U.S. Supreme Court Reviews Prop 8 & DOMA Cases

Rainbow_flag_and_blue_skies

“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- (applause) — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity — (applause) — until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task — to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. (Applause.) ”

1/21/13 President Barack Obama

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Obama administration urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down DOMA

‘Gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country’

February 22, 2013 lgbtqnation Staff Reports

The Obama administration on Friday filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing why it considers the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.

Filed in United States v. Windsor, a case challenging Section 3 of DOMA, the administration said “gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country,” and argued that laws targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation should face additional scrutiny by courts reviewing them.

In the brief, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asked the court to uphold a federal appeals court ruling that found DOMA to be unconstitutional:

Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.

This case deals with Edith Windsor, who was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. The two had lived as a couple for 44 years and married in Canada in 2007. Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize the same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did.

Section 3 of DOMA, which bars legally married same-sex couples from any federal benefits or programs based on marriage, has been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.

The brief also mentions Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and similar measures in other states as evidence of continued discrimination against gays and lesbians.

For more: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/02/obama-administration-urges-u-s-surpeme-court-to-strike-down-doma/

PBO Strive for Complete Equality for LGBT

SCOTUS allows Obama administration to participate in Prop. 8 oral arguments

3/15/13 By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

The Supreme Court on Friday granted permission to the Obama administration to participate in oral arguments in the Proposition 8 case.

After President Obama had said he was cautious about intervening in the case seeking to strike down California’s gay-marriage ban, the administration ultimately filed a friend-of-the-court brief last month urging the court to strike down the ban and asking for 10 minutes to argue its case.

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled March 26.

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March 26 – Supreme Court reviews CA’s Prop 8

9:00 AM ET
United for Marriage
Proponents of marriage equality gather at the Supreme Court as it considers the first of two cases involving the rights individuals to enter into same-sex marriages.

March 27 – Supreme Court reviews “Defense of Marriage Act

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High court strikes down federal marriage provision

6/26/13 By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press – 3 mins 4 secs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.

The court has yet to release its decision on California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

He was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/high-court-strikes-down-federal-marriage-provision-140557846.html

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“My general view is that transgender persons, just like gays and lesbians, are deserving of equal treatment under the law. And that’s a basic principle,” the president said. “My sense is that the Supreme Court is about to make a shift, one that I welcome, which is to recognize that — having hit a critical mass of states that have recognized same-sex marriage — it doesn’t make sense for us to now have this patchwork system and that it’s time to recognize that, under the equal protection clause of the United States, same-sex couples should have the same rights as anybody else.”

2/17/15 President Obama interview with BuzzFeed

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6/9/16 FACT SHEET: Obama Administration’s Record and the LGBT Community

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85 thoughts on “U.S. Supreme Court Reviews Prop 8 & DOMA Cases

  1. Monday, March 25, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:30 AM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden receive the presidential daily briefing

    11:00 AM
    11:15 AM
    Vice President Biden meets with Australian Foreign Minister Robert Carr.

    11:30 AM
    President Obama delivers remarks at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians
    White House

    12:00 PM
    12:10 PM
    President Obama designates five new National Monuments using his authority under the Antiquities Act in a signing ceremony with Vice President Biden and Secretary Salazar
    Oval Office

    1:00 PM
    White House Press Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press.

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    Vice President Biden, Secreatary Salazar, and Sen. Tom Carper deliver remarks at the newly designated First State National Monument at the Sheriff’s Office
    New Castle, Delaware

    3:55 PM
    President Obama meets with Secretary Hagel.

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    6:30 PM
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder
    White House

    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    • POTUS podium

      March 25, 2013

      WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

      11:30 AM ET
      President Obama delivers remarks at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians
      White House

      12:10 PM ET
      President Obama designates five new National Monuments using his authority under the Antiquities Act in a signing ceremony with Secretary Salazar
      Oval Office

      1:00 PM ET
      White House Press Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press.

      6:30 PM ET
      President Obama and First Lady Michelle mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder
      White House

      —-

      ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Live/

      11:30 AM ET
      President Obama delivers remarks at a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members and civilians
      White House

      12:10 PM ET
      President Obama designates five new National Monuments using his authority under the Antiquities Act in a signing ceremony with Secretary Salazar
      Oval Office

      1:00 PM ET
      White House Press Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press

      2:00 PM ET
      Citizen Service Before Self Honors ceremony
      Four people will be honored at Arlington National Cemetery for their acts of courage and selflessness in conjunction with National Medal of Honor Day.

      6:30 PM ET
      President Obama and First Lady Michelle mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder
      White House

      —-

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      10:00 AM ET
      Progress in Afghanistan Under Gen. John Allen http://www.c-spanvideo.org/event/216157

      12:30 PM ET
      U.S. Ambassador Olson Discusses Pakistan http://www.c-spanvideo.org/event/216158

      1:00 PM ET
      White House Press Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press

      4:00 PM ET
      George Washington University
      A look at Supreme Court Same Sex Marriage Cases http://www.c-spanvideo.org/event/216159

    • Gay marriage: High court sets stage for historic ruling

      1/16/15 Mark Sherman – AP

      WASHINGTON (AP) — Setting the stage for a potentially historic ruling, the Supreme Court announced Friday it will decide whether same-sex couples have a right to marry everywhere in America under the Constitution.

      The justices will take up gay-rights cases that ask them to declare for the entire nation that people can marry the partners of their choice, regardless of gender. The cases will be argued in April, and a decision is expected by late June.

      Proponents of same-sex marriage said they expect the court to settle the matter once and for all with a decision that invalidates state provisions that define marriage as between a man and a woman. On the other side, advocates for traditional marriage want the court to let the political process play out, rather than have judges order states to allow same-sex couples to marry.

      Same-sex couples can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/justices-must-act-fast-gay-marriage-settled-june-083801891.html

    • March 26

      Supreme Court Takes Up Prop 8: The Possible Outcomes

      DECEMBER 13, 2012, 8:45 AM 2242 SAHIL KAPUR – tpm

      The Supreme Court will take up a challenge next spring to California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure which amends the state’s constitution to hold that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

      The outcome could range from requiring all states to accept gay marriage or decreeing such bans constitutional. The justices could also dodge the issue. Here are the different ways the ruling could go.

      * All Gay Marriage Bans Are Struck Down
      * Prop. 8 Is Overturned
      * Prop. 8 Is Upheld
      * The Supreme Court Punts

      For more: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/12/supreme-court-prop-8-outcomes.php?ref=fpa

    • Supreme Court to hear same-sex marriage cases in late March

      1/7/13 By Jonathan Stempel | Reuters

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court will in late March hear oral arguments in a pair of cases challenging laws that define marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

      On March 26, the court will review a California ban on gay marriage, which voters narrowly approved in 2008. That case could give the court a chance to accept or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, or issue a narrower ruling affecting only the nation’s most populous state.

      The next day the court will review a New York court ruling striking down a centerpiece of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that denies married same-sex couples a variety of federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive.

      The scheduling was announced in a calendar released by the court on Monday. In May, President Barack Obama said he believed same-sex couples deserve the right to marry, and the government is no longer defending the federal benefits law.

      Both cases are the most anticipated in the court’s current term and are among several cases that could allow the nine justices to better define what constitutes equality.

      In October, the court heard arguments challenging the use of affirmative action in admissions at the University of Texas at Austin. Next month, it will hear a challenge to a central provision in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

      Decisions in these cases are expected by the end of June.
      In the California case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had last February voided the same-sex marriage ban but ruled narrowly, saying the state could not take away a right to same-sex marriage after previously allowing it.

      That case was brought by two lawyers, Theodore Olson and David Boies, who were on opposite sides in the 2000 case Bush v. Gore, which decided the 2000 U.S. presidential election.

      The New York case, U.S. v. Windsor, challenged Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between only a man and a woman for the purpose of benefits such as Social Security survivor payments and the right to file joint federal tax returns.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-hear-same-sex-marriage-cases-march-183542836.html

    • Gay marriage: why corporations are coming out against DOMA

      Nearly 300 US companies filed a brief on behalf of the New York woman whose challenge of DOMA has reached the Supreme Court. Why support gay marriage? For one, it’s just good business.

      February 27, 2013 By Daniel B. Wood, CSM Staff writer

      LOS ANGELES
      Wading into the highly emotional but quickly shifting national debate over gay marriage, 278 companies filed an amicus brief Wednesday in support of Edith Windsor, the New York woman whose challenge of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has been taken up by the United States Supreme Court.

      Among the companies filing the brief are behemoths Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Starbucks, corporate entities associated with America’s youth culture. But others include pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, insurance mainstay Aetna, and Citigroup.

