USA: Prop 8/Defense of Marriage Act Update 3/5/13

Written by scott on March 5th, 2013

Defense of Marriage ActThe Prop 8/DOMA case news continues to roll in. We’ll start today with the news about a brief filed in the DOMA case by the American Bar Association. reports:

In a brief filed last week to the high court in support of United States v. Windsor, the ABA argues that DOMA’s definition of marriage as a heterosexual union is inconsistent with the guarantee of equal protection under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Section 3 of the statute prevents federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples. Section 3 “not only withholds a wide array of federal rights and protections from married gay and lesbian couples, but it usually leaves them and their lawyers with few or no sound legal options for approximating those rights,” the ABA’s brief states. “The difficulties presented by Section 3 arise in a range of settings, from procuring affordable health care to achieving financial security and, for binational couples, to navigating the immigration system.”

Prop 8Over at Religion Dispatches, they discuss the “red-state” brief prepared in, of all places, Utah:

“The Utah Pride Center has partnered with the Campaign for Southern Equality and 28 equality groups in 23 states to shape the national discussion on these issues. The Utah Pride Center wanted to tell the story of what it’s like to be gay in Utah and live under a system we describe as “de jure denigration,” but we also wanted to take it a step further so that it could speak for other states and regions with similar laws. We want the court to view it in relationship to the segregation that occurred in the South. From a legal perspective, there are similar themes.”

At AmericaBlog, John Aravosis thinks the GOP House brief for DOMA actually makes a pretty good case for repeal:

First off, the religious right isn’t going to be thrilled about that anti-marriage argument. Second, what happens when unmarried couples split – who takes care of the child then? If they’re not married, there’s no alimony (though perhaps there’s palimony, depending on the state). And if anything, straight couples have less of a need for marriage than gay couples because both of the straight people are the biological parents of the child, so they can still go to court and argue that the other parent should help pay for the upbringing… So not only is Paul Clement’s argument antiquated, but it also is a good argument in favor of the government having a legitimate interest in promoting same-sex marriages. Don’t bigots write the darndest things.

At The Nation, Nan Hunter questions whether the Supreme Court will be left in the dust on marriage equality:

In fact, judging from the press coverage of the briefs, if the justices don’t rule in favor of gay marriage, it is the Court that will look bad. This perception is an incredible achievement, a brilliant exercise in political framing by the lawyers and legal organizations behind the two cases, who mobilized the amicus show of force. The business brief and the Republican brief, especially, are clearly designed to provide political cover for the Court’s five conservative Justices.

At the Power Line Blog, conservative Paul Mirengoff is appalled that the court has the power to decide this issue (where were you in Bush v. Gore???):

Isn’t it odd that as few as five judges could determine that the traditional definition of this fundamental institution is irrational (or not useful), and make this judgment stick? All conservatives, in the traditional sense of that world view, should be appalled.

Appalled, I tell you!

Tablet Magazine looks at all the Jewish organizations filing briefs for marriage equality:

Among the many groups filing in favor of overturning the federal ban on gay marriage are the central bodies of every major Jewish denomination except Orthodoxy-the Union for Reform Judaism; the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly, and the the Jewish Theological Seminary; the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and College-and a lone Orthodox rabbi, Akiva Herzfeld of Shaarey Tphiloh in Portland, Maine. They join civil rights groups and a list of 278 prominent American corporations, from Citigroup to Apple, asking the court to recognize same-sex marriage.

Think Progress reports on major medical organizations supporting marriage equality:

The American Sociological Association filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to disregard arguments against same-sex parenting in the Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage Act cases, but a coalition of other medical organizations also filed a brief explaining the consequences of denying gays, lesbians, and bisexuals the freedom to marry. The signers of this brief include the America Psychological Association, the American Medial Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Association of Social Workers, among other mental health professional organizations.

The Supreme Court itself just granted more time for arguments on DOMA, The Washington Blade reports:

In its order list, the court granted a total of 110 minutes in arguments before the court — set for March 27 — with 50 minutes devoted to jurisdictional issues and 60 minutes devoted to the merits. That’s significantly longer than the standard 60 minutes for oral arguments before the court. Time is further broken down as follows: “On the jurisdiction issues, the Court-appointed amicus curiae is allotted 20 minutes, the Solicitor General is allotted 15 minutes, and respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives is allotted 15 minutes,” the orders state. “On the merits, respondent Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives is allotted 30 minutes, the Solicitor General is allotted 15 minutes, and respondent Edith Windsor is allotted 15 minutes.”

It’s amazing, really – less than two hours to argue the fate of thousands of same sex couples.


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