Gay Marriage Accidentally Passes in Costa Rica

While officially Costa Rica isn’t the next country legalizing gay marriage, a bill that passed last week with open language leaves room for the possibility.

The Costa Rican legislature debated and passed changes to a bill called “Law of Young People” that covers social services and marriage laws. The bill had previously defined marriage concisely as being between a man and a woman; however within the first debates of the bill, leftist politicians declared that the law might cover gays and lesbians as well. In the proceedings José María Villalta, a member of the leftist Broad Front (Frente Amplio) Party, explained that “the Law of Young People should be interpreted with this sense of opening to gays,” and that after discussing it, “no one objected.”

Seeing no opposition, Villalta wrote into the bill that marriages extend “the right to recognition without discrimination contrary to human dignity,” and the bill passed unanimously through the legislature.

After it passed, rightist representatives realized how the text of the bill could be interpreted, and began to cry out against the bill. Many feel that they were deceived in the passage, and that they voted in error. Villata told La Nacíon that “Politicians approve projects without reading them through,” regarding a larger problem within the Costa Rican legislative assembly.

When the bill went to President Laura Chinchilla’s desk last Thursday, most conservatives called on her to veto it, citing that it goes against the constitution and traditional family values. She has stated in the past that she wouldn’t oppose a court to rule on legalizing gay marriage, but that she wouldn’t campaign for it. After signing the bill, she said in response to these calling for its veto, “We understand that the debate is over how some interpret the law and this alone is not sufficient for the executive to veto the law.”

At this point, since the language of the bill is ambiguous, it will have to be decided within the courts as President Chinchilla alluded. Some politicians have said that the bill should be read in the context of heterosexual couples, as that is how marriage is already established. Gay rights activists disagree, with Villalta saying that the bill’s passage “[opens] the door for recognizing the rights of same-sex unions.”

Either way, people are not confident about how same-sex marriages or civil unions would hold up in courts with low public support on the issue. By the time it makes it there, though, things could change. If gay marriages or civil unions are recognized within the country Costa Rica would be the sixth Latin American country to have them, joining Argentina and Uruguay with gay marriages, or Brazil, Colombia, and Ecuador with same-sex civil unions.

N.J. Civil Unions Are Being Challenged


6 Couples Sue To Marry

Once upon a time, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont offered civil unions. Now, only New Jersey continues to recognize civil unions because the other three states have legalized same-sex marriage.

Problem with Civil Unions

Although the protections and benefits of a civil union are greater than that of a domestic partnership, they do not provide all the hundreds of protections automatically received by heterosexual marriages.  Like domestic partnerships, civil union couples must take additional legal steps for themselves and their children on such matters as taxation.

Outside the state in which they are granted, civil unions may not be recognized.  It is a problem if, for example, a couple faces a medical emergency while traveling, one partner may not be permitted to make decisions for the other.  Employers do not have to give health insurance for parties in a civil union.

Lambda Legal

Representing supporters of gay marriage, Lambda Legal, urged a judge to “order that New Jersey allow same-sex couples to marry,” according to the state court motion today in Trenton.  Following the success of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on June 26 that struck down a U.S. law denying federal benefits to same-sex couples, Lambda Legal has litigated the question for a decade.

For many families, the greatest drawback to civil unions is the “separate and unequal” status they convey.  According to the filed motion, “state-sanctioned marriage provides the key to the full array of federal marital benefits.  The discrimination manifest in relegating same-sex couples to civil union establishes the clearest possible violation of the state constitutional guarantee of equal rights and benefits.”

Six same-sex couples argued in state court on July 3rd, that keeping couples in civil unions instead of allowing them to marry violates several constitutional rights and “simply cannot be justified.” The U.S. Supreme Court decision on June 26th giving same-sex couples federal benefits in states with legalized gay marriage has many couples feeling cheated by their states’ opposition to gay marriage.

Lawyers’ Arguments

Attorneys Lawrence Lustberg of the Gibbons Law firm and Hayley Gorenberg on behalf of the six couples and their children, in a fifty-three page brief, said “by relegating same-sex couples in New Jersey to civil union, the state denies them equal rights and benefits.”  Relying heavily on the logic and word choices of Supreme Court Justice’s Anthony Kennedy, Lustberg and Gorenberg mention the burden of “the indignity and stigma of civil unions.”