      In addition to the challenge to DOMA, which centers on Ms. Windsor’s having had to pay a substantial federal estate tax following the death of her partner of more than 40 years, whom she married in Canada, the Supreme Court is also taking up California’s Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage. Windsor would not have had to pay any federal estate tax on the inheritance had the United States recognized her marriage. The court will hear arguments on Prop. 8 on March 26, and on DOMA on March 27.

      So what interests do corporations, which usually shun controversy, have in urging the Supreme Court to sign off on gay marriage? One reason, it appears, is they think it’s just good business.

      Interviews with legal experts, marketing and public relations specialists, and others say the reasons are more complex than just the increased social acceptance of gay marriage, reflected in opinion polls and such actions as President Obama’s historic embrace of it last year. They say businesses are acting in the interest of their own economic bottom line.

      For more: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2013/0227/Gay-marriage-why-corporations-are-coming-out-against-DOMA?nav=89-csm_category-topStories

    • “It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- (applause) — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity — (applause) — until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

      That is our generation’s task — to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. (Applause.) ”

      1/21/13 President Barack Obama

      • Obama administration is already taking a stand on gay rights in another case before the court, to be argued a day later on March 27. That case challenges the constitutionality of a central part of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage under federal law as being between a man and a woman.

        In February 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder said the administration would no longer defend DOMA in that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

        In the DOMA case, the administration has said courts should tread carefully when addressing laws that treat gays and lesbians differently from heterosexuals but has not said whether all bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional.

        Nine states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. The nine are Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington.

        The gay marriage movement has gained momentum since Proposition 8 was passed in 2008.

      • Obama administration urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down DOMA

        ‘Gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country’

        February 22, 2013 lgbtqnation Staff Reports

        The Obama administration on Friday filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing why it considers the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.

        Filed in United States v. Windsor, a case challenging Section 3 of DOMA, the administration said “gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country,” and argued that laws targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation should face additional scrutiny by courts reviewing them.

        In the brief, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asked the court to uphold a federal appeals court ruling that found DOMA to be unconstitutional:

        Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.

        This case deals with Edith Windsor, who was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. The two had lived as a couple for 44 years and married in Canada in 2007. Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize the same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did.

        Section 3 of DOMA, which bars legally married same-sex couples from any federal benefits or programs based on marriage, has been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.

        The brief also mentions Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and similar measures in other states as evidence of continued discrimination against gays and lesbians.

        For more: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/02/obama-administration-urges-u-s-surpeme-court-to-strike-down-doma/

      • SCOTUS allows Obama administration to participate in Prop. 8 oral arguments
        3/15/13 By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

        The Supreme Court on Friday granted permission to the Obama administration to participate in oral arguments in the Proposition 8 case.

        After President Obama had said he was cautious about intervening in the case seeking to strike down California’s gay-marriage ban, the administration ultimately filed a friend-of-the-court brief last month urging the court to strike down the ban and asking for 10 minutes to argue its case.

        Oral arguments in the case are scheduled March 26.

      • Obama hopes Supreme Court ‘reaches’ same-sex marriage issues

        3/27/13 6:30 PM EDT By JENNIFER EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

        President Obama wants to see the Supreme Court rule on the merits of the same-sex marriage arguments they heard this week, he said Wednesday, even though his solicitor general suggested that the court should not be considering one of the cases under review.

        “My hope is that the court reaches these issues,” Obama said in an interview with Spanish-language network Telemundo that focused on his renewed push for comprehensive immigration reform.

        He made a similar but less definitive statement in a second interview Wednesday, with Univision. “I think it was an important issue, I think it was important for the court to weigh in on this issue,” he said. “Obviously, public opinion has shifted dramatically just over the last several years. And my hope is we will come to a place where everybody is treated and treated the same.”

        But before the high court on Tuesday, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said that the party arguing in favor of maintaining California’s ban on same-sex marriage “really have what is more in the nature of a generalized grievance.” The state of California declined to defend the ban and, instead, the group that sponsored Proposition 8, ProtectMarriage.com, is defending the law. “Because they’re not an agent of the state of California or don’t have any other official tie to the State that would result in any official control of their litigation, that the better conclusion is that there’s not … standing here.”

        Though that was Verrilli’s stance, he still argued the meat of the case — that the ban ought to be overturned. Obama again made that argument in his interviews Wednesday.

        “I think that not only is it right and fair, but also consistent with our Constitution to recognize same-sex couples,” he told Telemundo. “It doesn’t mean that everybody has to agree from a religious standpoint about this issue. It does mean that it is very important for us to remember we’re a nation in which everybody’s supposed to be equal before the law.”

        “And, you know, I’ve known a lot of same-sex couples who are committed, who are raising kids,” Obama added. “For them to be treated differently, I think is not fair. And I think an increasing number of Americans agree with that. So I think it is time for the justices to examine this issue. And I certainly believe that those states that have made a decision to recognize these couples as being married that the federal government has to respect that decision by the states. That’s traditionally been how it works.”

    • Bill Clinton: Overturn DOMA

      3/7/13 9:32 PM EST By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

      Former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act, says it is time to overturn what he now considers a discriminatory law.

      “On March 27, DOMA will come before the Supreme Court, and the justices must decide whether it is consistent with the principles of a nation that honors freedom, equality and justice above all, and is therefore constitutional,” he writes in a Washington Post op-ed. “As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution.”

      Clinton says when he signed the law forbidding federal recognition of gay marriage, it was “a different time” in society – no state had legalized same-sex marriage and only 81 of the 535 members of Congress at the time opposed the law’s passage. He said he included a signing statement indicating that it should not be a basis for discrimination, but now his view has shifted.

      “Reading those words today, I know now that, even worse than providing an excuse for discrimination, the law is itself discriminatory,” he wrote. “It should be overturned.”

      The former president said he joins with the Obama administration and “many other dedicated men and women who have engaged in this struggle for decades” for equal rights. The Justice Department filed a brief last month urging the Supreme Court to strike down parts of the law prohibiting federal recognition of gay marriage.

      For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/bill-clinton-its-time-to-overturn-doma/2013/03/07/fc184408-8747-11e2-98a3-b3db6b9ac586_story.html

    • Hillary Clinton for HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality

      Published on Mar 18, 2013

      Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton explains why she supports marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples.

    • Pediatrics Group Backs Gay Marriage, Saying It Helps Children

      March 21, 2013 By CATHERINE SAINT LOUIS – nytimes

      The American Academy of Pediatrics declared its support for same-sex marriage for the first time on Thursday, saying that allowing gay and lesbian parents to marry if they so choose is in the best interests of their children.

      The academy’s new policy statement says same-sex marriage helps guarantee rights, benefits and long-term security for children, while acknowledging that it does not now ensure access to federal benefits. When marriage is not an option, the academy said, children should not be deprived of foster care or adoption by single parents or couples, whatever their sexual orientation.

      The academy’s review of scientific literature began more than four years ago, and the result is a 10-page report with 60 citations.

      “If the studies are different in their design and sample but the results continue to be similar, that gives scientists and consumers more faith in the result,” said Dr. Ellen Perrin, a co-author of the new policy and a professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine.

      Other scientists called the evidence lackluster and said the academy’s endorsement was premature. Loren Marks, an associate professor of child and family studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, said there was not enough national data to support the pediatric association’s position on same-sex marriage. “National policy should be informed by nationally representative data,” he said. “We are moving in the direction of higher-quality national data, but it’s slow.”

      For more: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/21/health/american-academy-of-pediatrics-backs-gay-marriage.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

    • John Roberts’ gay cousin to attend hearing

      3/25/13 6:22 AM EDT By KEVIN ROBILLARD – POLITICO

      An openly gay cousin of Chief Justice John Roberts who wants to marry her partner will be in the room during this week’s Supreme Court hearings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, and she predicted her relative will “go in a good direction” on the case.

      “He is a smart man,” Jean Podrasky, a 48-year-old accountant from San Francisco, told the Los Angeles Times. “He is a good man. I believe he sees where the tide is going. I do trust him. I absolutely trust that he will go in a good direction.”

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/03/prop-8-hearing-roberts-cousin-89271.html?hp=r3

    • Wonkbook: Oral arguments wrap up for same-sex marriage

      March 28, 2013 at 7:01 am Posted by Evan Soltas – washingtonpost

      Wonkbook’s Number of the Day: 9. That’s the number of Senate Democrats who don’t support gay marriage, out of the 55 in their caucus, counting the two independents. The number has fallen from 17 as of the last election. Much more below.

      Wonkblog’s Graph of the Day: The rise of “gay marriage” in writing — from nothing in 1960 to a discussion today. The number of references has increased 64-fold.

      Wonkbook’s Top 5 Stories: 1) now the Court deliberates; 2) Obama wants a second date with Senate Republicans; 3) actuaries predict spike in medical costs; 4) food stamp use remains high; and 5) is vacation all immigration reform ever wanted?

