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U.S. Gay Marriage Wins (sort of)

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Supreme Court strikes down federal provision

on same-sex marriage benefits

Washington (CNN) -- In a dramatic slap at congressional authority, a divided Supreme Court has struck down a key part of a law that denies to legally married same-sex couples the same federal benefits provided to heterosexual spouses.

The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. The vote Wednesday was 5-4.

"Although Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment," said Justice Anthony Kennedy. He was supported by four more liberal colleagues: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The case examined whether the federal government can deny tax, health and pension benefits to same-sex couples in states where they can legally marry. At issue was whether DOMA violates equal protection guarantees in the Fifth Amendment's due process clause as applied to same-sex couples legally married under the laws of their states.


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My comment is: I wish this had been a sweeping endorsement of gay marriage that would overturn all states' ability to limits on our personal freedoms, but this is still a huge step in the right direction. It's very telling that it was a very close ruling.

Clearly, we ain't quite there yet, but this is the biggest leap forward we've had in many years. I'm very happy for the lesbian couple (actually the survivor of the estate, Edie Windsor), who won the case. Their story is quite moving:




Note that President Obama personally called Ms. Windsor to congratulate her on winning the case!

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The crazies are already coming out of the woodwork on this issue as if the Christian Right is expecting God to step in and overrule the Supremes. The nation will now be deluged with pleas for money from the lunatics to fight the tide of gay justice and I think it is about time we turn our focus on them.

The fear mongering Christian Right has been using gay marriage in their voodoo act to scare the dollars out of the ignorant...now what are they going to do? Like the CEO's of some major charity organizations in this country, many who donate only a small percentage to actual charity, the bishops and preachers who have been spouting hate have had their script taken away.

In time they will recharge their batteries because their livelihood is in danger and so they must rebuild the hate machine or actually go out and work for a living....Heaven forbid (snicker). The only hatful ones out there with a universal message are the Westboro Baptist nutjobs since God Hates Fags is a timeless expression from their simple minds.

Perhaps it would be interesting if God did appear on the scene and smite the unbelievers. But remember, the deity everyone calls God is Jewish and wields a mean sword. I doubt if he would have much patience with those in the Christian Right who would presume to speak for him. Call down the bolts of lightning to smite the blasphemers, and as you might expect I have a short list of targets to suggest. But maybe another time...

(all in fun, with full disclosure I am an atheist, and playing or praying with God isn't my thing)

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Not only a victory for gay marriage but a victory for states rights too. Now we can keep doing this the right way, state by state, instead of federally.

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Not only a victory for gay marriage but a victory for states rights too. Now we can keep doing this the right way, state by state, instead of federally.

I agree, the structure of this decision does not infringe on 'States Rights' and if the other states follow, one-by-one, it won't be that long before all will allow same sex marriage. Those remaining states will be punished with the outflow of brains and talent to states that do.

Even with the abolition of American apartheid (segregation) nearly half a century ago there are still pockets of hate where rights are denied to some residents. A sweeping decision by the Supremes over-riding existing state bans would bring in a flood of new ultra-conservatives and tea-baggers to pass legislation to defeat this decision.

I agree with Cy, it's better to do it on a state-by-state basis... that way it can't be easily undone.


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DOMA had far-reaching effects beyond marriage itself including effects on immigration. I have a relative living in the UK with his partner who is a British citizen. One probable immediate effect of SCOTUS's ruling is that if they come to my home state and are married, ICE will process my relative's application for a green card for his partner, which it would not do prior to the ruling. Since federal immigration law preempts any state attempt from regulating immigration, only a finding that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional would the immigration system change in this regard.

However, they would probably have to reside in one of the states that recognizes their marriage at the time of their application, and the effect of moving to a state that doesn't do so on his partner's immigration status is unclear. A state by state approach here isn't very helpful.

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I agree with Cy, it's better to do it on a state-by-state basis... that way it can't be easily undone.

I'd rather they make a sweeping unilateral Federal ruling that says the right to marry is inherent for all adults, regardless of state. But... I get that this has to be done over time. We've come a long way.

I think as soon as we can get more than 50% of all states to approve gay marriage, then it'll be time to propose a constitutional amendment that specifically includes this. Note that, even after 40 years, we still don't have the Equal Rights Amendment, which would have provided for this -- for men, women, straight people, gay people, and everybody inbetween:


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How fortunate we are that the Supreme Court has opened the door to a whole new bunch of litigation....you can hear the lawyers cheering in the back room. But least you think that DOMA is dead and gone, think again:


We should thank the fair minded and gay supporting members of Congress but they cannot do it alone. The next step is really the election cycle in 2014 where the teabagger members of the House need to be ousted to end the gridlock in Congress.

Progress on all fronts has ended, from immigration to the economy, because of these right wing do nothing House members. Perhaps in twenty or thirty years we will have a third political party to counter the latest bunch of idiots in Washington, and wouldn't it be nice if they all came to rally under a rainbow flag. We can still have dreams...

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One good outcome from this decision... military benefits. However, since our dads have a lot of civil assurances in place, and we live in the "Great State of Mississippi" where gay marriage is banned constitutionally, they will be leaving those in force... just in case those decisions are reversed.

It will give them lower insurance on my youngest brother, and one of my dads, who will now have the benefits my Dad does.

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The most amazing exclamation mark on the Supreme Court's decision happened Friday afternoon.

Friday morning, California State Attorney General Kamala Harris urged the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay it placed on Judge Vaughn Walker's decision that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. The stay was to allow Judge Walker's decision to be appealed, and the U.S. Supreme Court this week denied the appeal by proponents of Proposition 8. At approximately 3:00 pm the Ninth Circuit Court granted Attorney General Harris' request and removed the stay, making Judge Walker's decision the law of the State of California, allowing same-sex marriages to resume immediately.

The four plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned California's same-sex marriage ban tied the knot Friday, just hours after a federal appeals court freed gay couples to obtain marriage licenses in the state for the first time in 4 1/2 years. California Attorney General Kamala Harris presided at the marriage of Kris Perry and Sandy Stier in San Francisco, and shortly thereafter in Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presided at the marriage of Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo in Los Angeles.

An appeal by the proponents of Proposition 8 is expected to be filed on Monday, but even their attorneys don't expect that an injunction will be issued to halt same-sex marriages in California.

Colin :icon_geek:

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I'm about to move to Michigan, maybe on September 1st. There is a case pending in the Michigan courts over a gay lesbian couple to adopt a child. The trial judge suggested (off handedly) that the reason that they couldn't adopt was the state's ban on gay marrage, so the plaintifs changed the suite to guestion the states ban on gay marrage. The trial judge said that he would rule after the US Supreme Court rulled on DOMA. After our move to Michigan, there will be a new marrage. :) and we can take our new foster boy there and adopt him. I have never been happier in my life.


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You can move to California, Richard. Gay adoption is and has been legal (but not necessarily through a church-sponsored adoption agency). Now that Proposition 8 has been declared null and void you'll be able to marry here too. And the weather's a heck of a lot better than in Michigan.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Update on that Michigan court case that Richard mentioned, along with another Michigan court case:


It looks one of the outcomes of the Windsor case has been to weaken situations where the States have made laws that benefit only for married couples, and then deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. That combination is what's being threatened by the two cases listed in the above link.

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