Obama administration urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down DOMA
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/ .
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.
- June 28, 2013 President Obama Announces Extension of Federal Employee Benefits
- June 28, 2013 The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announces benefits to Federal employees and annuitants who have legally married a spouse of the same sex
- August 14, 2013 Department of Defense Announces Same-Sex Spouse Benefits
- August 29, 2013 Treasury and IRS Announce That All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized For Federal Tax Purposes.
- August 29, 2013 Social Security Announces the Processing of claims for same-sex couples
- October 31, 2013 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed the chief of the National Guard Bureau to meet with the adjutants general of nine [of the remaining] states [not in compliance] to resolve the issue of those states denying ID cards to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities.
- February 10, 2014 Attorney General Eric Holder announced changes within the Justice Department to benefit same-sex married couples such as the option to not testify against their partners, ablilty to file for bankruptcy jointly, spousal visits and contacts for Federal prison inmates, benefits granted to the survivors of public safety officers who are killed in the line of duty.
- June 20, 2014 President Obama announces a rule that makes legally married same-sex couples eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act in all 50 states
- October 25, 2014 Attorney General Holder Announces Federal Government to Recognize Same-Sex Married Couples in Six Additional States
- February 23, 2015 Secretary of State John Kerry announces Randy Berry as the first-ever Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons
- June 9, 2015 Department of Defense Extends Non-Discrimination Protections for LGB Troops
. “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.”
US LGBT Rights Timeline 1903-2016 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)