WBEZ | DOMA http://www.wbez.org/tags/doma Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Advocates ask for quick rulings in gay marriage cases http://www.wbez.org/news/advocates-ask-quick-rulings-gay-marriage-cases-108017 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/doma_shawn.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-23e84928-ca24-11d0-f295-8d4f26b1b71a">Lawyers for 25 Illinois gay couples are asking a Cook County judge to skip a trial and declare the state&rsquo;s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, pointing to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that will grant some federal benefits to legally married gay couples.</p><p dir="ltr">Attorneys for the couples filed a motion for summary judgement on Wednesday, arguing the justices&rsquo; <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-strikes-down-federal-provision-denying-benefits-legally-married-gay-couples">decision</a> to overturn a part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last month adds new urgency to their cause.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Illinois is now the only thing standing between these families and the numerous federal protections, benefits, rights and responsibilities that go to married families,&rdquo; said Lambda Legal lawyer Camilla Taylor, who is representing the couples along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.</p><p dir="ltr">The Supreme Court&rsquo;s decision paves the way for legally married same-sex couples to get some federal benefits previously reserved to heterosexual couples, such as veterans&rsquo; benefits or tax breaks.</p><p dir="ltr">But the decision <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-ruling-%E2%80%98bittersweet%E2%80%99-illinois-civil-union-couples-107867">likely won&rsquo;t apply</a> to Illinois couples who have entered into civil unions, or even couples who have been legally married in one of the 13 states that <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/human-services/same-sex-marriage-overview.aspx">currently allow</a> same-sex marriage. The couples are now asking that a Cook County judge quickly strike down the state&rsquo;s gay marriage ban, saying civil unions don&rsquo;t provide equal protections in light of the high court&rsquo;s ruling.</p><p dir="ltr">For 81-year-old James Darby, a Korean War veteran who is a plaintiff in the case, that means Illinois law will prevent him from being buried in a military cemetery alongside his partner of 50 years.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I served my country and I come back home, and I expect to have the same rights as everybody else,&rdquo; Darby said Wednesday. &ldquo;But unfortunately, I am considered second-class citizen in my own home state.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But the recent Supreme Court decision doesn&rsquo;t mean states aren&rsquo;t allowed to make their own marriage laws, said Peter Breen, a lawyer with the conservative Thomas More Society. His group is defending the state law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, which was passed in 1996.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;There was nothing discriminatory about that action,&rdquo; Breen said, referring to the state law. &ldquo;And a decision in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court, on an issue of federal law, doesn&rsquo;t somehow make our Illinois state law defining marriage unconstitutional.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Breen accuses the plaintiffs in the case of dragging their feet to avoid a debate on the merits of the state law. Arguments on whether to dismiss the case are set for Aug. 6.</p><p dir="ltr">The 25 same-sex couples from around Illinois first filed their lawsuits <a href="http://www.wbez.org/years-groundwork%E2%80%94and-waiting%E2%80%94behind-illinois-gay-marriage-suits-99965">last year</a>, after each was denied a marriage license by the Cook County Clerk&rsquo;s office. But in a rare <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-states-attorney-illinois-same-sex-marriage-ban-unconstitutional-100101">move</a>, Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Attorney General Lisa Madigan - both Democrats - refused to defend the state&rsquo;s gay marriage ban in court, saying they thought the state law was unconstitutional. A judge has since allowed some downstate county clerks to act as <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/downstate-county-clerks-move-defend-gay-marriage-ban-100583">defendants</a> in the case.</p><p dir="ltr">A measure to legalize same-sex marriage is still stuck in the Illinois General Assembly, after lawmakers left Springfield in May <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/illinois-lawmakers-skip-same-sex-marriage-vote-107480">without taking a vote</a> on it.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Alex Keefe covers politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/akeefe" target="_blank">@akeefe</a></em></p></p> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 14:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/advocates-ask-quick-rulings-gay-marriage-cases-108017 Chicago Pride Parade crowd tops 1 million http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-pride-parade-crowd-tops-1-million-107906 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/PrideParade2013.