      1) Top story: Oral arguments wrap up for same-sex marriage

      Justices appear skeptical of Defense of Marriage Act. “A majority of the Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared ready to strike down a key section of a law that withholds federal benefits from gay married couples…It appeared Kennedy’s interest in states’ rights might align with the concerns of the court’s four liberals that the law impermissibly targeted gay couples.” Robert Barnes in The Washington Post.

      Primary documents: A full written transcript of oral arguments and an audio recording, too. Dylan Matthews in The Washington Post

      Explainer: A primer on Wednesday’s same-sex marriage oral arguments. Dylan Matthews in The Washington Post.

      Excerpts only: The most important 8 exchanges of today’s oral arguments, annotated. Dylan Matthews in The Washington Post.

      As it happened: The Washington Post‘s live blog on the Supreme Court oral arguments.

      Wonktalk: Public opinion is changing on gay marriage. Why not on abortion? Sarah Kliff and Suzy Khimm in The Washington Post.

      Sorry, Justice Scalia: There’s no evidence that gay parents aren’t bad parents. “[A]doption by gay couples is one of the best arguments for gay marriage, not an argument against it. We should be begging gay couples to adopt children. We should see this as a great boon that gay marriage could bring to kids who need nothing more than two loving parents. The answer to Kagan’s question is that gay marriage doesn’t harm traditional marriage. But the answer to Scalia’s retort is that he’s got it precisely wrong: Gay marriage is good for children in the foster system.” Ezra Klein in The Washington Post.

      For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/28/wonkbook-oral-arguments-wrap-up-for-same-sex-marriage/

    • DOGMA

      It isn’t gay marriage that should trouble the Supreme Court, says Kevin Fisher-Paulson. It’s straight marriage.

      3/25/13 By Kevin Fisher-Paulson – KQED

      As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on the legality of my marriage, I came to the conclusion that they should be ruling on their own matrimony. The real threat to this sacred institution is opposite sex marriage.

      As religious leaders will tell you, the purpose of a marriage is to stay together forever and to raise children.

      So let’s look at the forever part. Opposite sex couples divorce almost one out of every two marriages: 41 percent of first marriages end in divorce, 67 percent of second marriages end in divorce and a whopping 74 percent of third marriage end in divorce. In other words, the more that a straight person marries, the more likely he or she is to divorce.

      Gays haven’t had much time to get married, let alone divorced, but currently straights are divorcing at twice the rate of gays. It’s that whole people from Venus business really do understand each other better than the people from Mars.

      And we all know that the purpose of marriage is to have children, right? Again, opposite sex couples are ruining this holy precept. In 1976, census data indicated that 10% of opposite sex marriages were childless, and by 2003, that number had almost doubled to 19%. On the other hand, now that gays and lesbians have the ability to parent in many but not all states, the percentage of same sex couples with children has tripled from a mere 8% in 2000 to one out of four gay couples now with children. And perhaps even more important, not one of us gay couples is having a child by accident. Like Chief Justice Roberts, many of us adopt. Our family is truly a family of choice.

      Ironically, while opposite sex couples are casually doing driveby weddings in Vegas, we gays are treating marriage with tradition, and I daresay, reverence. Maybe it’s because we have to fight so hard for it.

      For the entire article and audio in statement: http://www.kqed.org/a/perspectives/R201303250735

    • Delaware To Become 11th State With Gay Marriage

      MAY 7, 2013, 5:35 PM 833 RANDALL CHASE,ASSOCIATED PRESS

      DOVER, Del. (AP) — A divided Delaware state Senate voted Tuesday to make their state the 11th in the nation to allow same-sex marriage, after hearing hours of passionate testimony from supporters and opponents.

      The Senate’s 12-9 vote sends the bill to Democratic Gov. Jack Markell, who supports the measure and planned to sign it later in the day. It would go into effect July 1.

      “I think this is the right thing for Delaware,” the governor said after the vote, while posing for pictures with supporters outside his legislative office. “It took an incredible team effort.”

      Gay rights activists and their supporters in the chamber erupted in cheers and applause following the Senate vote.

      Delaware’s same-sex marriage bill was introduced in the Democrat-controlled legislature last month, barely a year after the state began recognizing same-sex civil unions. The bill won passage two weeks ago in the state House on a 23-18 vote.

      For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/delaware-to-become-11th-state-with-gay-marriage.php

    • Social Security starts accepting same-sex marriage claims

      7/12/13 03:49 PM ET By Erik Wasson – TheHill

      The Social Security Administration announced Friday that it would begin accepting benefit claims related to same-sex marriage.
      The Supreme Court in June found the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. It ruled that the federal government couldn’t treat same-sex marriages approved by some states any differently than heterosexual marriages.

      The ruling affects more than 1,000 federal regulations on everything from tax breaks to entitlement benefits.

      Prior to the ruling, an individual in a same-sex marriage was unable to claim survivor benefits from Social Security when a spouse died, and a couple was unable to claim a 50-percent Social Security marriage bonus to their retirement benefits.

      “The President has directed the Attorney General to work with other members of his Cabinet to review the recent Supreme Court decision and determine its impact on Federal benefit programs – including benefits administered by Social Security – to ensure that we implement the decision swiftly and smoothly,” Social Security Administration spokesman Mark Hinkle said.

      He said the agency was working with the Justice Department to revise its regulations.

      “We are taking claims now from individuals who believe they may be eligible for Social Security benefits. We will process these claims as soon as we have finalized our instructions,” Hinkle said.

      Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/310743-social-security-starts-accepting-same-sex-marriage-claims-

    • High court strikes down federal marriage provision

      6/26/13 By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press

      WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

      The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

      Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

      Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.
      The court has yet to release its decision on California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

      “Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

      “DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

      He was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

      Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

      Scalia read his dissent aloud. Scalia said the court should not have decided the case.

      But, given that it did, he said, “we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation.”

      • Social Security starts accepting same-sex marriage claims

        7/12/13 03:49 PM ET By Erik Wasson – TheHill

        The Social Security Administration announced Friday that it would begin accepting benefit claims related to same-sex marriage.
        The Supreme Court in June found the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. It ruled that the federal government couldn’t treat same-sex marriages approved by some states any differently than heterosexual marriages.

        The ruling affects more than 1,000 federal regulations on everything from tax breaks to entitlement benefits.

        Prior to the ruling, an individual in a same-sex marriage was unable to claim survivor benefits from Social Security when a spouse died, and a couple was unable to claim a 50-percent Social Security marriage bonus to their retirement benefits.

        “The President has directed the Attorney General to work with other members of his Cabinet to review the recent Supreme Court decision and determine its impact on Federal benefit programs – including benefits administered by Social Security – to ensure that we implement the decision swiftly and smoothly,” Social Security Administration spokesman Mark Hinkle said.

        He said the agency was working with the Justice Department to revise its regulations.

        “We are taking claims now from individuals who believe they may be eligible for Social Security benefits. We will process these claims as soon as we have finalized our instructions,” Hinkle said.

        Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/310743-social-security-starts-accepting-same-sex-marriage-claims-

      • Announcement on Visa Changes for Same-Sex Couples

        John Kerry
        Secretary of State
        U.S. Embassy London
        London, United Kingdom

        August 2, 2013

        (Excerpt)

        “I’m very pleased to be able to announce that effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it will consider the application of opposite-sex spouses. And here is exactly what this rule means: If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. If you are the spouse of a non-citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. And if you are in a country that doesn’t recognize your same-sex marriage, then your visa application will still be treated equally at every single one of our 222 visa processing centers around the world.

        Now, as long as a marriage has been performed in a jurisdiction that recognizes it so that it is legal, then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws, and every married couple will be treated exactly the same, and that is what we believe is appropriate. Starting next year, that will include same-sex couples from England and Wales, which just this year passed laws permitting same-sex marriage that will take effect in 2014.

        And as you know, more than two years ago, President Obama instructed our Department of Justice to stop enforcing DOMA. Then just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court of the United States declared DOMA unconstitutional. Today, the State Department, which has always been at the forefront of equality in the federal government, I’m proud to say, is tearing down an unjust and an unfair barrier that for too long stood in the way of same-sex families being able to travel as a family to the United States.”

        For the entire transcript: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/08/212643.htm

      • DOD Announces Same-Sex Spouse Benefits

        Aug. 14, 2013 American Forces Press Service

        WASHINGTON – Today, the Department of Defense announced its plan to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of uniformed service members and Department of Defense civilian employees, according to a DOD news release issued today.

        After a review of the department’s benefit policies following the Supreme Court’s ruling that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies, the Defense Department will make spousal and family benefits available no later than Sept. 3, 2013, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate.

        The DOD remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military, and their families, are treated fairly and equally as the law directs.

        Entitlements such as TRICARE enrollment, basic allowance for housing and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision. Any claims to entitlements before that date will not be granted. For those members married after June 26, 2013, entitlements begin at the date of marriage.