The lawyers have asked Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson to grant them the right to marry immediately following the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor on June 26.

On that day, Jacobson agreed to fast-track the case and scheduled arguments for August 15, 2013. The case is Garden State Equality v. Dow.

Precendents Has Been Established

All three branches of state government have said gay couples should receive the same rights and and privileges as heterosexuals, the lawyers argued.

In 2006, New Jersey passed its civil union law, that says gay couples should receive “all the rights and benefits that married heterosexual couples enjoy, but not calling it “marriage.”

Also in 2006, the N.J. Supreme Court ruled in Lewis vs. Harris that gay couples should receive “all the rights and benefits that married heterosexual couples enjoy.”

In 2011, Garden State Equality and several gay couples sued because they felt the civil union law did not provide equal rights for same-sex couples.

In vetoing a same-sex marriage bill in 2012, Governor Chris Christie said he was “adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples.”

Governor Christie’s Position

After the Windsor ruling, Republican Christie, up for reelection, bashed the Supreme Court and said he would still veto the same-sex marriage bill. New Jersey Democrats said they will hold vote to override Christie’s Veto.

Led by Senate President Stephen Sweeney, New Jersey Democrats held a press conference on July 2, 2013 to sway Christie.  Sweeney urged Republicans to allow a “conscience vote” on the issue given the Supreme Court’s strikedown of DOMA.

Christie supports a referendum in November with voters deciding whether to amend the state’s constitution to allow same-sex marriage.  Says Christie, “ I don’t know why the advocates for same-sex marriage and, more importantly, why the Democratic legislators are so afraid to let the people decide.  If what they are saying is true, this’ll be a layup for them.”




Illogical Arguments against Same Sex Marriage-Opinion


This morning I stumbled on Bishop Harry Jackson’s July 3, 2013 guest blog on the Christian Post website Wounds of This Generation Can Harm Children.  Bishop Jackson is a senior pastor at Hope Christian Church in Washington, DC.  He is also the presiding Bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches, a network of more than 1000 churches around the world.

As an LGBTQ advocate and psychologist with expertise in research, lifespan development and human sexuality, my feathers still get ruffled when I read this type of faulty argument in support of denying the rights of same sex couples to marry and raise children.

In his blog Bishop Jackson mentioned the consequences of “father abandonment.” He stated  “Children who grow up without their fathers are more likely to be poor, use drugs, commit crimes, drop out of school and commit suicide. The marriage debate has become so focused on the desires and demands of various groups of adults that we have forgotten the legitimate needs and terrible suffering of children.” Then he attempts to support his position by referencing the lyrics of a rapper and another musician who both grew up without fathers.

Decades of psychological and sociological research support an increased risk of drug use, criminal behavior, low education achievement, and depression for children who have been abandoned by their fathers. But let’s focus on the concept of parental abandonment. It refers to someone who by expected by assumed biological parentage and law to be involved in the life of a child. Research has looked at the impact on a child of having had a father active in their lives that later withdrew their emotional, physical, and/or financial support.

So how does this research about the impact of children being abandoned by a father have any connection to whether we allow gays, lesbians, and bisexuals to get married and raise children? It doesn’t.  Allowing same sex couples to get married provides an opportunity for any children they adopt or conceive via artificial fertility technology to have two parents would like love and nurture them.

When same sex couples, married or not adopt a child, they are adopting a child that has already been abandoned by both of his or her biological parents. Adopting such a child and providing them with emotional, physical, and financial support lessens the risk of all of possible outcomes of parental abandonment.

When same sex couples have a child using donor sperm, donor ovum, or both; the child is born into a two parent family.  Research has not examined the impact of not knowing who your sperm or ovum donor was and whether it has any type of impact on the child. When a father or mother abandons a child, the child feels there must have been something bad about them that made the parent leave.  How can a child feel shame and worthlessness about a sperm donor not knowing that he or she even exists?