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago police say more than 1 million participated in the Chicago&#39;s Pride Parade.</p><p>The number is a big spike from last year&#39;s roughly 850,000. Organizers said the Supreme Court&#39;s recent decisions energized people and pleasant weather during the day helped.</p><p>A coalition of supporters known as Illinois Unites for Marriage had promised a diverse, statewide group at the event.</p><p>The annual Pride Parade took place Sunday on the city&rsquo;s North Side.</p><p>It kicked off at noon on Montrose Avenue and Broadway Street, eventually winding its way down to Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road on Chicago&rsquo;s North Side.</p><p>The Illinois Senate approved legislation in February that would legalize same-sex marriage. But the House adjourned last month without voting on the measure, after sponsor Rep. Greg Harris said he didn&#39;t have the votes for it to pass.</p><p>But most attendees didn&rsquo;t have politics on their mind as they danced and celebrated pride for the gay community.</p><p>State politicians made an appearance despite the fact that they didn&rsquo;t call the same sex marriage bill up for a vote in the Illinois House just a few weeks ago.</p><p>Illinois Governor Pat Quinn made his way down the parade route and even though he&rsquo;s expressed his support for same sex marriage, riled up a few people in the crowd.</p><p>Erin Dunmoore from Will County said she felt like he and others were pandering to the crowd.</p><p>&ldquo;They are talking the talk but not doing what counts, so that&rsquo;s disappointing.&rdquo;</p><p>Some people in attendance were there for the first time.</p><p>Karen Enciso came from Mexico and said she was quite impressed with the turnout.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m straight, but we are individuals, there has to be no difference. Sexuality is a decision and everyone has to be free for that.&rdquo;</p><p>Alexander Roi, who has attended the parade for the last 17 years, said Illinois needs to step up and move towards equality for all.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody else is going to be doing it. It&rsquo;s about taxes, it&rsquo;s about rights, it&rsquo;s about everything equal for everyone.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Mariam Sobh is the midday and weekend news anchor at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/mariamsobh" target="_blank">@mariamsobh</a>. The Associated Press contributed to this report. </em></p></p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 07:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-pride-parade-crowd-tops-1-million-107906 Take 'Pride' in gay cinema http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/take-pride-gay-cinema-107890 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/weekend.jpg" style="height: 455px; width: 610px; " title="Tom Cullen and Chris New play lovers in the 2011 British film &quot;Weekend.&quot; (Sundance Selects)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">This week, the U.S. Supreme Court declared a key part of DOMA <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/26/read-the-supreme-court-declares-doma-unconstitutional/" target="_blank">unconstitutional</a>, and also struck down Prop 8 to allow <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/supreme-court-prop-8_n_3434854.html" target="_blank">full marriage rights</a> to gay couples in the state of California.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>To celebrate this momentous victory (and gear up for the 44th <a href="http://chicagopride.gopride.com" target="_blank">Annual Chicago Pride Parade</a> on Sunday, June 30), why not have a movie marathon of the greatest LGBTQ films of all time?</p><p>Here&#39;s my top 15:</p><p><strong>15. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0960730/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1" target="_blank">Beautiful Darling</a></strong></p><p>A captivating documentary about the colorful and ultimately tragic life of Andy Warhol superstar (and one of the most beautiful transgender women to emerge from any era) Candy Darling.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>14. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318997/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Angels in America</a></strong></p><p>Though technically a television miniseries, this filmed adaptation of a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angels_in_america" target="_blank">Pulitzer-Prize winning play</a>&nbsp;earns a spot on this list because of the exceptional acting (especially Al Pacino as the fiercely closeted, AIDS-stricken attorney Ray Cohn) and a powerful story about the shifting social and political climate of the 1980s that still resonates today.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>13. