USA: Prop 8/Defense of Marriage Act Rulings – Speculation and Analysis

Written by scott on June 17th, 2013

As we await the upcoming Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality, speculation is running rampant.

Dot429 chimes in with five things to be aware of before the DOMA ruling, including:

1. Tax returns: Because federal law under DOMA doesn’t currently recognize same-sex marriage, couples in states that do recognize their partnership must file two tax returns, as it stands. “The tax return situation forces same-sex partners to file multiple returns; a state one, a mock federal one and an actual federal one,” Koh told 429Magazine. Should the Supreme Court broaden the definition of marriage and rule that same-sex marriages fall within the scope of federal law, it’s expected that gay couples will no longer face this problem.

Defense of Marriage ActSee all five at the link above.

Truthout points out that we still have a long way to go once the marriage equality fight is won:

The continual framing of marriage equality as the “last civil rights struggle” ignores the glaring reality that homophobia and transphobia are still rampant in the United States and instead, implies that marriage is the end-all-be-all for the LGBT community. What about trans people? What about genderqueer/non-binary people who don’t fit the whitewashed, marital norm that marriage-equality groups like the Human Rights Campaign continually highlight as the emblem of gay life? And what about the various LGBT rights issues that are being avoided in the quest for marriage equality? According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 20% of homeless youth are LGBT, a staggering reality when you consider that only 10% of the entire general youth population in the United States identifies as LGBT. What’s more, LGBT youth are approximately 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than heterosexual homeless youth.

David Wahlberg at the Wisconsin State Journal looks at the Court’s options:

The U.S. Supreme Court has at least four options in each of the two same-sex marriage cases it is expected to rule on late this month, according to experts, including Andrew Coan, a UW-Madison assistant professor of law. In a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which limits federal marriage laws and benefits to “a legal union of one man and one woman,” the court could dismiss the case or uphold DOMA, neither of which is considered likely.

And Lisa Keen looks back at the top five LGBT cases the Court has decided before now, including:

1-Lawrence v. Texas (2003): Ruling: A Texas law making it a crime for two adults of the same sex to have consensual sexual relations in private violates the Due Process Clause. Impact: The ruling not only struck down the Texas law but those in eight other states. It also put a stop to the use of various other entities -employers, the military, family courts, and others–from using the existence of the laws to justify various other forms of discrimination against LGBT people. Many believe it is the decision that most paved the way for the success of much later litigation, including on marriage, to assert equal protection rights for LGBT people.

Now we await the next ruling date. Odds on when the decisions will come down?

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