Bishop Jackson goes on to say that the debate about same sex marriage will affect future generations of adults in terms of their thinking about marriage and parenthood. He supports this position by mentioning “two decades of social experimentation in Scandinavia-since legalizing registered partnerships and gay marriage in Scandinavia, an overwhelming number of adults have simply stopped bothering to get married in the first place.” [Note: Registered partnerships in Scandinavia: Denmark 1989; Iceland 1996; Norway 1993; and Sweden 1994.  Same sex marriage in Scandinavia: Denmark 2012; Iceland 2010; Norway 2009; and Sweden 2009.

Bishop Jackson ends his blog with “The looser we make the definition of marriage, the fewer people will feel bound to its obligations and constraints. And while broken relationships can hurt adults, they can destroy children.”

Since the 1970’s the divorce rate of opposite sex couples in the United States has continued to climb. More than half of first marriages end in divorce. The rate of divorce of second and third marriages is even higher.  The research on divorce supports the part of Bishop Jackson’s conclusion about broken relationships hurting adults and destroying children.

Now let’s get back to the topic of same sex marriage. Vermont was the first state in this country to grant same sex partnerships in 2000. Massachusetts in 2003 was the first state in this country to legalize same sex marriage. Connecticut in 2008 was the second U.S. state. So the divorce rate for opposite sex couples was already high thirty years before same sex couples were ever recognized in this country.

We really do have a lot of work to do.

Miami Heat Tim Hardaway First to Sign Equal Marriage Petition


Tim Hardaway the former NBA Miami Heat basketball star was the first to sign the Equal Marriage Florida petition on Wednesday, July 3, 2013.  He was embroiled in controversy in 2007 after an anti-gay rant on a Miami radio show. In an attempt at redemption he attended classes at the YES institute in Miami. The mission of the YES institute is “to prevent suicide and ensure the healthy development of all youth through powerful communication and education on gender and orientation.”  Hardaway also participated in a fundraising event for the Trevor Project in 2009.

Representatives for the group Equal Marriage Florida filed the required paperwork to begin the initiative to amend Article 1, Section 27 of the state’s constitution on June 21, 2013 in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA on June 26, 2013.

The definition of marriage in the Florida constitution was amended in 2008 after more than 60% of Florida residents voted for the Marriage Protection Act which states “Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.”

The Equal Marriage Florida initiative proposes that Article 1, Section 27of the Florida constitution be amended to read “Only a legal union of two persons shall be valid or recognized as marriage in this state.” The Equal Marriage Florida initiative also includes a religious freedom clause such that no religious organizations or representative would be required to officiate at a same sex marriage.  The petition is available on the Equal Florida Marriage Website.

The initiative requires one million signatures by February 1, 2014 in order to appear on the November 2014 ballot. If the group is unable to obtain the required number of signatures by this date they will be able to continue gathering signatures until early 2016. Some supporters believe that it would be advantageous to continue to collect signatures and wait until the 2016 election. In the year of a presidential election, more voters-particularly young voters who would vote for such an initiative would be expected to show up to vote.

In a related story it is being reported by many news media including the Miami Herald that Equality Florida sent an email to supporters with a press release seeking same-sex couples as plaintiffs for a lawsuit against the state.  In the press release, couples who may be interested are referred to the group’s Get Engaged website.  However no information about the press release is available on this website.

Boycott Ender’s Game according to GeeksOut

If you’re a fan of science fiction, then you probably know who Orson Scott Card is, and you also probably know that his book, Ender’s Game, is being released as a major motion picture this fall. If you support gay marriage, though, you might not be going to see it.

GeeksOUT, an organization that started to gain an lgbt booth at the 2011 New York Comic-Con and since expanded: “GeeksOUT rallies, empowers, and promotes the queer geek community,” has created an online protest for the movie. The “Skip Ender’s Game” campaign was created to raise awareness about Card’s anti-lgbt and sometimes homophobic views.

The campaign wants people to avoid the November 1, 2013 release altogether: “Do NOT see this movie! Do not buy a ticket at the theater, do not purchase the DVD, do not watch it on-demand. Ignore all merchandise and toys.” The group affirms that the movie itself has nothing to do with sexuality and doesn’t carry any anti-lgbt content; the campaign is aimed at boycotting Card and his anti-lgbt stances.

One of the facts that the group is trying to spread is Card’s association with the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). If you hadn’t heard, NOM was formed to help Proposition 8 pass in California, raised over $1.8 million for the cause, and was considered essential for getting Prop 8 passed. In 2009 he joined the board for NOM and supports their efforts nationwide.