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0171804/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Boys Don&#39;t Cry</a></strong></p><p>Hilary Swank gives a stunning, Oscar-winning performance as Brandon Teena, a real-life transgender teen who was raped and murdered in 1993 rural Nebraska after a group of men discovered his secret.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>12. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1714210/?ref_=sr_3" target="_blank">Weekend</a></strong></p><p>This 2011 British drama about two men who meet and begin a sexual relationship the week before one of them plans to leave the country is reminiscent of <em>Before Sunrise</em>: a smart and perceptive take on star-crossed lovers that feels achingly, intimately real.</p><p><strong>11. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112651/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">The Celluloid Closet</a></strong></p><p>If you are intrigued by the depiction of homosexuals on film&mdash;from the heavily-censored Golden Age of Hollywood through the renaissance of the early 1990s&mdash; then this documentary (featuring interviews with Tony Curtis, Shirley Maclaine, Tom Hanks and Harvey Fierstein) is a must-see.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>10. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1315981/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">A Single Man</a></strong></p><p>Directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, this artful and exquisite film tells the story of a college professor (Colin Firth) secretly grieving the death of his male partner in 1960s Los Angeles.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>9. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0248845/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Hedwig and the Angry Inch</a></strong></p><p>Writer/director/star James Cameron Mitchell is a lightning rod of camp and innovation, turning his groundbreaking off-Broadway musical about an <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedwig_and_the_Angry_Inch_(musical)" target="_blank">angry transgender rock star</a>&nbsp;into a movie that both satisfies the show&#39;s cult following and invites a new audience into Hedwig&#39;s irresistably bizzaro world.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>8. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0842926/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">The Kids Are All Right</a></strong></p><p>Some people hate this movie; I love it. The family dynamic, especially the committed yet complex relationship between long term partners Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), is a breath of fresh air in modern filmmaking: a remarkable story that portrays gay parents and their children like any other &quot;normal&quot; (loving, devoted and slightly dysfunctional) family on the block.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>7. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0275491/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Bad Education</a></strong></p><p>Pedro Almódovar is one of my favorite directors, and this film is one of his most ingenious masterpieces to date. The effect of religious schooling and sexual abuse on the lives of two men&mdash;estranged friends who grow up with a wealth of secrets and lies between them&mdash;is told with eye-popping color, frenzied edits and a story so full of shocking twists and turns that it must be seen to be believed.</p><p><strong>6. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1013753/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Milk</a></strong></p><p>Sean Penn&#39;s Oscar-winning performance as gay rights hero&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Milk" target="_blank">Harvey Milk</a>&nbsp;is a triumph, and director Gus Van Sant also does a fine job in bringing Milk&#39;s inspiring true story to richly cinematic life. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>5. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388795/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Brokeback Mountain</a></strong></p><p>In 2005, this beautiful and heartwrenching film about the forbidden love between two cowboys (played by A-listers Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger) not only changed the way that typically conservative audiences perceived gay romances onscreen, but also broke down the barriers for films featuring homosexual love interests to enjoy mainstream success.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>4. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119590/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Ma Vie en Rose</a></strong></p><p>As another film that changed the dialogue about LGBTQ issues in the U.S. and around the world, 1997&#39;s&nbsp;<em>Ma Vie En Rose</em> (&quot;My Life in Pink&quot;) should be required viewing for every parent or peer of a transgendered child. The story of a little boy named Ludovic who dresses like a princess and dreams of becoming a girl was revolutionary at the time, and continues to ring true for any family learning to accept their child for who they are.</p><p><strong>3. