USA: Prop 8 / Defense of Marriage Act Updates 3/28/13 #2

Written by scott on March 28th, 2013

DOMA Word CloudMore post-hearing analyses coming in and other assorted articles.

MaddowBlog offers a DOMA hearing wordcloud, hi-lightng the most repeated words during the hearing.

The Advocate hilights some of the more absurd moments outside of the two hearings:

The last 72 hours, or so, have been a roller coaster of emotions and media madness. Here are a few of the more amusing images.

Pink News reports that two SF law professors think DOMA is toast:

Santa Clara University professor Margaret Russell and University of San Francisco professor Julie Nice both said they expected the rulings to be narrow, limited or splintered, but that they expected both Prop 8 and a key section of DOMA would be invalidated.

Over at Equality on Trial, Jacob Combs looks at how things might go down:

To put it simply, there are several combinations of actions that the Supreme Court could take on the Prop 8 and DOMA cases. Absent an invalidation of DOMA and a ruling that extended equal marriage rights to same-sex couples in all 50 states, the post-decision legal terrain will probably look different but nearly as complicated as it is right now. There will undoubtedly be more lawsuits filed pertaining to the intersection of state and federal marital benefits if DOMA is struck down, and there could be further legal fights in California depending on the Court’s ruling on Prop 8. And, of course, equal marriage campaigns will continue to take place in state legislatures, at the ballot box, and in the state courts. There is plenty more to come.

Reuters warns that Federal marriage equality will come with a bigger tax burden for some gay and lesbian married couples:

That’s because with equality, gay couples will face the same tax woes of many heterosexual couples with similar incomes, including the tax hit known in America as the marriage penalty. Taxpayers filing as married couples may be forced to pay higher taxes as their collective income crosses into a higher tax bracket sooner than if they were filing separately.

Queerty wonders if the hearing makes it ok to call opponents of marriage equality bigots:

The killer moment came when Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan (you know, the one that’s not a lesbian) nailed Paul Clement, who argued on behalf of House Republicans to uphold the law. Clement was droning on about the wondrous merits of DOMA to make sure we kept our laws all neat and tidy when Kagan issued a harsh reality check. “Well, is what happened in 1996–and I’m going to quote from the House Report here–is that ‘Congress decided … to express moral disapproval of homosexuality,'” Kagan asked. Clement was at a loss for words for a moment, and then came out with this defense: “Look, we are not going to strike down a statute just because a couple of legislators may have had an improper motive.” And there you have it. Opponents of marriage equality have run out of excuses. DOMA was conceived in homophobia, which even by its defender’s admission, is wrong.

LGBTQ Nation reports on the Dems razzing the GOP for their continuing support of DOMA:

“It’s really disappointing and unworthy of a subject that is going before the Supreme Court of our country,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday, referring to Republicans spending that money without input from House Democrats. Pelosi made the comments after emerging from the court hearing on whether to strike down parts of the 1996 law that denies married gay couples the federal benefits available to other couples.

At the American Prospect, EJ Graff talks about the DOMA hearing:

Listening today, I felt as if I were looking at two overlapping but entirely different worlds, one torn from the future and the other from the past. In one sunny, blue-sky universe, everyone agreed that my marriage was so ordinary that there was nothing to discuss–here, have a dandelion! But on the other side, a dark and stormy night, my marriage was a harbinger of social disarray and unimaginable moral peril. I remember that world well.

She warns that it’s not over yet:

I walked out of the court smiling broadly. But let’s be clear: This roller-coaster ride has a long way to go. No matter what the Court issues in its opinion come June, the question of my marriage is not going to be settled for a while. DOMA’s Section 2 will stay in place, telling the states that they needn’t recognize other states’ same-sex marriages. Which is part of why, when my family travels outside of New England, I take copies of the various legal papers that say my wife and I belong to each other. Not my marriage certificate, which would be meaningless in Texas. I take, rather, a packet of things like health-care proxies and wills. If we were to be sick or struck by a car in a foreign country like the Lone Star State, where my brother’s family lives, I have no idea whether the paramedic or medical examiner we’d encounter would be from the past or future universe. So I come prepared.

David Crary at LGBTQ Nation agrees:

In any case, it’s unlikely that some of the most conservative states — those that adopted gay-marriage bans by overwhelming margins — will recognize same-sex marriages unless forced to by the courts. A likely result is a steady stream of state-level lawsuits by gay couples, according to Boston-based lawyer Mary Bonauto, whose work with Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders helped legalize same-sex marriage in several New England states. “There are committed gay couples in every state who want to stand up and make that legal commitment to marriage,” Bonauto said. “They’re not going to go away. … They believe our national promise of equal protection under the law applies to them, too, not just to the East and West coasts and Iowa.”

Over at Slate, David Weigel agrees that we’re nowhere near down:

But that’s the problem with this “just hand it to SCOTUS” theory. Let’s say DOMA and Prop 8 are overturned, but without a decision that finds a constitutional right to gay marriage. In order to legalize or ban gay marriage, you’ll need to fight new campaigns, state to state.

And Ari Ezra Waldman at lists seven takeaways from the hearings. My favorite:

4. A few of the Court’s conservatives were pissed, venting frustration at the President. They vented because there wasn’t anything they could do about it.

The Chief Justice said the President lacked “the courage of his convictions” for continuing to enforce DOMA while believing it unconstitutional. Justices Kennedy and Scalia harped on the unique Administration maneuvers that brough the DOMA case to the Court: the Administration first defending, then declining to defend, then switching sides, winning, and still appealing.

This was among the more ridiculous lines of questioning of Marriage Week. What would the Chief have the President do? Declare a duly enacted law and stop enforcing it, completely ignoring his responsibilities? Had the President done that, I bet we could count on one hand the number of seconds before the Republican House wrote up articles of impeachment. And, as Justice Alito pointed out, since the federal government is still on the hook for Edie Windsor’s $350,000 estate tax bill, it has been injured regardless of the legal position it takes on DOMA. So, what the Administration did was unusual, but it did not deprive the Court of jurisdiction.

Now we wait. God, I hate waiting.


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