USA: Some Thoughts on the Upcoming Prop 8/DOMA Rulings

Written by scott on June 8th, 2013

As the US Supreme Court gets ready to rule on marriage equality, likely later this month, articles about the pending rulings and what they will mean are starting to pop up again.

Lambda Legal chimes in with a new infographic on how the rulings might go down. Joe.My.God reports:

On Monday the Supreme Court will issue its next round of rulings. There’s no hint as to whether the marriage cases might be unveiled in that round.

Prop 8 Infographic

First off, from Dot429 – five things gay and lesbian couples should be aware of ahead of the rulings, 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.

Over at Edge Boston, GLAD has a great post on the hearing and the likely outcomes:

In terms of case outcomes, the most favorable outcome is obviously a ruling striking down DOMA Section 3 in toto on equal protection grounds. Such a precedent would be a condemnation of sexual orientation-based double standards from our nation’s highest court. “It could also be a split decision where it’s four justices ruling against it on equal protection grounds and one justice striking it down on federalism grounds, but five of them agree on the invalidity of DOMA,” Bonauto theorized. “It could also be five – or more – for equal protection. We have to wait and see.”

Zachary Roth at The Maddow Blog warns that a narrow Prop 8 ruling would still leave many gay and lesbian couples without rights:

…if you’re part of a gay couple in, say, Austin, or Salt Lake City, or Atlanta, that kind of historical certainty probably doesn’t come as easy. Who knows when, if ever, the reddest states will get on board? And most gay couples can’t afford to spend decades missing out on benefits while they wait around. “We can’t stay here if we’re not allowed to have all the rights of married folks,” one lesbian woman told MSNBC’s Drew Katchen recently.

The Washington Blade wonders if we are nearing the end of a movement:

Maryland state Del. Heather Mizeur: I do not ever envision an “end of the movement” because as soon as we are done securing our own equality, we move on together as a community to address and tackle inequality every place it exists – poverty, racial bias and gender discrimination, to name a few. We will continue to work collaboratively, putting our community’s best talents forward, to affect positive social change for everyone.

Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez: Though we have made many gains, we are still severely unequal under United States law. We only have 15 percent of the rights of our straight counterparts. In my home state of Florida, I can be denied work, credit, housing, a marriage license and all manner of other rights essential to living the American dream. These issues become even more magnified when taking into account the multiple oppressions of race, immigration status, gender, etc. We have much ground to cover and waiting around is not an option.

And The Washington Post says the political fight may be over, but the cultural one is still being fought:

The second point — how gay marriage and homosexuality fit into the broader cultural fabric — is a fascinating window into how the debate over legal/illegal differs from the conversation about right/wrong. Forty-five percent of those tested said it was a “sin” to engage in homosexual behavior, the same numbers that said it was not a sin. A majority (56 percent) said that same-sex marriage would “go against my religious beliefs” while 41 percent said it would not. In both cases, the number of people calling homosexuality a sin or saying that it would go against their religious beliefs has dropped since the same question was asked in 2003. But it has dropped less quickly than some other measures of opposition to homosexuality and gay marriage.

Supreme Court decisions are usually released on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 AM, so it could be 6/11 or 6/12, 6/18 or 6/19, or 6/25 or 6/26. Some say it could even stretch into early July.

 

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