Archive For The “DOMA” Category
The legal landscape for LGBT people today is quickly changing and hard to predict, but the trend over the last few years has been overwhelmingly positive—from the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 being ruled unconstitutional, to the growing legion of states that have come to recognize same-sex marriage either by legislation or litigation. However, the work is far from done and marriage equality is only one front of the war—and potentially not even the most important.
What is truly at the center of the LGBT human-rights movement is the effort to advance state and federal legislation protecting people from workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The effort has crystallized around the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which has been introduced in every session of Congress since 1994 except one. If, after 20 years of congressional limbo, it’s signed into law, ENDA would bar employers from firing or not hiring someone because of their “actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Kim Stephan and Kate Peck spent a recent evening in the living room of their cozy home in Philadelphia reminiscing about the night they got engaged. Peck was a smooth operator: She invited Stephan to what she claimed was an exclusive Moby concert at a local concert hall, but there was no concert. Stephan was confused, at first, when she walked into the dark empty room. But then a spotlight clicked on, illuminating Peck, standing on stage dressed in a suit, a bucket of ice chilling a bottle of champagne at her feet. Peck didn’t even have to ask the question. Stephan said yes.
Remember the good old days of marriage when all you had to worry about choosing was a centerpiece and whether or not to invite that annoying second cousin on your mother’s side of the family? These days, as the battle for national recognition of same-sex marriage rages on, choosing what state you get married in is more important than ever—and not just the venue.
What very few heterosexual people know and, shockingly, very few gay people realize, is that while 18 states will now grant and recognize same-sex marriages, they almost all have residency requirements, often for up to a year, in order to file for a divorce—essentially leaving a couple “wedlocked.” Your state of celebration and state of residence might not see eye to eye on the issue of same-sex marriage and, while the federal government will now recognize your nuptials after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional because it violated Fifth Amendment rights in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), you could find yourself wedlocked if you do not choose wisely.
Will 2014 be the year when opponents of progress will finally stand alone on the wrong side of history? The forecast looks cloudy, at best. But as I look back at 2013—the battles we’ve won and the battles we’ve lost—I see tremendous potential for advances in LGBT equality in the New Year.
It is always difficult to quantify progress in struggles for increased basic human rights. Looking at 2013 cumulatively, though, there is no doubt that the United States is picking up momentum and moving toward LGBT equality faster than ever.
Beth Asaro and Joanne Schailey made history this morning, October 21, 2013, becoming the first same sex couple in the state of New Jersey to be legally married. Asaro and Schailey were married shortly after midnight on a day that Garden State Equality executive director, Troy Stevenson called “the day that New Jerseyans have been […]
June 26 will be a day we all celebrate for years to come. On the anniversary of the Lawrence v. Texas case, which struck down state anti-sodomy laws as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled to strike down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 was vacated, giving same-sex California couples the right to marry (again!).
Angela Giampolo will always remember where she was on June 26, 2013.
That’s when she, and the rest of the country, first heard that the Defense of Marriage Act was repealed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
All eyes are on the Supreme Court again this week as it nears time to rule on Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8. And the Supreme Court Justices are certainly taking their time; the cases prompting these decisions were already examined in early April, but they deferred […]
The Supreme Court of the United States held hearings March 26 and 27 on the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 and Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The proceedings yielded few surprises and few definitive outcomes. The repeal of Section 3 of DOMA would […]