        The DOD recognizes that same-sex military couples who are not stationed in a jurisdiction that permits same-sex marriage would have to travel to another jurisdiction to marry. That is why the department will implement policies to allow military personnel in such a relationship non-chargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction where such a marriage may occur. This will provide accelerated access to the full range of benefits offered to married military couples throughout the department, and help level the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples seeking to be married.

        For civilian benefits administered government-wide to federal employees, the DOD will follow the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Labor’s guidance to ensure that the same benefits currently available to heterosexual spouses are also available to legally married same-sex spouses.

      • August 29, 2013

        HHS Press Office

        HHS announces first guidance implementing Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act

        Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a memo clarifying that all beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives. This is the first guidance issued by HHS in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling, which held section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

        “HHS is working swiftly to implement the Supreme Court’s decision and maximize federal recognition of same-sex spouses in HHS programs,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Today’s announcement is the first of many steps that we will be taking over the coming months to clarify the effects of the Supreme Court’s decision and to ensure that gay and lesbian married couples are treated equally under the law.”

        “Today, Medicare is ensuring that all beneficiaries will have equal access to coverage in a nursing home where their spouse lives, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “Prior to this, a beneficiary in a same-sex marriage enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan did not have equal access to such coverage and, as a result, could have faced time away from his or her spouse or higher costs because of the way that marriage was defined for this purpose.”

        For more: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/08/20130829a.html

      • June 26, 2015

        Remarks by the President on the Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality

        Rose Garden

        11:14 A.M. EDT

        THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of those founding words with the realities of changing times — a never-ending quest to ensure those words ring true for every single American.

        Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.

        This morning, the Supreme Court recognized that the Constitution guarantees marriage equality. In doing so, they’ve reaffirmed that all Americans are entitled to the equal protection of the law. That all people should be treated equally, regardless of who they are or who they love.

        This decision will end the patchwork system we currently have. It will end the uncertainty hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples face from not knowing whether their marriage, legitimate in the eyes of one state, will remain if they decide to move [to] or even visit another. This ruling will strengthen all of our communities by offering to all loving same-sex couples the dignity of marriage across this great land.

        In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. It is gratifying to see that principle enshrined into law by this decision.

        This ruling is a victory for Jim Obergefell and the other plaintiffs in the case. It’s a victory for gay and lesbian couples who have fought so long for their basic civil rights. It’s a victory for their children, whose families will now be recognized as equal to any other. It’s a victory for the allies and friends and supporters who spent years, even decades, working and praying for change to come.

        And this ruling is a victory for America. This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: When all Americans are treated as equal we are all more free.

        For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/06/26/remarks-president-supreme-court-decision-marriage-equality

    • Gay Marriage Activists Turn Focus On States That Ban It

      July 29, 2013 4:47 PM by TOVIA SMITH – NPR

      Summary: A federal judge ruled last week that Ohio, which bans gay marriage, must recognize the marriage of two men wed this month in Maryland. The ruling is seen as likely to unleash more lawsuits challenging states that don’t allow same-sex unions to recognize marriages legalized in other states.

      For the entire audio interview: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=206728483

    • Gay couple uses tribal law to marry in Oklahoma

      10/22/13 By Liz Goodwin- Yahoo News

      A same-sex couple successfully applied for a marriage license in Oklahoma despite the state’s strict rules against gay marriage. The pair used a legal loophole to get the license last Friday under tribal law, which doesn’t fall under the state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as occurring only between a man and a woman. They plan to wed Oct. 31.

      Darren Black Bear, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, was able to get a marriage license to wed his partner of nine years, Jason Pickel, because the tribe’s legal system does not specify two people must be of different genders to be wed.

      Rosemary Stephens, the editor in chief of the tribes’ Tribal Tribune, told Yahoo News another gay couple in the tribe wed in December 2012 under the law, but did not make their union public. At least one person in the couple must be an enrolled member of the tribe in order to get a marriage license, however.

      Stephens said no one in the tribe has raised any objections to the practice of giving out marriage licenses to both straight and gay couples. “They’re held in high esteem,” Stephens said of Black Bear and Pickel.

      While Oklahoma won’t recognize the marriage, the federal government most likely will, thanks to last June’s Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The court said the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages, but said states are free to ignore and prohibit them if they want.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/gay-couple-uses-tribal-law-to-marry-in-oklahoma-184155790.html

      • SENATE PASSES GAY MARRIAGE BILL; SENDS IT TO GOVERNOR

        10:02 a.m. HST, Nov 12, 2013 By Star-Advertiser staff

        The state Senate, as expected, overwhelmingly approved a marriage equity bill today, sending the measure to Gov. Neil Abercrombie who has vowed to sign it and make Hawaii the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

        Today’s 19-4 vote, while historic, was a somewhat anti-climatic end to the 16-day legislative special session that included more than 55 hours of public testimony, followed by two day-long sessions in the House where lawmakers approved the bill late Friday night in a 30-19 vote.

        “I look forward to signing this significant piece of legislation, which provides marriage equity and fully recognizes and protects religious freedoms,” Abercrombie said in a statement after the Senate vote.

        For more: http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/20131112_State_Senate_meets_for_final_vote_on_samesex_marriage_bill.html

      • November 12, 2013

        Statement by the President on Marriage Equality in Hawaii

        I want to congratulate the Hawaii State Legislature on passing legislation in support of marriage equality. With today’s vote, Hawaii joins a growing number of states that recognize that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Whenever freedom and equality are affirmed, our country becomes stronger. By giving loving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry if they choose, Hawaii exemplifies the values we hold dear as a nation. I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder. And Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those in Hawaii whose families will now be given the security and respect they deserve.

    • String of legal wins bolsters same-sex marriage

      5/26/14 By MARK SHERMAN and NICHOLAS RICCARDI – Associated Press

      WASHINGTON (AP) — One after another and in sometimes evocative language, judges appointed by Republican and Democratic presidents are declaring it’s too late to turn back on the topic of same-sex marriage.

      The unbroken string of state and federal court rulings in support of gay and lesbian unions takes in every region of the country, including states of the Confederacy, and brings to 26 states where same-sex couples can get married or a judge has ruled they ought to be allowed.

      It also may have pushed gay marriage to a legal tipping point, where the cause has won such wide-ranging approval that it will be hard for the Supreme Court to rule against it. The court rulings and the measured response of even elected officials who oppose same-sex marriage may be especially important for justices who have worried about acting too quickly to impose same-sex marriage nationwide.

      The latest ruling, in Pennsylvania, was followed quickly by word from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett that he would not appeal and instead let the decision take effect. Corbett, who opposes gay and lesbian marriage, is facing a tough campaign for re-election this year.

      “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III wrote last week about the Pennsylvania marriage law.

      Gay marriage opponents say they expect more of a mixed record in the courts by the time the Supreme Court gets involved, and they take issue with the notion that U.S. public opinion has shifted as dramatically as many polls show.

      All the rulings came after the Supreme Court decision last June that struck down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law but did not apply to bans that were then in place in roughly three dozen states. Judges, though, have had no trouble extending the high court’s ruling in U.S. v. Windsor to prohibit states from discriminating against same-sex couples who want to wed.

      “Judges can read the tea leaves,” UCLA law professor Adam Winkler said. “They know where the Supreme Court is going. They know where society is going. Do they want their grandkids knowing they wrote an opinion stopping gay marriage?”

      In some respects, the series of rulings is just the latest manifestation of the extraordinary change in attitudes about same-sex marriage.

      In 1972, it took the Supreme Court one sentence to dispose of an appeal asserting a same-sex couple’s constitutional right to marry. In 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared the state’s marriage ban unconstitutional. When President Barack Obama decided that his administration no longer would enforce the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2011, there were five states that allowed same-sex couples to wed. By late June, the number had jumped to 13, after the high court paved the way for gay and lesbian couples in California to get married.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/string-legal-wins-bolsters-same-sex-marriage-151058964.html

    • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg to preside over gay wedding

      8/30/13 By Lawrence Hurley – Reuters

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is to officiate at a wedding ceremony between two men this weekend, just two months after the court issued high-profile rulings on the highly divisive issue.

      A court spokesman said on Friday that Ginsburg would be officiating at the ceremony on Saturday at the Kennedy Center. Ginsburg is the first justice to preside over a wedding ceremony involving a same-sex couple.

      As reported by the Washington Post, Ginsburg will preside over the wedding of Michael Kaiser, the president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, and John Roberts, an economist.

      In June, the court struck down a federal law that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples and paved the way for gay marriage in California by letting stand a ruling that struck down a state law that restricted marriage to opposite-sex couples.

      Gay marriage is legal in Washington, D.C., and 13 U.S. states.

      In an interview with Reuters in July, Ginsburg said she was pleased with the court’s decisions on the issue. Of the increasing public acceptance of gay marriage, she said, “I think the country is doing remarkably well. I don’t think anyone could have predicted this.”