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109045/?ref_=sr_6" target="_blank">The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert</a></strong></p><p>This 1985 Australian comedy was a huge hit overseas, and it&#39;s not difficult to see why. Two drag queens and a transsexual (an endlessly delightful trio played by Guy Pierce, Hugo Weaving and Terrance Stamp) put on a cabaret in the middle of the desert. Hilarity ensues.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102494/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">My Own Private Idaho</a></strong></p><p>Take the perfect casting of River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves as gay hustlers, combine with the surrealist direction of Gus Van Sant and add a non-linear storyline set against the backdrop of early &#39;90s Portland for a film that re-defined &quot;indie&quot; for a new generation.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>1. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100332/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Paris is Burning</a></strong></p><p>In my opinion, this chronicle of New York City&#39;s drag scene in the late 1980s (including the vivacious, voguing performers who dream of becoming something more) is one of the most important and influential documentaries ever made. Do yourself a favor and see it&mdash;because if your experience watching this film is anything like mine, then it will change your life forever.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Honorable Mentions </strong>(not so much because I love them, but because they are beloved): <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089015/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Desert Hearts</a> (1985),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115736/?ref_=sr_3" target="_blank">Bound</a>&nbsp;(1996), <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069089/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank">Pink Flamingos</a>&nbsp;(1972), <a href="http://wiki" target="_blank">But I&#39;m a Cheerleader</a>&nbsp;(1999)&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073629/" target="_blank">The Rocky Horror Picture Show</a>&nbsp;(1975).&nbsp;</p><p>What are your favorite LGBTQ films?</p><p><em>Leah writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/take-pride-gay-cinema-107890 Indiana seeks ban on same-sex marriage despite historic ruling http://www.wbez.org/news/indiana-seeks-ban-same-sex-marriage-despite-historic-ruling-107885 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Indiana DOMA.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Despite the Supreme Court&rsquo;s ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is supporting a measure that would ban gay marriage as part of the state constitution.</p><p>Same-sex marriage is already outlawed in Indiana, but Pence says voters should decide whether to solidify that with a vote on a state constitutional amendment in 2014.</p><p>&ldquo;Now that the Supreme Court has had its say on the federal government&rsquo;s role in defining marriage, the people of Indiana should have their say about how marriage is understood and defined in our state,&rdquo; Pence said Wednesday. &ldquo;Given that opportunity, I am confident that Hoosiers will reaffirm our commitment to traditional marriage and will consider this important question with civility and respect for the values and dignity of all of the people of our state. I look forward to supporting efforts by members of the Indiana General Assembly to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot for voter consideration next year.&rdquo;</p><p>Legislative leaders say they will push ahead with the effort after the Supreme Court handed down a pair of rulings leaving the marriage question with the states. Pence said he continues to support defining marriage as being between one man and one woman.</p><p>&ldquo;Marriage matters. I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman and is a unique institution worth defending in our state and nation. For thousands of years, marriage has served as the glue that holds families and societies together and so it should ever be,&rdquo; Pence said in a statement.</p><p>If the constitutional ban passes the General Assembly next year, it would be placed on the Indiana ballot in 2014.</p><p>Indiana state Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, says there are more important things the Governor and others should be worried about, like reducing unemployment.</p><p>&ldquo;We need to fight for changes that make people&rsquo;s&nbsp; lives better not waste our people&rsquo;s vitality on still more division,&rdquo; Pelath said.</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana reporter Michael Puente on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">@MikePuenteNews</a>.</em></p><p><em>The Associated Press contributed to this report. </em></p></p> Thu, 27 Jun 2013 13:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/indiana-seeks-ban-same-sex-marriage-despite-historic-ruling-107885 Supreme Court ruling ‘bittersweet’ for Illinois civil-union couples http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-ruling-%E2%80%98bittersweet%E2%80%99-illinois-civil-union-couples-107867 <p><p>The U.S. Supreme Court&rsquo;s move to strike down the federal definition of marriage on Wednesday likely won&rsquo;t have much of an effect on the thousands of Illinois couples who have entered civil unions, according to legal activists.