Defense of Marriage Act

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS COLUMN: MARRYING YOUR GAY FIRST COUSIN?

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

April 7, 2013 (San Diego)--On March 26 and 27, the U.S. Supreme Court heard two major cases over whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

On March 26 they heard arguments on whether Proposition 8, which California voters passed in November 2008 to short-circuit the ruling of the California Supreme Court that the state’s constitution did not allow it to deny marriage to same-sex couples, is unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The next day they heard the case of Edith Windsor, who legally married her long-term partner, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007, then got socked with a federal estate tax bill of $367,000 because the federal government didn’t recognize her marriage under the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DoMA) passed by Congress in 1996.

The two cases rest on somewhat different legal issues, and it’s quite possible the court could throw out Proposition 8 and uphold DoMA — or vice versa — but the underlying issues are the same.

U.S. SUPREME COURT TO HEAR 2 SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CASES, INCLUDING PROP 8 APPEAL FILED BY EX-SAN DIEGO SENATOR HOLLINGSWORTH

San Diego’s County Clerk “ready to respond immediately”; marriages could resume soon if court finds Prop 8 challengers lack legal standing to appeal

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2012 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Supreme Court today announced that it will review  two cases involving same-sex marriage, including an appeal by petitioners seeking to overturn Proposition 8 including former San Diego State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth. 

California voters initially voted to legalize same-sex marriage, but later passed Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriages. California’s Attorney General refused to appeal Prop 8 to the Supreme Court after the 9th circuit court of appeal found it unconstitutional. Thus other petitioners appealed including Hollingsworth, leader of the group Protect Marriage, asking the high court to strike down the 9th court ruling.

U.S. COURT OF APPEALS RULES DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

May 31, 2012 (Boston) – Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.  

Passed by Congress in 1996, DOMA declared that a marriage is between a man and a woman, nullifying marriages of gay and lesbian couples for purposes of federal law.  

Judge Michael Boudin, who was appointed by President George H.W. Bush, authored the unanimous decision. He was joined by Judge Sandra Lynch,an appointee of President Bill Clinton, and Chief Judge Juan Torruella, a Ronald Reagan appointee.