Other than critics pointing out that his writing has homophobic undertones, he has written some anti-lgbt articles at the same time bemoaning that he is called a “homophobe.” His most controversial piece about gay marriage comes from the Mormon Deseret News in 2008, where he stated: “No matter how sexually attracted a man might be toward other men, or a woman toward other women, and no matter how close the bonds of affection and friendship might be within same-sex couples, there is no act of court or Congress that can make these relationships the same as the coupling between a man and a woman. This is a permanent fact of nature.”

His most recent public writing, in a May 2012 article  about North Carolina’s constitutional amendment to define marriage between a man and a woman, Card wrote, most likely ignorant of many existing laws, “There are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples. They can visit each other in the hospital. They can benefit from each other’s insurance… [Gay marriage] is about giving the left the power to force anti-religious values on our children.”

Just earlier this year Card’s stances created news. DC Comics came under attack for moving forward on a Superman comic written by Card, and a Superman illustrator Chris Sprouse dropped the job because of Card’s anti-lbgt stances.

Card’s 1985 book Ender’s Game has been consistently rated as one of the best science fiction novels, has been translated into over 30 languages, and won the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, and the Margaret A Edwards Award. To promote the Skip Ender’s Game campaign, GeeksOUT will be hosting events in Chicago, Dallas, New York, Orlando, Seattle, and Toronto, and encourages individuals to create their own events.

Torchwood Star Barrowman Marries

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 10.13.08 AM

Top showman, entertainer and actor John Barrowman married his long term partner Scott Gill last week, after a 20-year committed relationship.

The couple had already entered into a civil partnership back in 2006, however following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) recently, Barrowman and his partner Scott Gill were delighted to legally marry in the state of California.

Barrowman himself announced the news via a video clip before posting a photo after their special ceremony. During the short video John can be seen addressing the camera, saying: “It’s five after one and we’ve got our coffee and we’re in the car getting ready to leave, because where are we going, Scott?” The Torchwood star then turned the camera on his partner Gill, who replies: “To get married. Yay!”

He closes the video with a reference to the overturning of DOMA last week, adding: “We’re getting married in the state of California. Thank you Supreme Court, about time you made it legal. See you after we have the ceremony!”

The happy newlyweds later posted a photograph of themselves with their marriage certificate, writing: “We are now legally married. Thanks for all your great wishes. JB and Scott.”

The couple have always been open about their desire to get married telling many in the media they would just as soon as it became legal to do so in the US. They have also indicated in interviews that would like to have children too, when the time was right – “We haven’t ruled out having children ourselves but it depends where my career takes us.” John claimed in an interview in the UK’s Sun newspaper last year.

“We wouldn’t want a baby. We’d look at adopting an older child or teenager who might have been in trouble. We would also look at adopting a gay child, thrown out of their home because of their sexuality.”

We send our love and warmest wishes to John and Scott on their happy news and hope they have a long and happy married life together.

Gay Marriage Green Cards and Impact on Immigration Reform


A fairly straightforward process available to most Americans—obtaining a green card for your foreign-born spouse—has caused many headaches and heartaches for same-sex couples. For these over 40,000 recorded eligible couples, they have been forced to live away from their spouses without recognition of their lives as a couple, with infrequent visits and harsh penalties for too much time together, and/or have had to live in exile in countries that allowed same-sex couples easy residency.

That all is changed after the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Same-sex marriages, regardless of the country of marriage as long as they are legal, are now recognized as completely equal in the eyes of the Federal Government. For LGBT American citizens married to or in a relationship with someone from another country this means that the elusive, unattainable green card is now a possible reality, and will bring many couples together after years of hassle.

A story illustrating the impacts of this decision occurred just after the Supreme Court publicly released their decision. American Sean Brooks and Columbian Steven Infante, a gay couple living in New York City, were going to an immigration hearing that most likely would have had Infante deported because of the overstaying of his via. Immediately, the immigration judge opened the way for Infante to get a green card and remain in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident, and this pathway is available to those who wish to seek it.