</p><p>The justices&rsquo; decision to invalidate a part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman, clears the way for married gay couples to qualify for some federal benefits previously granted only to heterosexual couples.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7322_DOMARallySmall%20%2817%20of%2024%29-scr%281%29.jpg" style="height: 233px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Chicago's Gay Liberation Network hosted a rally the evening that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down provisions of DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The court also sent back a decision on California's Prop 8. The event was mostly celebratory, but organizers pushed Chicago's LGBT community to press Illinois legislators to pass approval of same-sex marriage. Josh McGrane (left) and Jihad Id-Deen came to the rally together. (WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" />But most of those benefits likely will not apply to same-sex couples in Illinois civil unions, said Camilla Taylor, a lawyer with the gay rights group Lambda Legal.</p><p>&ldquo;As a general rule, couples in civil unions are gonna feel the hurt of discrimination on a federal level, as well as a state level,&rdquo; Taylor said. That&rsquo;s because most federal laws refer only to marriage, not civil unions, she said.</p><p>Same-sex civil unions, which confer some state-level legal benefits to couples, are currently allowed in six states, including Illinois. About 6,100 couples have applied for civil union licenses in the state through May, according to the state Department of Public Health.</p><p>But court&rsquo;s decision will only apply to couples in the thirteen states, and the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriages are currently allowed, Taylor said. Those couples could qualify for certain Social Security benefits, veterans benefits and immigration status, once federal agencies sort out their procedures in the wake of Wednesday&rsquo;s ruling.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7332_DOMARallySmall%20%284%20of%2024%29-scr.jpg" style="float: left; height: 450px; width: 300px;" title="Robert Castillo, 45, of Logan Square attended a rally hosted by Chicago's Gay Liberation Network the evening after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down provisions of DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The court also sent back a decision on California's Prop 8. The event was mostly celebratory, but organizers pushed Chicago's LGBT community to press Illinois legislators to pass approval of same-sex marriage. (WBEZ/Shawn Allee)" />&ldquo;There&rsquo;s certainly people who have gone to Iowa, or elsewhere&mdash;to another state or even to Canada to get married,&rdquo; said John Knight, director of the ACLU of Illinois&rsquo; LGBT project. &ldquo;That marriage is legal but it&rsquo;s not recognized by the state of Illinois as a marriage, it&rsquo;s recognized only as a civil union.&rdquo;</div></div><p>He says those marriages may be eligible for certain benefits but they&rsquo;re waiting for guidance from the federal government to make it clear that federal benefits are provided to those people even though the state doesn&rsquo;t recognize their marriage.</p><p>That&rsquo;s why news of Wednesday&rsquo;s court decisions was met with mixed emotions from couples like Lakeesha Harris and Janean Watkins, both from Chicago.</p><p>Two years ago, the pair became the first in Cook County to get a civil union license, after being together for about a decade.</p><p>But now, Harris, 38, said she feels elated, yet distant, from Wednesday&rsquo;s rulings.</p><p>&ldquo;For Illinois, in this middle ground, this holding place...it&rsquo;s very bittersweet,&rdquo; Harris said. &ldquo;Like, we&rsquo;re watching these federal laws progress, [but] here in the state of Illinois, not so much.&rdquo;</p><p>A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois fizzled in the waning hours of the legislative session last month, when its sponsor declined to call it up for a vote in the House. The bill has already cleared the State Senate, and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has vowed to sign it if it passes the General Assembly.</p><p>But Watkins, 39, said she hopes the rulings will add some momentum to the push for same-sex marriage in Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;Hopefully, that&rsquo;ll make some of the legislators and lawmakers see that, okay, it&rsquo;s not gonna make everything come to pieces,&rdquo; Watkins said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s gonna help economically, it&rsquo;s gonna help socially, it&rsquo;s gonna help in many different ways.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alex Keefe covers politcs for WBEZ. Follow him @<a href="http://twitter.com/akeefe" target="_blank">akeefe</a>. </em></p><p><em>WBEZ producer Katie O&#39;Brien contributed to this report. </em></p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 15:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-ruling-%E2%80%98bittersweet%E2%80%99-illinois-civil-union-couples-107867 Afternoon Shift: SCOTUS rules on DOMA, Prop 8 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-06-26/afternoon-shift-scotus-rules-doma-prop-8-107858 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rings.