On Tenth Anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas No Less!
Right out of the gate, the US Supreme Court handed down the Defense of Marriage ruling. The case involves Eddie Windsor, a lesbian widow married in Canada. She was forced to pay a huge sum in taxes after her wife, Thea Spyer, passed away. In a five to four decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, DOMA was struck down. The majority struck down the core of the law.
The Court ruled that “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.”
DOMA is gone!
This means that every single state in the Union has to recognize the marriages entered into in each state without regards to local bans. DOMA is unconstitutional! This sets up later cases to be argued on the same grounds as Loving v. Virginia.
In the Kennedy written opinion, “There is a ‘careful consideration’ standard: In determining whether a law is motivated by improper animus or purpose, discriminations of an unusual character especially require careful consideration. DOMA cannot survive under these principles.”
Kennedy also wrote “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.”
The usual suspect dissented meaning that Scalia violated every single thing he believes in. Or says he believes in.
Scalia and Roberts claim there was no jurisdiction for them, which is a whimp’s way out of the whole thing as this is a Federal law. Scalia whined that the decision and the jurisdiction “both spring from the same diseased root: an exalted notion of the role of this court in American democratic society.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stated:
“Today is a historic day for our country on its long march towards upholding the fundamental values this country was founded upon of fairness, equality and justice. I am overjoyed the Supreme Court has ruled to end the discrimination that had been enshrined into U.S. law.
“Marriage is the true foundation for strong families. Every loving, committed couple deserves the basic human right to get married, start a family, and be treated equally under the law. No politician from this day forward should try to stand in the way of this fact.
“Now that the Supreme Court has ruled DOMA is unconstitutional, Congress must do its job and get this corrosive law off the books so there is certainty for all loving committed couples across state lines. I promise to work hard to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and finally put the discriminatory DOMA policy into the dustbin of history where it belongs.”
L-Pac, a lesbian-centered Political Action Committed, added:
Millions of people made this happen by speaking out, marching, and rallying at state capitals to change people’s minds. But the Court’s decision started with two women: one of whom, Edie Windsor, danced holes in her stockings the night they met.
Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer shared a life of love and commitment.
When Edie lost her beloved Thea, she was denied rights because the federal government didn’t view her marriage as legitimate.
Edie fought it. She went on to bravely share her story and stand for her rights – the rights of all loving, same-sex couples – leading to the Court’s decision to rule DOMA unconstitutional. This day will go down in history. We owe Edie a huge debt of gratitude. Her victory is our victory, too.
Someone please send the smelling salts along to Maggie Gallagher, Brian Brown, Tony Perkins…
As for Prop 8, the Court ruled in an unusual split, that the anti-LGBT groups who appealed the Walker decision on Prop 8 had no standing to appeal. This means that Walker’s ruling stands and Prop 8 is gone. Prop 8 is unconstitutional. The majority in the Prop 8 case were Roberts with Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan. Dissenting were Kennedy, Thomas, Alito and Sotormayor.
The ruling does not apply to every marriage ban, but that is now rendered moot thanks to the Windsor case.
On DOMA, it is wonderful to see OS-SLDN get their act together for today’s ruling. Allyson Robinson, the current head of OS-SLDN stated:
“Today, we congratulate plaintiff Edie Windsor, her incredible legal team, and all those who have stood up for the freedom to marry in America. This victory is especially sweet for our nation’s lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members, who can now not only serve openly, but can serve knowing that their loving, committed, and legal marriages will be recognized by the military they serve and the nation they protect.
“This victory energizes our work moving forward and lays a new, strong foundation for ensuring marriage for all loving and committed couples in our country across all fifty states
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the McLaughlin plaintiffs today, including the late Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan and her family, all of whom courageously stepped forward to do something very difficult: to file suit against their employer, the Department of Defense, as well the Department of Veterans Affairs. In doing so, they stood up not only for their own families, but for countless LGBT military families they will never know. Their stories have been, and will continue to be, a gamechanger as the marriage fight marches forward.”
The military must now recognize, in full, all marriages entered into by their LGB service members.
