Posts Tagged ‘DOMA’
U.S. restrictions on same-sex marriage are making it harder for Wall Street to attract some foreign workers, said executives including R. Martin Chavez, who leads equities trading for Goldman Sachs…
Chavez, a 49-year-old U.S. citizen, cited his own story as an example of the potential hurdles those restrictions create, saying they almost forced him to leave the country. He married his partner last year, which proved to be problematic when they tried to replace his partner’s student visa.
“We got married in the state of New York,” Chavez said at the event, which was held at Goldman Sachs’s Manhattan headquarters. “You’d think this would be a wonderful thing, except we ended up in this crazed paradox where because we were married in the state of New York, that created the presumption of his attempt to immigrate, which meant he would not be eligible for a student F-1 visa.”
Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing, the marriage doesn’t give Chavez’s partner the right to immigrate or obtain a green card permitting him to live and work in the country.
After several months of interviews and paperwork, Chavez’s husband received a new visa. In the meantime, Chavez said he spoke to Goldman Sachs executives about moving his role to London if his husband wasn’t allowed back into the U.S. He also considered retiring from his job running the largest equity- trading business in the world and moving abroad…
While the issue affects only a limited number of employees, it can result in significant costs for companies that have to move workers out of the U.S. or in lost productivity from dealing with an employee’s or partner’s immigration status, Alisa Seminara, associate general counsel for Citigroup said at the event…
The immigration issues will probably be remedied if the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, which defines marriage as a heterosexual union and prohibits gay spouses from claiming federal benefits, Rachel Tiven at Immigration Equality said. The court may rule on the case by the end of June. Activists are also pushing for inclusion of same-sex rights in an immigration bill being debated in Congress…
Overdue. But, then, that’s always been the lot of civil rights in America.
The most reactionary elements in our land seem to spend a significant portion of their waking life working to manipulate Congress – and state and local government – into denying full civil rights for ordinary citizens feared and hated by cowards and bigots.
Biology has returned to the nation’s highest court. It’s not Darwin’s theory of evolution on the docket this time, but the nature of sex. Defenders of Proposition 8, California’s ban on gay marriage, base their case on what they call the “objective biological fact” that procreation is an exclusively heterosexual process. Citing the 18th-century English jurist William Blackstone, they argue that marriage should be “founded in nature.”
Evolution or sexuality, the same religious conservatives bring their ignorance to court.
This invocation of nature echoes other voices. Last December, before Pope Benedict XVI resigned, he used his Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia to deplore what he called a “new philosophy of sexuality” that manipulates and denies nature. Roy S. Moore, re-elected last fall as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, once let rip with less measured language, exclaiming in a child-custody case that homosexuality was “a crime against nature and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” Meanwhile, Tennessee legislators have repeatedly sought the prohibition of any sexual education “inconsistent with natural human reproduction.” None of this is, in fact, new: Oscar Wilde’s trials hinged on the courts’ understanding of natural love and unnatural vice.
References to biology coat these arguments with a gloss of scientific rigor. But before we write nature into law, let’s take a stroll outside the Supreme Court’s chambers and check those biological facts. Descending the steps of the court, we enter Washington’s planted landscape, a formal park where nature stands alongside patriotic monuments and federal buildings. There is no shortage of counsel about biology here.
The grandeur of the National Mall is rightly famous. Less well known are the hermaphroditic sex lives of many of its inhabitants. Japanese cherry trees break bud in explosions of pink; male and female coexist at the heart of each flower. The American elms that frame the Mall’s lawns present a more reserved countenance to the world. But their inconspicuous lime-green flowers are biologically bisexual. Ginkgo, another tree common in Washington, follows a Prop 8-approved sexual separation, growing as discrete males and females. But even the ginkgo will sometimes surprise horticulturalists with a stray flower of the other sex.
The nation’s most influential pediatrician’s group has endorsed gay marriage, saying a stable relationship between parents regardless of sexual orientation contributes to a child’s health and well-being.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ new policy…cites research showing that the parents’ sexual orientation has no effect on a child’s development. Kids fare just as well in gay or straight families when they are nurturing and financially and emotionally stable…
The academy believes that a two-parent marriage is best equipped to provide that kind of environment. Their policy says that if a child has two gay parents who choose to marry, “it is in the best interests of their children that legal and social institutions allow and support them to do so.”
The policy cites reports indicating that almost 2 million U.S. children are being raised by gay parents, many of them in states that don’t allow gays to marry.
The academy announced its position Thursday. Officials with the group said they wanted to make the academy’s views known before two gay marriage cases are considered by the U.S. Supreme Court next week…
The pediatricians’ stance is not surprising. They previously joined other national groups including the American Medical Association in supporting one of the Supreme Court cases, which contends the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The academy also previously supported adoption by gay parents.
The academy’s statement notes that several other national health groups have supported gay marriage. Those are the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and the American College of Nursing.