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SCOTUS rules on Prop 8 and DOMA. What will the impact be on marriage rights across the states? <script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-is-there-wheat-in-that-is-it-process.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-is-there-wheat-in-that-is-it-process" target="_blank">View the story "WBEZ: SCOTUS rules on Prop 8 and DOMA " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 13:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-06-26/afternoon-shift-scotus-rules-doma-prop-8-107858 Obama's statement on court's gay marriage ruling http://www.wbez.org/news/obamas-statement-courts-gay-marriage-ruling-107856 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP290984811016_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Obama&#39;s statement on court&#39;s gay marriage ruling<br />The Associated Press</p><p><br />WASHINGTON&nbsp; &mdash; President Barack Obama issued the following statement Wednesday in response to the Supreme Court&#39;s finding that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional:</p><p>___</p><p>I applaud the Supreme Court&#39;s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal - and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.</p><p>This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents&#39; marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.</p><p>So we welcome today&#39;s decision, and I&#39;ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.</p><p>On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation&#39;s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision - which applies only to civil marriages - changes that.</p><p>The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.</p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 11:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/obamas-statement-courts-gay-marriage-ruling-107856 Supreme Court strikes down federal provision denying benefits to legally married gay couples http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-strikes-down-federal-provision-denying-benefits-legally-married-gay-couples <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP656060618509_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In a major victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.</p><p>The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.</p><p>The other was a technical ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court&#39;s declaration that California&#39;s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation&#39;s most populous state in about a month.</p><p>In neither case did the court make a sweeping statement, either in favor of or against same-sex marriage. And in a sign that neither victory was complete for gay rights, the high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states. A separate provision of the federal marriage law that allows a state to not recognize a same-sex union from elsewhere remains in place.</p><p>President Barack Obama praised the court&#39;s ruling on the federal marriage act, which he labeled &quot;discrimination enshrined in law.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people,&quot; Obama said in a statement. &quot;The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it.&quot;</p><p>House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he was disappointed in the outcome of the federal marriage case and hoped states continue to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.</p><p>The ruling in the California case was not along ideological lines. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.</p><p>&quot;We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit,&quot; Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.</p><p>In the case involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court&#39;s liberal justices.</p><p>&quot;Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,&quot; Kennedy said.</p><p>&quot;DOMA&#39;s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,&quot; he said.</p><p>Some in the crowd outside the court hugged and others jumped up and down just after 10 a.m. EDT Wednesday when the DOMA decision was announced. Many people were on their cell phones monitoring Twitter, news sites and blogs for word of the decision. And there were cheers as runners came down the steps with the decision in hand and turned them over to reporters who quickly flipped through the decisions.</p><p>Chants of &quot;Thank you&quot; and &quot;USA&quot; came from the crowd as plaintiffs in the cases descended the court&#39;s marbled steps. Most of those in the crowd appeared to support gay marriage, although there was at least one man who held a sign promoting marriage as between a man and a woman.</p><p>Kennedy was joined in the DOMA decision by the court&#39;s four liberal justices.</p><p>Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, and Scalia dissented.