If you are in this situation and are looking how to obtain a green card for yourself or your spouse, Immigration Equality, a national organization that has been fighting for equality for LGBT and HIV-positive individuals since 1994, has released information about how the law is applicable and the steps to take to apply.

Gay marriage checked off the list, the country’s focus now turns toward immigration reform. A landmark immigration bill, one that would revamp the current immigration system and allow millions of undocumented persons the chance to gain citizenship, has been held up in the Senate because of a debate about the inclusion of gay and lesbian spouses. Interestingly enough, with the DOMA ruling, the same-sex spousal amendment was allowed to be removed from the bill and it passed the Senate on a vote of 68-32 after being held up with debates around the issue. Although the rewriting of immigration law is complicated and is surrounded in enough controversy as it is, the court’s decision allowed the bill to push forward, giving hope to many.

Will Phillips Ends His Silence: The Pledge from A Historic Young LGBT Activist

After more than three-and-a-half years, Will Phillips finally got to say the Pledge of Allegiance in a nation with greater equality.

Will’s journey as a young gay rights activist started when he was 10. In his 5th grade class in the West Fork School District in Arkansas, Will decided that he couldn’t in good conscience stand for the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, which got him in trouble with the entire school. On the original CNN interview he did with his father in November 2009, the reason that he decided to stay seated was because, in his words, “I’ve always tried to analyze things because I want to be a lawyer… I really don’t feel that there’s currently liberty and justice for all.”

He took the stand, or more aptly kept his seat, because he thought if gays and lesbians couldn’t get married, then he didn’t want to repeat a dishonest pledge. His parents are straight and married, but the family was working to be an ally to the lgbt community, had attended pride parades, and were dismayed by what was going on in the country on the subject of equal rights. He was constantly bullied by peers after this declaration, but has since never backed down because of them. When responding to comments about being un-American, he said that being an American means, “Freedom of speech. The freedom to disagree. That’s what I think pretty much being an American represents.”

Since his protest, he’s been recognized internationally. The National Center for Lesbian Rights awarded him with the “Fierce Ally Award,” the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) awarded him a Media Award for “Outstanding TV Segment,” and he has spoken at several Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) events encouraging people to stand up for protecting equal human rights and for denouncing hate groups’ efforts against gay marriage legislation.

To honor him, Will got to be the Grand Marshall in both the 2010 Fayetteville, and then the 2011 San Antonio, Arkansas Gay Pride Parades. Social conservatives saw this as “brain-washing” and using a child as a spokesperson for immoral subjects, while Will’s parents constantly denied this point, saying it was his idea and his design.

On Saturday June 29 this year, after the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8, Will got to recite the Pledge of Allegiance publicly after the Northwest Arkansas Pride Parade.

During his speech before the pledge, he stated that there is still more work that needs to be done throughout the country. He mentioned bullying in schools, job discrimination, marriage discrimination in the remaining 37 states lacking or banning marriage equality, women’s rights, reproductive rights, immigration reform, and exercising everyone’s important obligation to vote.

Even with everything that needs to happen, Will reminded the crowd to enjoy the historic time. “Spread rainbows around the world and make it a more beautiful place. Today is a day to celebrate. We’ve earned this. The court decision on DOMA and Prop 8 is a huge step in the right direction and opens the door to so much more change.”

You can see his speech and recital of the Pledge of Allegiance here

If you want to relive the words or see from where he’s come, you can watch the original 2009 CNN interview below:

Proposition 8 Emergency Petition to Halt Same Sex Marriage Denied


On Sunday, June 30, 2013 Supreme Court Justice Kennedy denied the emergency petition of Proposition 8 opponents without comment or any attempt to get views of Proposition8 opponents.

The proponents of Proposition 8 filed the petition to halt same sex marriage in California on June 29, 2013. As soon as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the ban on same sex marriage on June 28, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown issued a directive to the counties in California to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

The Proposition 8 emergency petition was filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lacked the authority to lift the same sex marriage ban stay before the twenty five day waiting period that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to honor before “rendering it’s final disposition,” by sending a certified copy of the judgment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The petitioners also stated that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to lift the ban before the end of the twenty five days (Monday, July 22) essentially deprived concerned parties of their right of a reasonable amount of time to prepare a petition for rehearing, if so desired. However legal experts agree that petitions for rehearing are rarely granted.