    • Justice Kagan officiates same-sex wedding

      September 22, 2014, 11:41 am By Peter Sullivan – TheHill

      Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan officiated a same-sex wedding on Sunday, a court spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

      The ceremony in Maryland for a former law clerk is the first same-sex wedding that Kagan has performed. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor have both performed same-sex weddings in the past.

      Gay marriage has been a divisive topic at the Supreme Court, as it has been elsewhere in the country.
      Last year, Kagan, an Obama appointee, joined the three other reliably liberal justices, along with swing voter Anthony Kennedy, to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which restricted the definition of marriage to a man and a woman. The four reliably conservative justices dissented.

      The court could decide as early as this month whether to take up the issue again in the coming session, this time to consider a more sweeping ruling declaring a right to same-sex marriage across the country.

      For more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/218490-justice-kagan-officiates-same-sex-wedding

    • With Sweeping New Ruling, Marriage Equality Must Begin in All 50 States

      June 26, 2015 by HRC staff

      In a historic 5-4 ruling, today the Supreme Court of the United States found bans on marriage equality to be unconstitutional—and that the fundamental right to marriage is a fundamental right for all. The majority’s opinion, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, represents a clear mandate for governors, state attorneys general and officials everywhere to cease their attempts to uphold these discriminatory statutes.

      “Today’s ruling makes perfectly clear that there is no legal or moral justification for standing in the path of marriage equality. Couples from Mississippi to North Dakota to Texas shouldn’t have to wait even a moment longer to be treated equally under the law,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “State officials across the country must act swiftly to ensure that every obstacle to obtaining a marriage license is removed. To do anything less is a shameful attempt to cement their state on the wrong side of history. But what’s clear today is that our work isn’t done until every discriminatory law in this nation is wiped away. The time has come in this country for comprehensive federal LGBT non-discrimination protections. We now have to work harder than ever before to make sure LGBT Americans cannot be fired, evicted or denied services simply on the basis of the marriage license that they fought so hard to achieve.”

      Named plaintiff in the case, Jim Obergefell, also issued the following statement in reaction to the ruling:

      “Today I could not be prouder of my country, more grateful for the memory of my late husband John, and more indebted to the incredible lawyers, advocates and fellow plaintiffs who made this landmark day possible. The fact that the state I have long called home will finally recognize my marriage to the man I honored and cherished for more than 20 years is a profound vindication—a victory I’m proud to share with countless more couples across the country. Thanks to the Supreme Court, a period of deep injustice in this nation is coming to a close, but it’s also clear today that there is still so much work to do. As long as discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is tolerated—whether in the seeking of a marriage license, the pursuit of fairness on the job, or the fight for equal treatment at a restaurant or business—we haven’t truly guaranteed equal justice under the law. But today’s victory proves that anything is possible, and I could not be more hopeful about the capacity of this country to change for the better.”

      For more: http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/with-sweeping-new-ruling-marriage-equality-must-begin-in-all-50-states

    • Release No: NR-272-15

      July 13, 2015 dod.gov

      Statement by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on DOD Transgender Policy

      Over the last fourteen years of conflict, the Department of Defense has proven itself to be a learning organization. This is true in war, where we have adapted to counterinsurgency, unmanned systems, and new battlefield requirements such as MRAPs. It is also true with respect to institutional activities, where we have learned from how we repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” from our efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, and from our work to open up ground combat positions to women. Throughout this time, transgender men and women in uniform have been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside their fellow comrades in arms.

      The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions. At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite. Moreover, we have transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines – real, patriotic Americans – who I know are being hurt by an outdated, confusing, inconsistent approach that’s contrary to our value of service and individual merit.

      Today, I am issuing two directives to deal with this matter. First, DoD will create a working group to study over the next six months the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly. Led by (Acting) Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson, and composed of military and civilian personnel representing all the military services and the Joint Staff, this working group will report to Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work. At my direction, the working group will start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified. Second, I am directing that decision authority in all administrative discharges for those diagnosed with gender dysphoria or who identify themselves as transgender be elevated to Under Secretary Carson, who will make determinations on all potential separations.

      As I’ve said before, we must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so, and we must treat all our people with the dignity and respect they deserve. Going forward, the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both. Our military’s future strength depends on it.

  2. Obama to designate 5 national monuments

    3/22/13 By MATTHEW DALY | Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is designating five new national monuments, using executive authority to protect historic or ecologically significant sites — including one in Delaware sought by Vice President Joe Biden.

    The White House said Obama would make the designations Monday, using the century-old Antiquities Act to protect unique natural and historic landmarks. The sites are Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico; First State National Monument in Delaware; Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio; and San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-designate-5-national-monuments-151455835.html

  3. Secretary of State Kerry makes unannounced visit to Afghanistan

    3/25/13 By Arshad Mohammed | Reuters – 21 mins ago

    KABUL (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry paid an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Monday for talks with President Hamid Karzai, a U.S. official said, with both sides hoping to stabilize the country before most U.S.-led NATO combat troops leave by the end of 2014.

    Kerry and Karzai will discuss a host of issues including Afghan reconciliation, the transfer of security responsibility to Afghan forces and Afghanistan’s elections, the official told reporters.

    Karzai’s government is trying to open formal negotiations with the Taliban, who have remained resilient in the face of superior NATO firepower in the war now in its 12th year.

    Karzai is due to travel to Qatar within days to discuss the peace process and the opening of a Taliban office for the purposes of conducting negotiations.

    The trip would be the first time the Afghan president has discussed the Taliban peace process in Qatar, and comes after years of stalled discussions with the United States, Pakistan and the Taliban.

    Commenting on Karzai’s trip, the official told reporters: “I wouldn’t want to overplay it but I think that it’s a very positive sign. It’s another step on a continued path toward … getting to some sort of reconciliation process.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/secretary-state-kerry-makes-unannounced-visit-afghanistan-110103469.html

  4. Chicago Fed National Activity Index

    Released On 3/25/2013 8:30:00 AM For Feb, 2013

    Prior Prior Revised Actual
    Level -0.32 -0.49 0.44
    3 Month Moving Average 0.30 0.28 0.09

    Highlights
    Confirmation of the recent run of strong data comes this morning from the Chicago Fed whose national activity index is up to 0.44 in February vs a revised minus 0.49 in January. All four components of the report show gains relative to January with three of the four above zero.

    Production leads February’s gain followed by employment and by sales/orders/inventories. Consumption & housing remains in the negative column though a bit less so than in January.

    Despite February’s strength, the three-month average shows less growth, at 0.09 from 0.28. Yet the average remains above zero to indicate that the economy’s growth trend remains above its historical average, at least slightly.

    Source: http://bloomberg.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=456489&cust=bloomberg-us&year=2013&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top

    • March 25, 2013

      Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting with Foreign Minister Robert Carr of Australia

      Vice President Biden met with Foreign Minister Bob Carr of Australia today at the White House. The Vice President underscored the strength of the partnership and friendship between the United States and Australia, highlighting the shared values and common purpose that have linked our governments and our peoples in alliance for more than six decades. The Vice President noted the indispensability of our close collaboration with Australia in Asia and the Pacific, as we both seek to promote peace and security, shared prosperity, and a rules-based order in the region and around the world. The Vice President and the Foreign Minister discussed a range of regional and global challenges, including North Korea and the Middle East peace process. The Vice President expressed appreciation for Australia’s role on the United Nations Security Council and highlighted opportunities for closer collaboration on a range of global issues.

    • March 25, 2013

      Remarks by the President at a Naturalization Ceremony for Active Duty Service Members and Civilians

      East Room

      11:36 A.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. (Applause.) Well, good morning, everybody. Secretary Napolitano, thank you for administering the oath and making it official. Director Mayorkas, distinguished guests, family and friends, it is a great pleasure to have you here at the White House. And it is an honor to be among the first to greet some of my fellow citizens of the United States.

      Today, here in the people’s house — a house designed by an Irish immigrant — we welcome 28 men and women, immigrants themselves, who from this day forward have earned the precious right to call this country home.

      And I know this is an incredibly special moment for you and your families, but I have to say, it’s a special moment for the rest of us as well. Because as we look out across this room, we’re reminded that what makes somebody American isn’t just their bloodlines, it’s not just an accident of birth. It’s a fidelity to our founding principles, a faith in the idea that anyone, anywhere, can write the next great chapter in this American story.

      That’s the promise of America. And today we know it’s alive and well in each and every one of you.