Rick Garcia of The Civil Rights Agenda’s Equal Marriage Illinois Project added in that “This is one of the most important days in the history of our movement for LGBT civil rights. Although we are thrilled with the ruling, we are painfully cognizant that in Illinois same-gender couples still cannot be married and we must change that immediately. The Illinois House of Representatives must act as soon as possible.”
Bridgette P. LaVictoire, the owner and lead writer at LezGetReal, added in “This is not the end of the war for equality. There are many bans that still must go down, and hate crimes that must be stopped. The LGBT Community won a huge victory today, but we must be ever vigilant lest we see this nation backslide into tyranny and oppression once again. There are many battles yet to wage. But for today, let us celebrate.” (Yes, I wrote this whole thing too)
Wilson Cruz of GLAAD added in “At long last, the legal marriages of countless gay and lesbian couples will be afforded the same federal recognition and protections as any other. Today is a cornerstone for justice and equality — when our nation once again moved closer to recognizing and celebrating all LGBT Americans for their contributions to our great country.” Regarding Prop 8 “Fairness has finally been restored in California. A majority of Americans, and now the highest Court in the land, agree that it’s wrong to strip loving and committed gay and lesbian couples of the fundamental opportunity to marry the person you love. Today, we stand in solidarity with millions of Californians, who can finally say ‘I do’ to the person they love.”
Chris Redfern of the Ohio Democratic Party said ” Along with other discriminatory practices, DOMA blocked same-sex partners of federal employees from the same benefits for which straight couples are eligible, and stood as an ugly reminder of a different time. Today’s ruling is a historic victory in our ongoing effort to protect love and push for equality for all. Ohio Democrats are proud to continue to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters in this fight.”
Equality Alabama Board Chair Fergus Touhy said “While we are encouraged by the Court’s rulings and fully intend to celebrate them, the fact remains that there is still much work to be done. As long as LGBT youth face bullying in schools and LGBT workers fear job loss simply because of who they love, we will continue to stand up for them. Equality Alabama will continue our work until all of our LGBT bothers and sisters truly have equal protection under the law.”
The Plaintiffs in the Perry case have been giving statements. The most important have been “will you marry me?” to their partners.
Openly gay Member of Congress Mark Pocan added in that:
“I am overjoyed that the Supreme Court has come down on the side of equality, justice and love by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act,” Pocan said. “No more will thousands of loving gay and lesbian couples see their marriage ignored by the federal government, leaving them without the protections opposite-sex married couples enjoy. With 93 million Americans now living in states that recognize same-sex marriages, and 58 percent of the country in favor of marriage equality, we now have the public, the courts and the Constitution on our side.
“I am also thrilled that by dismissing the Perry case, thousands of same-sex couples and families in California can once again have their love respected under the law, and Prop 8 can once again take its rightful place in our country’s history books.
“As we celebrate this momentous occasion, we must continue to move forward and ensure all loving couples are treated as equals. While my husband Phil and I continue to wait to have our marriage recognized by both Wisconsin and Washington, I am now more confident than ever that full marriage equality is a question not of if, but when.”
The Family Equality Council added:
“This is an historic and momentous day for millions of families in our country with parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) said Family Equality Council Board Chair Alan Bernstein. “Today the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that loving, married same-sex couples and their children deserve equal protection under the law.”
Key to the rulings was an historic Amicus Brief, authored by pro-bono counsel Bryan Cave on behalf of Family Equality Council, which elevated the voices of children of LGBT parents- many of whom are part of a national public education and advocacy program, The Outspoken Generation. In writing the Windsor opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote, DOMA “… humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.”
LGBT family advocate and Outspoken Generation Co-Chair Zach Wahls said the rulings reaffirm a message he has been spreading nationally since his 2011 speech before the Iowa legislature went viral on YouTube.
“This is an incredible victory for families like mine,” said Wahls. “Children of LGBT parents deserve to have our voices heard, and today we know that we were. The Supreme Court has finally recognized that our parents and our families deserve to be treated with dignity and respect under the law.”