</p><p>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.</p><p>The outcome is clear for people who were married and live in states that allow same-sex marriage. They now are eligible for federal benefits.</p><p>The picture is more complicated for same-sex couples who traveled to another state to get married, or who have moved from a gay marriage state since being wed.</p><p>Their eligibility depends on the benefits they are seeking. For instance, immigration law focuses on where people were married, not where they live. But eligibility for Social Security survivor benefits basically depends on where a couple is living when a spouse dies.</p><p>The rulings came 10 years to the day after the court&#39;s Lawrence v. Texas decision that struck down state bans on gay sex. In his dissent at the time, Scalia predicted the ruling would lead to same-sex marriage.</p><p>Massachusetts was the first state to allow gay couples to marry, in 2004. When same-sex unions resume in California, there will be 13 states representing 30 percent of the U.S. population where gay marriage is legal.</p><p>The other 11 are Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.</p><p>Outside the court, gay marriage proponents celebrated both wins.</p><p>May the marriages begin,&quot; said the Human Rights Campaign&#39;s Chad Griffin, who helped spearhead the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8. The two same-sex couples who sued for the right to marry also were at the court Wednesday.</p><p>In New York City&#39;s Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn, where a riot in 1969 sparked the gay rights movement, erupted in cheers and whooping.</p><p>Mary Jo Kennedy, 58 was there with her wife Jo-Ann Shain, 60, and their daughter Aliya Shain, 25.</p><p>She came with a sign that could be flipped either way and was holding up the side that says &quot;SCOTUS made our family legal&quot;.</p><p>They have been together 31 years and got married day it became legal in New York.</p><p>The broadest possible ruling would have given gay Americans the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals. The justices said nothing on that topic in either case.</p><p>The decisions Wednesday have no effect on the roughly three dozen states that do not allow same-sex marriage, including 29 that have enshrined the bans in their constitutions.</p><p>The federal marriage law, known by its acronym DOMA, had been struck down by several federal courts.</p><p>The justices chose for their review the case of 83-year-old Edith Windsor of New York, who sued to challenge a $363,000 federal estate tax bill after her partner of 44 years died in 2009.</p><p>Windsor, who goes by Edie, married Thea Spyer in 2007 after doctors told them Spyer would not live much longer. She suffered from multiple sclerosis for many years. Spyer left everything she had to Windsor.</p><p>Windsor would have paid nothing in inheritance taxes if she had been married to a man. And now she is eligible for a refund.</p><h2><strong>Listen: Stories and conversations on the road to today&#39;s SCOTUS decision</strong></h2><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F7148059&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 08:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-court-strikes-down-federal-provision-denying-benefits-legally-married-gay-couples Morning Shift: SCOTUS rules on Prop 8 and DOMA http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-26/morning-shift-scotus-rules-prop-8-and-doma-107849 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Gay Marriage Flickr- carlosmelia.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SCOTUS rules on Prop 8 and Doma. What will the impact be on marriage rights across the states?&nbsp;</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-is-there-wheat-in-that-is-it-process.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-is-there-wheat-in-that-is-it-process" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: SCOTUS rules on Prop 8 and DOMA " on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 08:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-06-26/morning-shift-scotus-rules-prop-8-and-doma-107849 Tea Leaves, Notes on Prop 8 and DOMA http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-03/tea-leaves-notes-prop-8-and-doma-106399 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7174_AP29021142819-scr.jpg" title="Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in DOMA, outside the Supreme Court (AP)" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>There seems to be a growing consensus that the Supreme Court will strike down the Defense of Marriage Act but step away from Prop 8, ruling that the plaintiffs in the case -- private citizens who led a public referendum to undo California&rsquo;s same sex marriage legalization -- don&rsquo;t actually have standing.<br /><br />If that&rsquo;s what they do -- and I tend to lean in that direction -- the net effect will mean that, on Prop 8, the ruling of the lower courts will stand: Prop 8 will be thrown out and same sex marriages will be legal in California again. The ruling will affect only California.