      At first glance, of course, it would be easy to define this group by their differences. They all hail from different corners of the world — from Nigeria to Nicaragua, from the Philippines to Peru. They arrived here in different ways. Some of you came here as children, carried by parents who wished for them a life that they had never had. Others came as adults, leaving behind everything you knew to seek a new life. But what binds you together — what binds us all together — is something more meaningful than anything of that. A love for this country and all that it represents — that’s what unites each and every one of you.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/25/remarks-president-naturalization-ceremony-active-duty-service-members-an

    • Obama pushes Congress on immigration reform

      3/25/13 12:07 PM EDT By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

      President Barack Obama praised lawmakers on Monday for the progress that has been made on immigration reform, but he urged them to stay the course and pass a bill that he can sign into law next month.

      “We are making progress but we’ve got to finish the job,” he said during a naturalization ceremony at the White House. “… We’ve just got at this point to work up the political courage to do what needs to be done.”

      The president noted that the United States is a nation of immigrants and said in order for the country to remain vibrant and on the cutting edge, the nation’s immigration system must be fixed, including with the provision of a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally,

      “Immigration makes us stronger, it keeps us vibrant, it keeps us hungry, it keeps us prosperous,” he said. “It is part of what makes this such a dynamic country. If we want to keep attracting the best and brightest that the world has to offer, then we need to do a better job of welcoming them.”

      “After avoiding the problem for years, the time has come to fix it once and for all, the time has come for comprehensive, sensible, immigration reform.”

      During the ceremony, 28 immigrants from 26 countries, including 13 members of the armed forces, took the oath of allegiance and became naturalized U.S. citizens.

  5. 12:10 PM ET
    President Obama designates five new National Monuments using his authority under the Antiquities Act in a signing ceremony with Secretary Salazar
    Oval Office

    • March 25, 2013

      President Obama Designates Five New National Monuments

      National Monuments Will Generate Tourism and Economic Benefits for Local Economies, Honor African-American History, Mark Delaware’s first National Park Site

      WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today signed proclamations establishing five new national monuments, using his authority under the Antiquities Act, which celebrate our nation’s rich history and natural heritage. The monuments, located in Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio and Washington, help tell the story of significant people and extraordinary events in American history, as well as protect unique natural resources for the benefit of all Americans. The designations were made with bi-partisan support from congressional, state and local officials, local businesses and other stakeholders and are expected to promote economic growth in the local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation.

      “These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country,” said President Obama. “By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come.”

      “From the treasured landscapes of northern New Mexico and Washington, to the historic sites in Delaware, to the sites that show our nation’s path from Civil War to civil rights, these monuments help tell the rich and complex story of our nation’s history and natural beauty,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “There’s no doubt that these monuments will serve as economic engines for the local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation – supporting economic growth and creating jobs.”

      According to the National Parks and Conservation Association study in 2006 each federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars of economic value to the public. National parks are responsible for $13.3 billion dollars of local, private-sector economic activity nationwide, supporting 267,000 private-sector jobs. Outdoor recreation alone generates $646 billion in consumer spending and 6.1 million direct jobs in the United States each year, according to the Outdoor Industry Association.

      The monuments are:

      Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio
      First State National Monument in Delaware
      Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland
      Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico
      San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/25/president-obama-designates-five-new-national-monuments

  6. March 25, 2013

    Statement from the President on Passover

    As we prepare for our fifth Seder in the White House, Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Passover here in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world.

    Tonight, Jewish families will gather with family and friends to celebrate with songs, wine, and food. They will read from the Haggadah, and retell the story that makes this holiday so powerful.

    Last week, I visited the state of Israel for the third time, my first as President. I reaffirmed our countries’ unbreakable bonds with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres. I had the chance to speak directly with young Israelis about the future they wanted for their country, their region, and the world. And I saw once again how the dream of true freedom found its full expression in those words of hope from Hatikvah, lihyot ‘am chofshi be’artzeinu, “To be a free people in our land.”

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/25/statement-president-passover

  7. 6:30 PM ET
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle mark the beginning of Passover with a Seder
    White House

  8. Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10;30 AM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden receive the presidential daily briefing

    11:00 AM
    11:15 AM
    11:15 AM
    President Obama meets with senior advisors.

    12:00 PM
    12:15 PM
    White House Press Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press.

    12:30 PM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden meet for lunch.

    1:00 PM
    1:45 PM
    President Obama Honors the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings and MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy
    The White House

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    Vice President Biden, Secretary Salazar, and Sen. Tom Carper deliver remarks at the newly designated First State National Monument at the Sheriff’s Office
    New Castle, Delaware

    3:55 PM
    President Obama meets with Hagel.

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    • POTUS podium

      March 26, 2013

      WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

      10:00 AM ET
      Cesar Chavez White House Champions of Change: Organizing for Immigration Reform
      The White House

      12:15 PM ET
      White House Press Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press.

      1:45 PM ET
      President Obama Honors the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings and MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy
      The White House

      2:40 PM ET
      Let’s Move! Q&A with LA Galaxy and NHL LA Kings
      The White House

      3:00 PM ET
      Vice President Biden, Secretary Salazar, and Sen. Tom Carper deliver remarks at the newly designated First State National Monument at the Sheriff’s Office
      New Castle, Delaware

      —-

      ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Live/

      12:15 PM ET
      White House Press Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press

      1:00 PM ET
      President Obama delivers remarks honoring the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings and MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy.

      1:00 PM ET
      Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Same-Sex Marriage

      —-

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      Christian Science Monitor Breakfast with Sec. Napolitano http://www.c-spanvideo.org/event/216242

      7:30 AM ET
      Reporter David Savage On Same-Sex Marriage Cases

      8:15 AM ET
      Michael Klarman of Harvard Law School Discusses Same-Sex Marriage Cases Before The Supreme Court

      8:30 AM ET
      United for Marriage
      Proponents of marriage equality gathered at the Supreme Court as it considers the first of two cases involving the rights individuals to enter into same-sex marriages. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/event/216255

      12:15 PM ET
      White House Press Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press

      1:00 PM ET
      National Press Club
      BET Founder Address National Press Club http://www.c-spanvideo.org/event/216237

      1:00 PM ET
      Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Same-Sex Marriage http://www.c-span.org/Events/Supreme-Court-Hears-Oral-Argument-on-Same-Sex-Marriage/10737439017/

  9. March 21, 2013

    President Obama to Honor MLS Cup Champion Los Angeles Galaxy and Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings at The White House

    Teams to Host a Let’s Move! Clinic on the South Lawn Following the Ceremony for children from Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

    WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, March 26, President Obama will welcome the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and the Major League Soccer champion LA Galaxy to the White House to honor their 2012 championship seasons in a ceremony at the White House. This visit will also continue the tradition begun by President Obama of honoring sports teams for their efforts to give back to communities as part of their trip to Washington.

    After the ceremony, the teams will host a Let’s Move! clinic on the South Lawn of the White House for youth sport participants from across the country. The clinic is supported by MLS WORKS, MLS’s community outreach initiative that promotes the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, and the Kings Care Foundation, the club’s community outreach initiative that is focused on providing and enhancing educational, recreational, and health-related programs for the youth of Los Angeles. The children participating in the clinic come from the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program in Philadelphia, America SCORES programs in Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland and Washington, D.C. and NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone programs in Washington, D.C., Columbus, Detroit and Philadelphia.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/21/president-obama-honor-mls-cup-champion-los-angeles-galaxy-and-stanley-cu

  10. Equal Love

    STAND FOR MARRIAGE

    Supporters of marriage equality will gather outside the Supreme Court on the first day of hearings: March 26 at 8:30 a.m. in Washington, D.C. Together we will show the nation that we believe all Americans deserve to be treated fairly and equally under the law – no matter who they love.

    For more: http://www.hrc.org/standformarriage

    • If you can’t make it to DC…What You Can Do:


      Wear Red
      to show your support for marriage equality.

      Spread the Word with the hashtag #UnitedforMarriage.

      Attend an Event near you or organize one with the United for Marriage toolkit.

      Follow United for Marriage on Facebook and Twitter.

  11. US soccer

    March 26, 2013
    U.S. Men vs. Mexico
    10:30 p.m. ET
    Estadio Azteca
    Mexico City, Mexico
    ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision

    • U.S. MNT Earns Second Point at Estadio Azteca with 0-0 Draw Against Mexico in Final Round of 2014 World Cup Qualifying

      March 26, 2013 ussoccer

      Brad Guzan Makes Three Saves as USA Defense Posts Second Straight Shutout
      U.S. MNT Resumes 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on June 7 in Jamaica and Hosts Panama on June 11 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle
      USA Hosts International Friendlies on May 29 against Belgium at FirstEnergy in Cleveland and June 2 against Germany at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
      MEXICO CITY (March 26, 2013) – For just the second time in U.S. Men’s National Team’s World Cup Qualifying history, the USA earned a point at Estadio Azteca with a 0-0 draw against Mexico in front of a massive crowd.

      Goalkeeper Brad Guzan made three saves to record his second-straight clean sheet, and the young center back duo of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler showed tremendous poise and grit in helping the USA earn a historic result. The only other World Cup Qualifying point earned by the USA in Azteca came during another scoreless draw on Nov. 2, 1997.

