Couples Can Wed Again in California

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Proposition 8 Struck Down
What is Prop 8?
Proposition 8 in California is the voter-approved law that limits marriage to one man and one woman that was passed in 2008.  In 2010, Prop 8 was declared unconstitutional by Judge Vaughn Walker because it limited marriage to only opposite couples thereby denying gay and lesbian Californians their basic rights.
Judge Walker’s decision was challenged by a group of citizens who put Prop 8 on the ballot. A federal court ruled that this group did not have legal standing to challenge the law.  Hollingsworth vs.… more

Legally Married Gays Entitled to Federal Benefits

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Down With Doma
Yesterday, June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States (Scotus) ruled that The Defense of Marriage Act, that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.  Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered “the swing vote,” read the majority opinion in language similar to his opinion on historic past “gay rights”  cases of Romer v. Evans in 1996 and Lawrence v. Texas in 2003.
In a 5-to-4 decision, he was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.  Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito all filed dissenting opinions.… more

Equality Won – Gay Marriage Victories

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America took a great stride toward fulfilling its inherent commitment to equality. On June 26th, the United States Supreme Court issued two very important gay rights rulings that nullified the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8. The court found DOMA unconstitutional on equal protection grounds and determined those petitioning the court to sustain Prop 8 did not have “standing” to do so and let the 9th Circuit decision stand.
DOMA being declared unconstitutional, brings to an end a very long fight that finally brings fairness and equity to those same sex couples legally married in that they now are accorded all the federal benefits of marriage that are available to heterosexual couples.… more

Supreme Court Delivers Gay Marriage Victory

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BREAKING NEWS:  Supreme Court Delivers First Gay Marriage Victory
Profound Victory for basic human rights as the Supreme Court issues rulings on Gay Marriage.
In 5-4 ruling, U.S. Supreme Court justices overturn Defense of Marriage Act, saying it is unconstitutional. DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment. Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas issue Dissents. Chief Roberts and Scalia believe there is no jurisdiction. Opinion is by Justice Kennedy, joined by the four liberal Justices — Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Kennedy states, “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.”
In plain terms, same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law such benefits include income taxes, social security benefits and over a thousand other federal laws and programs.… more

Equality is Coming!

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On March 26 and 27, America and the world witnessed an amazing and historic moment with the Supreme Court review of the constitutionality of Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  While it is certainly difficult to read the outcome based on oral arguments, it does appear, on the surface anyway, that Prop 8 and DOMA will be thrown out.
While we queer activists would love to see the court rule on the broader issue of marriage equality for the entire nation with its Prop 8 decision, based on the oral arguments, I am not all that confident that that is going to be the end result.  At the very least, I believe the court’s decision will be framed narrowly to only to apply to California and Californians will have their freedom to marry restored.  It will also send a clear message to other states that discrimination at the ballot box is unconstitutional!… more

Recent Poll Released Show Voters Disagree with DOMA

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Majority Find DOMA Discriminates
The Center for American Progress and Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAAD) released a poll on February 19, 2013 that found that an increasing number of voters think the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is discriminatory.
Details of the Poll
The poll shows that 59% of voters are opposed to DOMA, the federal law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage. As with other polls, this one proved that a majority of voters (52 percent) said they support marriage equality for same-sex couples.… more

Pentagon Extends Some Benefits to Same-Sex Couples In Service

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After review, Pentagon Extends Additional Benefits Previously Unavailable
Seventeen months ago after the military ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today announced that the Defense Department would extend additional benefits to same-sex partners of service members.  Panetta said in a statement: “At the time of repeal, I committed to reviewing benefits that had not previously been available to same-sex partners based on existing law and policy.  It is a matter of fundamental equity that we provide similar benefits to all of those men and women in uniform who serve their country.”
Details about the New Benefits
Hospital visitation rights, child care, ID cards, legal assistance and disability and death compensation for soldiers held as captives are among the new benefits granted.  However, because of Federal Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between a man and woman, the so-called Command-Sponsored Benefits don’t apply.… more

Go Proud Claims It Supports Same-sex Marriage

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Once Reticent, It Now Begins Work at State & Local Levels
The Tea Party Branch for Gay Republicans, GoProud, announced on January 18, 2013, that it supports marriage equality for gays and lesbians. GoProud’s Board of Directors decided to begin work at the state and local level. They even point to Democratic President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriage as a factor in changing their policy.
Worked Exclusively on Federal Issues in the Past
The GoProud Board of Directors released a press release on January 18th which delineates the change of opinion:  “Because marriage has been a state issue since the founding of our country, we have had no official position on marriage or relationship recognition.  We have supported, and continue to support, the repeal of DOMA, and we oppose any effort to federalize marriage through a constitutional amendment.”
Since its founding by two Log Cabin Republicans, Jimmy LaSalvia and Chris Barron, in 2009, GoProud has always opposed the federal Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA), but has been complacent about advocating in support of same-sex marriage.… more

Historic Gay Marriage Cases Set for Late March

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U.S. Supreme Court will Hear Two Oral Arguments
On January 7, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 Hollingsworth v.Perry, the constitutional amendment that forbids same-sex marriage on  March 26, and on March 27, it will listen to oral arguments in U.S. v. Windsor, the ACLU’s case challenging the constitutionality of DOMA which denies federal recognition to same-sex couples’ marriages. The court has scheduled only one hour’s worth of arguments each day. However, justices can extend the time allotted to arguments in each case.
The nine Supreme Court Justices involved in these cases are:  John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Broyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayer, and Elena Kagan.… more

Gay Hero Duncan Hosie, A Name Gays Can Trust

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Princeton University Student Challenges Supreme Ct. Justice Scalia
Duncan Hosie, a San Francisco native interested in constitutional law, wasn’t ‘buying’ Supreme Court Justice’s Antonin Scalia’s equating laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and even murder.  “Why do you think it’s necessary to liken the consenting relationships of gay adults to animal rapists and murderers?”, he asked Scalia.
A Princeton 2016 classman, Hosie, was in the University’s audience during a question-and-answer period following the promotion of Antonin Scalia’s new book, “Reading Law.”  Based on Scalia’s Supreme Court votes, speeches and writings on the subject, Hosie, who had just come out a month before, found his rhetoric offensive.… more