In February 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower U.S. District Court’s ruling that Proposition was unconstitutional. But it stopped short of lifting the same sex marriage ban until the Supreme Court ruled or refused to rule on the appeal filed by the Proposition 8 proponents. The latest emergency petition also included in its argument this Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to not lift the ban prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the case.

So it appears that Proposition 8 is finally dead in the water. The minimal amount of news coverage generated by the filing of this latest emergency petition and the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of it, suggests that most people had already considered Proposition 8 long out to sea.

So where will all of the proponents of Proposition 8 turn their attention now?  Perhaps they will fight to deny same sex couples the right to divorce in the states in which they are now legally allowed to marry. Wait. That doesn’t make sense. Maybe they will join forces and work to expedite the legal processes necessary to allow divorce for same sex couples. Wait another minute. That doesn’t make sense either. Now, what was the original Proposition 8 argument?

What are your thoughts?

The Little Engine Who Could: Edie Windsor


The Woman Who Sued the United States and Won!

“I think I can, I think I can” must have been Windsor’s motto as she led an uphill battle that lasted five years, and culminated in a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal law DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) that regarded marriage as a union only between a man and a woman.  But in terms of her strength,  Edie Windsor’s  impact on gay rights in the U.S. was  (like Superman) “as strong as a locomotive.”

Auspicious Beginnings

Edith Schlain was born eighty-four years ago in Philadelphia.  She briefly married a man, divorced , and moved to New York City “to be gay.” A math and computer whiz, Edie worked at I.B.M.., one of the few women at the heart of the revolution in programming.  She was closeted at that time, but did ask a friend “if you know where the lesbians go, please take me.”

The First Meeting

On Friday evenings, Portofino in the West Village was a hangout for gay women.  It was here that she met Thea Spyer, a wealthy Jewish emigre from Holland, who was a psychologist and violinist in 1963.  Four years later, they began what turned out to be “ a very long engagement”( the title of a documentary about Edie and Thea).

Sickness Enters Equation

In 1977, Spyer was found to have multiple sclerosis.  Edie quit her job to care for Spyer.  At that time, Edie became a gay activist, financial donor, and was drafted to design and manage computer systems for gay groups.

Because of the severity of Spyer’s illness, Edith and Thea went to Toronto to wed in May 2007 ( New York did not have legalized gay married until 2011).  Thea died on February 5, 2009. They were a couple for forty-four years!

Edith Taxed Unfairly

Because the federal government did not recognize the couple’s marriage, Edie could not receive federal benefits, according to DOMA. She was saddled with $363,053 in federal estate taxes and more than $600,000 overall because the government did not recognize her as Spyer’s spouse who could inherit the modest cottage in the Hamptons and couple’s Fifth Avenue apartment, tax free.

Windsor sued the federal government Windsor v. United States for failing to recognize her marriage to her partner after Spyer’s death in 2009.  In her lawsuit, Windsor argued that DOMA violates the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution because it requires the government to treat same-sex couples who are legally married as strangers.

Challenging Laws:  Through The Maze of Courts

Windsor’s lawsuit was filed by the law firm of Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP,, the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

In October 2012, in a 2 to -1 ruling, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York ruled in her favor: that DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates against married same-sex couples.

On December 7, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that the justices would be hearing Windsor’s challenge to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act as well as a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 marriage amendment. 

During this past March, the U.S. Supreme Court heard gay marriage arguments. On Wednesday, June 26, they finally came to a conclusion.

Supreme Court Delivers Victory to Windsor

In a 5-to-4 ruling, U.S. Supreme Court justices, with Anthony Kennedy as the “swing vote,” said that DOMA is unconstitutional because it is deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.  Same-sex couples who are legally married must now be treated the same as married opposite-sex couples and be entitled to benefits including income taxes, social security benefits and over a thousand other federal laws and programs – same as heterosexual couples. (See Gay Agenda’s Post “Supreme Court Delivers Gay Marriage Victory,” Gay Agenda, 26/6/13.)

Edie never lost sight of what was fair not only for herself, but for other gay couples who have been denied their benefits in states where same-sex marriage is legal.  Because of this hero’s tenacity, a bill known as the Respect for Marriage Act is working its way through Congress to supplant DOMA.