      For more: http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Mens-National-Team/2013/03/MNT-Secures-Draw-at-Estadio-Azteca.aspx

  12. Orders for U.S. Durable Goods Rise More Than Forecast

    Mar 26, 2013 5:52 AM PT By Shobhana Chandra – bloomberg

    Orders for U.S. durable goods climbed more than forecast in February, propelled by automobiles and a rebound in commercial aircraft.

    Bookings for goods meant to last at least three years rose 5.7 percent, the most since September, after a 3.8 percent drop the prior month, a Commerce Department report showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 80 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 3.9 percent advance. Figures on capital goods pointed to a pickup in business spending this quarter.

    Gains in auto and home purchases may keep benefiting manufacturers from 3M Co. (MMM) to United Technologies Corp. (UTX), leading to increases in output that are giving the economy a lift. Additionally, business investment in new equipment is picking up as companies look past the budget negotiations in Washington and focus on expanding capacity as demand improves.

    “The capital-spending picture is improving,” said Michael Carey, chief economist for North America at Credit Agricole CIB in New York, who projected a 6 percent gain in orders. “The broader economy is continuing to move forward. The second half looks like it’s going to be stronger, and businesses are poised for that.”

    Stock-index futures held earlier gains after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in June rose 0.2 percent to 1,549.6 at 8:51 a.m. in New York.

    Estimates for durable goods in the Bloomberg survey ranged from a drop of 0.1 percent to a 6.5 percent gain.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-26/orders-for-durable-goods-in-u-s-increase-more-than-forecast.html

  13. Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Climb by Most Since June 2006

    Mar 26, 2013 6:21 AM PT By Alex Kowalski – bloomberg

    Residential real estate prices increased in January by the most since June 2006, indicating the U.S. housing market strengthened at the start of the year.

    The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities climbed 8.1 percent in January from the same month in 2012 after rising 6.8 percent in the year ended in December, the group said today in New York. The increase exceeded the 7.9 percent median forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey.

    Improving home values will lure more buyers into the real estate market by inducing current owners to put their properties up for sale and prompting builders to begin work on new dwellings. Historically low lending rates and a stronger labor market have helped fueled the rebound in housing, which is a source of strength for the economy.

    “The housing market keeps on recovering,” said Christophe Barraud, an economist at Market Securities-Kyte Group in Paris. He correctly projected the January gain and is the third-best forecaster of home prices in the past two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “Interest rates are staying low, which means more first-time homebuyers.”

    Estimates for the year-over-year price change ranged from increases of 6 percent to 8.9 percent, according to forecasts from the 30 economists surveyed. The Case-Shiller index is based on a three-month average, which means the January figure was influenced by transactions in December and November.

    Stock-index futures held gains after the report, with the contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index expiring in June rising 0.2 percent to 1,549.6 at 9:09 a.m. in New York.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-26/home-prices-in-20-u-s-cities-climb-by-most-since-june-2006.html

    • Cesar Chavez Champions of Change: Organizing for Immigration Reform

      Published on Mar 26, 2013

      The White House honors Champions of Change who embody the spirit of Cesar Chavez’s legacy and are committing themselves to working within their communities to advocate and organize around immigration-related issues. March 26, 2013.

    • March 26, 2013

      Remarks by the President Honoring the Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings and MLS Cup Champion LA Galaxy

      East Room

      2:00 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Welcome to the White House. And welcome back to the back-to-back MLS champion, the L.A. Galaxy. (Applause.) I was telling these guys, they’re starting to get a little comfortable around here because they just keep on coming back.

      But this time they brought some company — the Stanley Cup champion, L.A. Kings. (Applause.)

      Now, it is great to have both teams here not just because they share a hometown. I’m a little resentful coming from Chicago that L.A. seems to be getting all these championships. But they don’t just share a hometown, they also share a pretty good comeback story.

      When it comes to the Galaxy, a team with Landon Donovan on it is rarely the underdog. But when the Galaxy was here last year, their chances of repeating as champions didn’t look all that good. The injury bug plagued the team. It seemed like it might be a rebuilding year. But right after that visit, they turned things around. And you can call it a coincidence, but I just want to point out that right after they visited with me — (laughter) — the Galaxy built the best record in the league.

      In the MLS Cup Final, the Galaxy trailed at halftime, and it stayed that way until Omar Gonzalez, who is with the national team today, scored the equalizer in the 60th minute. A few minutes after that, Landon did what he does best and scored the go-ahead goal. And pretty soon, they were up 3-1, and then midfielder Juninho was probably dancing the samba — (laughter) — the MLS Cup belonged to L.A. for the second straight year, and that was the fourth in Galaxy history.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/26/remarks-president-honoring-stanley-cup-champion-la-kings-and-mls-cup-cha

    • Let’s Move! Q&A with the LA Kings and LA Galaxy

      Published on Mar 26, 2013

      Sam Kass moderates a Q&A session for students with players from the LA Kings and the LA Galaxy. March 26, 2013.

  14. Supreme Court Sharply Divided On Whether States May Ban Gay Marriage

    MARCH 26, 2013, 1:43 PM 1363 SAHIL KAPUR – tpm

    During Supreme Court oral arguments Tuesday on California’s Proposition 8, justices questioned whether the case had standing, but were narrowly divided on the larger issue of whether the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

    The case appeared to break down along ideological lines, with four justices in each camp and Justice Anthony Kennedy once again emerging as the likely swing vote.

    Kennedy was skeptical that California or other states have a legitimate interest in outlawing gay marriage. But he was also wary of enshrining it as a constitutional right, pointing to the novelty of same sex marriage and the lack of data about its impacts.

    “It’s a difficult question that I’m trying to wrestle with,” said Kennedy.

    “I think there’s substance to the point that sociological information is new. We have five years of information to weigh against 2,000 years of history or more,” Kennedy said to Ted Olson, the lawyer pushing to strike down Prop 8. “On the other hand, there is an immediate legal injury or legal — what could be a legal injury, and that’s the voice of these children. There are some 40,000 children in California, according to the Red Brief, that live with same-sex parents, and they want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case, don’t you think?”

    Liberal-leaning Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan appeared skeptical that state bans on same-sex marriage were permissible under the Constitution’s equal protection clause.

    “Outside of the marriage context,” Sotomayor asked the lawyer defending Prop 8, Charles Cooper, “can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them?”

    Kagan asked Cooper “what harm you see happening … what harm to the institution of marriage or to opposite-sex couples” if gays and lesbians are allowed to marry. “Is there any reason you have for excluding them?” she asked.

    Justice Antonin Scalia jumped in to defend Prop 8 when Cooper was unable to provide specific harm that would be done by allowing same sex couples to marry

    For more: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/03/supreme-court-sharply-divided-on-merits-of-prop-8-case.php?ref=fpa

    • The Fate of Prop 8: Why A Dismissal on “Standing” is Good for Marriage Equality

      Posted: 26 Mar 2013 04:19 PM PDT – ThePeoplesView

      California voters marked the first time a state had ever taken away a Constitutional right on the same election night that elected Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States. Through Proposition 8, voters in my state rolled back the fundamental right to marry under the state Constitution as upheld by the state Supreme Court earlier in 2008. The United States Supreme Court heard arguments on the challenge today. At issue is the Court’s legacy, but also the fate of equality in our country. The most interesting thing, though, is that according to observers, the Court may not decide the Constitutionality of marriage at all, choosing instead methods of dismissing the case that would let stand a lower court decision invalidating Prop 8.

      According to SCOTUS Blog, here are the possibilities of a dismissed case:
      First, a majority (the Chief Justice plus the liberal members of the Court) could decide that the petitioners lack standing. That would vacate the Ninth Circuit’s decision but leave in place the district court decision invalidating Proposition 8. […]

      Second, the Court may dismiss the case because of an inability to reach a majority. Justice Kennedy takes that view, and Justice Sotomayor indicated that she might join him. Others on the left may agree. That ruling would leave in place the Ninth Circuit’s decision.
      If the observers are right and the court chooses to dismiss the case, I expect them to do so on the basis of the Prop 8 proponents lacking standing, and I also think that would be the best outcome, barring an outright invalidation of Prop 8. Let me explain.

      Read more: http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2013/03/the-fate-of-prop-8-why-dismissal-on.html#more

  15. Now Streaming…

    3:00 PM ET
    Vice President Biden, Secretary Salazar, and Sen. Tom Carper deliver remarks at the newly designated First State National Monument at the Sheriff’s Office
    New Castle, Delaware

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    • Biden in New Castle: ‘A proud moment’ for Delaware

      Mar 26, 2013 delawareonline

      NEW CASTLE — Vice President Joe Biden spoke from the Old Sheriff’s House in Old New Castle this afternoon to celebrate the new, three-part First State National Monument, calling it a “proud moment for all of us here in Delaware.”