<br /><br />Ruling DOMA unconstitutional will mean that same sex couples married in any one of the eight states and the District of Columbia that permit it will be eligible for all the rights and privileges of opposite sex couples -- and as the Justices pointed out, there are more than 1,000 benefits from which same sex married couples are currently excluded, including Social Security survivor benefits, military family housing, tax filing, etc.<br /><br />But here are a few other things to consider:<br /><br />* There may be no majority opinion on Prop 8. Justice Anthony Kennedy seemed torn between wanting the case tossed and not wanting to devalue referendum efforts. But some of the Justices may rule the law unconstitutional (probably Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Steven Breyer and Ruth Gingsburg), others may argue standing (Samuel Alito, John Roberts), and some may argue that Prop 8 should be upheld (Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas). If the majority opinion doesn&rsquo;t have five Justices signing it, there&rsquo;s no precedent. If the Justices don&rsquo;t rule it out on standing, this may be the only way out on Prop 8. Otherwise, the court will be forced into establishing a constitutional precedent: either there&rsquo;s a right to same sex marriage (which the conservatives don&rsquo;t want on the books) or there&rsquo;s not (which the liberals don&rsquo;t want). Prop 8 is all or nothing -- there&#39;s almost no way to narrow it down; ruling on standing avoids both of those conclusions, as does not getting a majority.<br /><br />* If the Justices strike down California&#39;s ban on gay marriage by upholding Prop 8, tossing the case, or not getting a majority, it would trigger marriage ban repeal efforts in other states. Forty-one states now ban same-sex marriage. On the other hand, a verdict to find Prop 8 unconstitutional would render all of those bans illegal without state recourse.<br /><br />* If the Justices rule that the citizen organizers of Prop 8 don&rsquo;t have standing, that the interests of the people of California can only be represented in court by elected officials such as the state&rsquo;s governor, attorney general or solicitor general, they will seriously cripple California&rsquo;s referendum system (perhaps not the worst thing that could happen, given the state&rsquo;s history of controversial, and frequently problematic, propositions).<br /><br />* Standing -- whether there is an actual adversarial relationship between the parties before the court -- may actually be more tentative in DOMA than in the Prop 8 case. In fact, the Justices appointed an attorney to argue there&rsquo;s no standing in DOMA but not in Prop 8.</p><p>In DOMA, the government has already determined the law is unconstitutional but has continued to enforce it in spite of lower rulings that agree. In other words, the Obama administration and Edie Windsor, the plaintiff, are on the same side. In the meantime, the people defending DOMA are with the House of Representatives&rsquo; Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG). Both Roberts and Scalia made a point of saying it was unprecedented for a case to come to the court in which the law was being defended by a group that had not sustained injury or, basically, had much to do with the original suit. Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader in the House, has argued BLAG does not, in fact, represent the House&rsquo;s interests but only that of the GOP leadership. (BLAG has racked up a a $3 million bill so far.)</p><p>If the court decides BLAG doesn&rsquo;t have standing, it&rsquo;s less clear what will happen. Most likely, there will be no precedent and DOMA will continue on the books until there&rsquo;s another case or until Congress repeals it. Windsor would most likely get her tax monies back, as ordered by the lower courts.<br /><br />* Should there be no decision on DOMA, and if the law gets kicked back to Congress for repeal, the votes would break straight down party lines in the Senate but not quite in the House. There are currently six Republicans who support repealing DOMA, and <a href="http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/doma-who-are-the-19-democrats-who-voted-for-doma-this-week/legislation/2011/07/08/23322">19 Democrats who support DOMA</a>, including two in Illinois: Jerry Costello and Dan Lipinsky.<br /><br />* The National Organization for Marriage has said that, should there be a vote for same sex marriage in either case, it will begin <a href="http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/nom-s-brown-invokes-lincoln-push-federal-marriage-amendment-we-cannot-be-half-slave-half-fre">a campaign</a> for a Federal Marriage amendment, banning marriage equality nationwide. &ldquo;We need a solution in this country, we cannot be, as Lincoln said, half slave, half free,&rdquo; said Brian Brown, NOM&rsquo;s president. The FMA has been around since 2002, when former Supreme Court aspirant Robert Bork helped draft it, but it&rsquo;s never had enough support to even come for a vote. Nothing suggests it would have any better success now.<br /><br /><br /><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 22:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-03/tea-leaves-notes-prop-8-and-doma-106399