USA: More Supreme Speculation and Analysis on Marriage Equality Rulings

Written by scott on June 22nd, 2013

US Supreme CourtOnce again, as the next ruling day approaches on Monday, we bring you more analysis and speculation about the Defense of Marriage Act and the Prop 8 rulings.

We’ll start with Lisa Keen at Queerty, who may just finish her profiles of all the justices in time for the ruling. Today, she looks at Justice Samuel Alito:

“Alito puts his very conservative political agenda above a commitment to the core principles in the Constitution and the rights of all Americans,” declared Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal. “Alito’s record on the bench reveals a judge who has deployed his fine legal craftsmanship to service his conservative political agenda rather than equality and justice.” Actually, his record wasn’t all bad. As a senior at Princeton in 1971, Alito supervised a task force that recommended the decriminalization of sodomy and said discrimination against gays in hiring “should be forbidden.” As a federal appeals court judge in 2004, he penned a decision in Shore Regional High School v. P.S. that supported the efforts of the parents of a boy who was tormented by antigay epithets to have the student transferred to another school.

Keane puts Alito’s odds at supporting marriage equality in both cases at about one in six.

Over at Equality on Trial Jacob Combs looks at why conservative reaction has been so muted to both the pending Supreme Court rulings and to the recent announcement of support by Sen. Lisa Murkowski:

Timothy Kincaid has some particularly nuanced thoughts on the issue in a piece posted yesterday at Box Turtle Bulletin that is well worth reading in full. In essence, Kincaid’s argument is that the burden of proof has shifted from marriage equality opponents to marriage equality supporters in such a way that the framing of the entire issue has changed: [I]t seems to me that we have entered a phase in which one can be “not ready” or “not convinced” or “not yet evolved” on the issue of marriage equality. That’s simply opinion. But to be actively opposed suggests a character flaw, something with a whiff of nastiness and maybe even vile. The public – right and left – seem to have decided that you can support gay marriage or you can not support gay marriage, but you can’t oppose gay marriage any longer.

Over at Forbes, they’re looking at how federal recognition of marriage equality would affect the tax rates for gay and lesbian couples:

One spouse earns $100,000 dollars and the other spouse is a full-time parent. The federal income tax for them individually is $21,461 dollars and zero for the stay-at-home parent. If they were married filing joint, then their federal income tax would be $17,060 dollars as shown above. This is a $4,401 dollar difference. As the earnings grow, so does the inequality.

It would also affect the estate tax:

You’re allowed to transfer an unlimited amount of your personal wealth to a legal spouse without worrying about estate taxes. This is huge because estate tax’s marginal rate is up to 40%. Note, that this will only affect the most affluent of Americans. In 2013, the first 5.25 million is tax-free.

At the Dallas Voice, David Taffet looks back at the Lawrence V Texas case that made a lot of the current progress possible:

June 26 marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that struck down all remaining sodomy laws in the U.S. And experts say the court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas set the stage for challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 that will be decided next week, possibly on the same date as Lawrence. “We wouldn’t be at this stage if that case hadn’t occurred,” Katine said of Lawrence. In his decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that Lawrence and Gardner were entitled to respect for their private lives. “The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime,” he wrote. “The Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government.”

Over at the U.S. News & World Report, Matthew Johnson Harris tells his personal story in relation to marriage equality and to Loving V. Virginia:

Our relationship has also been a struggle for our families. My mom had difficulty accepting me as gay, but her own traumatic experiences with white people while growing up in the South made accepting my white partner even more challenging for her. Mark also grew up in a family that forbade interracial relationships, because it was not “right.” However, to Mark and his cousins, how a person loves is more important than how they look. Thankfully, with time, Mark’s family came to accept his homosexuality and our relationship, and I now feel like one of the family. My mom has also made great strides in accepting Mark into ours.

And finally, Michael K. Lavers reports on a mass gay wedding in front of the US Supreme Court yesterday:

25 couples traveled from Columbus, Ohio, to the nation’s capital as part of the “C-Bus of Love” ride the online group MarriageEvolved organized to highlight the lack of marriage rights for gays and lesbians in 38 states. Those who traveled to D.C. to get married were also able to walk down the steps of the Supreme Court after they tied the knot.

Two more days until the next possible ruling date. Not sure if I’ll get much sleep this weekend…


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