility. Protesters say this is a violation of the First Amendment.
Find out more about what the Supreme Court will be determining in McCullen vs. Coakley, after the jump: Keep reading »
On Wednesday morning the Supreme Court ruled to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s anti-gay marriage Prop 8. After months of waiting for a decision, gay marriage supporters can breathe a sigh of relief.
Photos from around the Supreme Court and in San Francisco’s City Hall capture the ebullient mood of gay rights supporters on hearing the decision. Click through to see how gay marriage advocates are celebrating the win.
In a huge victory for gay marriage supporters, the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 on Wednesday that the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8 are both unconstitutional.
According to the SCOTUS blog the judges ruled in the following fashion:
Roberts dissents. Scalia dissents. DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.
According to the ruling, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, were all in the minority.
The statute was ruled invalid, according to the Supreme Court’s blog, because:
“DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.”;
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he Supreme Court dealt what looks like a mortal wound to the Voting Rights Act today, striking down the law’s key enforcement metric. The court did not, as some had expected, strike down Section 5, which gives the federal government oversight over states and localities with a history of voter discrimination. Instead, in a 5-4 decision, the court’s conservative justices ruled that the formula used to determine which places require oversight is out of date, CNN explains. (The Washington Post has a quick primer on the law’s specifics.) Read more on Newser…
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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“Every cloud has a silver lining, and one of the benefits of the exclusion of women from most professions was that we had wonderful teachers, especially the women who today would probably be CEOs.”
– This is Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia reflecting on his childhood in New York City for New York magazine’s “Childhood In New York” issue, which was apparently quite lovely because of sexism. Might I remind you this person sits on our nation’s highest court in the land? Wonder how many times Justice Elena Kagan has to stop herself from rolling her eyes. [NYMag.com]
“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]
As you can see from this sign spotted outside the Supreme Court yesterday, the actual gay agenda is much less scary than conservative fearmongers make it out to be. In fact, it looks exactly like most busy moms’ agendas, save for 15 minutes every evening dedicated to breaking up a traditional marriage. Hey, someone’s gotta keep those heterosexual divorce rates nice and high! [Mommyish]
By now, you’ve probably noticed more than a few of your friends have changed their Facebook profile photos to the image of an equals sign on a red background, showing their support for marriage equality. This week, the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in two key cases, the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8, and many gay marriage supporters are rallying at the capitol. Those who are with them in spirit have gotten creative and a number of great twists on the equals sign, as well as other pro-marriage equality memes, have been making the rounds on the internet. Here are 25 of our favorites…