      President Barack Obama signed a proclamation today designating Delaware’s first national monument. It includes several historic sites in Delaware: the courthouse complex in New Castle, which includes the Old Sherriff’s House, the New Castle Green, The Green in Dover, and the 1,100-acre Woodlawn Trust Property near Brandwyine Creek State Park.

      The federal government now owns the the Old Sheriff’s House and the Woodlawn property, which was donated by The Conservation Fund, which had purchased the property using a $20 million gift from the Mount Cuba Center, a former du Pont estate that was reopened to promote native plants of the Piedmont.

      For more: http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20130326/NEWS02/303260076/1004/RSS05

      —————————-

      Joe Biden at First State National Monument Event

      Published on Mar 26, 2013

      The Vice President returned to his home state to commemorate the first National Park for the First State. The event was in old New Castle, Delaware.

  16. Great thread CR. Hope all is well. Just dropped by to catch up. Very proud that PBO just appointed the first woman as head of the Secret Service.

    • Hi COS! I am also proud of him! Thanks for the heads up on Ms Pierson as PBO’s new Director of Secret Service 😉

  17. March 26, 2013

    President Obama Announces A Key Administration Post

    WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individual to a key Administration post:

    Julia A. Pierson – Director of the United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security

    President Obama said, “I am pleased to announce that I will appoint Julia A. Pierson to be the next Director of the United States Secret Service. Over her 30 years of experience with the Secret Service, Julia has consistently exemplified the spirit and dedication the men and women of the service demonstrate every day. A veteran of the Miami and Orlando field offices, where she began her career at the Secret Service, Julia has served as the Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Protective Operations, Assistant Director of Human Resources and Training, and most recently as the Chief of Staff. Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own. Julia has had an exemplary career, and I know these experiences will guide her as she takes on this new challenge to lead the impressive men and women of this important agency.”

    President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individual to a key Administration post:

    Julia A. Pierson, Appointee for Director of the United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security

    Julia A. Pierson currently serves as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Director of the United States Secret Service (USSS). Prior to her current role, from 2006 to 2008, she served as USSS Assistant Director of the Office of Human Resources and Training. Ms. Pierson’s previous leadership roles within the USSS include: Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Protective Operations (2005-2006), Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Administration (2001-2005), and Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Protective Operations (2000-2001). Ms. Pierson joined the USSS in 1983 as a Special Agent in Miami, Florida. Prior to joining the USSS, Ms. Pierson was a police officer in the Orlando Police Department from 1980 to 1983. She received a B.A. from the University of Central Florida.

    • President Obama will appoint Julia Pierson, a veteran U.S. Secret Service agent and senior official, as the first female director of the agency. Pierson does not need Senate confirmation, so Senate Republicans cannot filibuster her or make absurd demands before a confirmation vote.

      Source: 3/26/13 maddowblog

  18. March 26, 2013

    Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 933

    On Tuesday, March 26, 2013, the President signed into law:

    H.R. 933, the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013,” in which Divisions A through E provide fiscal year (FY) 2013 full-year appropriations through September 30, 2013, for the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and other related agencies; Division F provides for further continuing FY 2013 funding through September 30, 2013 for the remaining projects and activities of the Federal Government funded through discretionary appropriations not covered in Divisions A through E; and Division G includes across-the-board reductions for FY 2013 discretionary appropriations contained in Divisions A through F to assure compliance with the discretionary spending limits.

    • March 26, 2013

      Letter from the President — Regarding Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism

      Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

      In accordance with section 5 of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, I hereby designate for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism all funding (including the rescission of funds) so designated by the Congress in the Act pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as amended, as outlined in the enclosed list of accounts.

      The details of this action are set forth in the enclosed memorandum from the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

      Sincerely,

      BARACK OBAMA

  19. Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama attends meetings at the White House

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:30 AM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden receive the presidential daily briefing

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    12:15 PM
    White House Press Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:25 PM
    President Obama is interviewed by Univision .

    2:40 PM
    President Obama is interviewed by Telemundo.

    3:00 PM
    President Obama hosts the swearing-in ceremony of Julia Pierson as the Secret Service director; Vice President Biden administers the oath of office.
    Oval Office

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  20. Obama to talk immigration with Telemundo, Univision

    3/26/13 5:17 PM ED By JENNIFER EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

    President Obama will sit for interviews Wednesday with Telemundo and Univision to talk immigration reform.

    Both interviews with the Spanish-language networks will air at 6:30 p.m. ET.

    Obama did a pair of interviews with Telemundo and Univision in late January, and said then that he hoped to see comprehensive immigration reform become law by summer.

    The president indicated then that he was — for the time being — leaving the development of legislation to members of Congress who were showing signs of bipartisan cooperation. During a naturalization ceremony at the White House on Monday, Obama said that he was still waiting on Congress but expected to see the debate ramp up in the coming weeks.

    Continue Reading: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/03/obama-to-talk-immigration-with-telemundo-160266.html

  21. Supreme Court indicates it may strike down marriage law

    3/27/13 By Lawrence Hurley and David Ingram | Reuters – 1 hr 4 mins ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Several Supreme Court justices on Wednesday indicated interest in striking down a law that denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, presenting the possibility of a major change in a few months in gay marriage law.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, a potential swing vote, warned of the “risks” that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) infringes upon the traditional role of the states in defining marriage.

    The 1996 U.S. law denies married same-sex couples access to federal benefits by defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Kennedy referred to DOMA as “inconsistent” because it purports to give authority to the states to define marriage while limiting recognition of those determinations.

    The court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of June.
    On the liberal side of the bench, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan echoed some of Kennedy’s concerns about the states’ rights issue.

    “What gives the federal government the right to be concerned at all about the definition of marriage?” Sotomayor said.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also raised concerns about the law, stressing how important federal recognition is to any person who is legally married.

    “It affects every area of life,” she said.

    Comparing marriage status with types of milk, Ginsburg said that a gay marriage endorsed by a state, but not recognized by the federal government, could be viewed as the equivalent of “skim milk.”

    The law is the focus of a second day of oral arguments before the high court as it tackles the gay marriage issue.

    It is possible the court would not reach the wider issue in the DOMA case because of preliminary legal matters relating to whether the court can hear it.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-next-gay-marriage-case-eyes-federal-050121766.html

  22. 3:00 PM ET
    President Obama hosts the swearing-in ceremony of Julia Pierson as the Secret Service director; Vice President Biden administers the oath of office.
    Oval Office

    • March 27, 2013

      Remarks by the President at Swearing-in Ceremony of Julia Pierson as the Director of the U.S. Secret Service

      Oval Office

      3:16 P.M. EDT

      (The Vice President administers the oath to Ms. Pierson.)

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Congratulations.

      THE PRESIDENT: Great job.

      MS. PIERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. President.

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Well, listen, I have to say that Julia’s reputation within the Service is extraordinary. She’s come up through the ranks. She’s done just about every job there is to do at the Secret Service.

      Obviously, she’s breaking the mold in terms of directors of the agency, and I think that people are all extraordinarily proud of her. And we have the greatest confidence in the wonderful task that lies ahead and very confident that she is going to do a great job. So we just want to say congratulations.

      As Joe Biden pointed out, this person now probably has more control over our lives than anyone else — (laughter) — except for our spouses. And I couldn’t be placing our lives in better hands than Julia’s.

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: And my agents are excited that we picked her.

      THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely. You’re going to do a great job.

      Q How did you make your decision?

      THE PRESIDENT: She has extraordinary qualifications, and I think a lot of people who have worked with Julia know how dedicated, how professional, how committed she is, and I think are absolutely certain that she’s going to thrive in this job.

      Thank you, guys.

      Q How are you feeling about your bracket, sir?

      THE PRESIDENT: Busted. (Laughter.) I think my women’s bracket is doing much better than my men’s bracket.

      END
      3:18 P.M. EDT

  23. Ashley Judd says she won’t run for Senate in Kentucky

    3/27/13 By Chris Moody, Yahoo! News | The Ticket – 43 mins ago

    Ashley Judd, a Democrat who was mulling a challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his Kentucky Senate seat in 2014, won’t run after all, the actress announced Wednesday.

    “After serious and thorough contemplation, I realize that my responsibilities and energy at this time need to be focused on my family,” Judd said in an announcement on her Twitter page.

    “Regretfully, I am currently unable to consider a campaign for the Senate. I have spoken to so many Kentuckians over these last few months who expressed their desire for a fighter for the people & new leader. While that won’t be me at this time, I will continue to work as as hard as I can to ensure the needs of Kentucky families are met by returning this Senate seat to whom it rightfully belongs: the people and their needs, dreams, and great potential.”

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/ashley-judd-won-t-run-senate-kentucky-report-211208871–election.html

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