Dr. Ben Siegel, a Boston pediatrician and chairman of an academy committee that developed the new policy, said its focus is on “nurturing children. We want what’s best for children.”
Not that it means much to folks whose hearts and minds haven’t left the Dark Ages, yet. Fact remains, most bigots are as anti-science as they are anti-human beings living with basic civil rights.
Nakisha Hardy spent the first nine months of her marriage on a remote Army base in Afghanistan, a tour of duty punctuated by sporadic mortar blasts and constant e-mails to her spouse back home.
The strains of that separation lingered even after First Lt. Hardy returned to Fort Bragg in September. So she signed up for a military retreat to help soldiers and their husbands and wives cope with the pressures of deployments and relocations.
But less than 24 hours after arriving at the retreat, she and her spouse were told to leave. The military chaplains who organized the program last month said that the couple was making others uncomfortable. They said they had determined that under federal law the program could serve only heterosexual married couples.
Anyone surprised a biblethumper decided bigotry was more important than helping service personnel?
Lieutenant Hardy is a lesbian in a same-sex marriage who had hoped that the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011 would allow her to fully participate in military life. But she and many other gay and bisexual service members say they continue to encounter a raft of rules and regulations barring them from receiving benefits and privileges routinely accorded to heterosexual service members…
Gay marriage is now legal in nine states and in Washington, D.C. But because same-sex marriages are not recognized under federal law, the spouses of gay service members are barred from receiving medical and dental insurance and surviving spouse benefits and are not allowed to receive treatment in military medical facilities. Spouses are also barred from receiving military identification cards, which provide access to many community activities and services on base, including movie theaters, day care centers, gyms and commissaries.
Gay service members who are married are not permitted to receive discounted housing that is routinely provided to heterosexual married couples.
Don’t waste too much time on the crap states’ rights excuses offered by politicians and pundits. The military can ignore that hogwash easy as pie whenever they honestly feel like doing so.
No – this is one more instance of professional bigots in the Pentagon and Congress quietly backing up the good old boys club that still won’t give up on their stupid ideology.
…One of the first acts of the Republican leadership is to continue their $1.7 million defense of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, despite the defeat of one of its champions, former Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Sacramento.
DOMA is under Supreme Court review, and as we know, the Obama administration abandoned its DOMA defense nearly a year ago, after which it was taken up by House Republicans.
…Republicans buried the DOMA provision in their rules package, making no mention of it publicly. That left the field wide open to Democrats to hammer away.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said the GOP “fiscal responsibility mantra does not extend to their efforts to stand firmly on the wrong side of the future. Republicans will take the extraordinary measure of including an authorization of their efforts to defend DOMA in the Rules of the House of Representatives and by doing so, continue to spend taxpayer funds, already adding up to $1.7 million, in their attempts to defend this shameful law in federal courts and the Supreme Court.”
Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, lambasted Republicans for not allowing an up-or-down majority vote on a stand-alone DOMA defense, instead of hiding it in the rules package.
“On this defining issue of our time, House Republicans are continuing to fight for discrimination and using the Rules package to make it seem as if all Members of the House feel that way”…
These creeps always say they campaigned on Jobs, Jobs, Jobs – turn their back on jobs to continue a pattern of bigotry and class loyalty, introducing bills to squash Obamacare, spending taxpayer dollars on DOMA, ignoring their reduction in ranks to continue the Kool Aid Party mantra.
Log Cabin Republicans have to be world leaders in masochism, continuing to support politicians who characterize them as a Satanic abomination. I guess that for a tiny corner of the Gay community, class still counts for more than liberty.
The Supreme Court has seized center stage in a historic social policy debate over same-sex marriage by agreeing to review the validity under the Constitution of a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
In an order, the court also announced that it would consider a challenge to California’s ban on gay marriage, known as Proposition 8, which voters narrowly approved in 2008.
Same-sex marriage is a hot-button issue in a country where 31 of the 50 states have passed constitutional amendments banning it while Washington, D.C., and nine states have legalized it, three of them on Election Day last month.
Yet even where it is legal, married same-sex couples do not qualify for a host of federal benefits because the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, passed by Congress, only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman.
Gays and lesbians married under state laws have filed suits challenging their denial of such benefits as Social Security survivor payments and the right to file joint federal tax returns. They argue the provision, known as Section 3, violates equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
The court could follow the model of some lower courts and rule narrowly…or it could demonstrate the courage of previous courts and come down on the side of equal civil rights for all Americans, recognize a right to marriage equality.
My concerns are obvious, the same experienced by any American confronting the political theater our legal system has become. There is no shortage of bigots and fools who would apply the heart of constitutional freedoms only to a limited number of citizens. Egalitarian law applied to all citizens doesn’t occur to many who base their beliefs on superstition instead of science, privilege instead of equal opportunity.
I have more confidence in the legal flunkies of the Right who sit on the Supreme Court bench being more concerned – for once – with their image and reputation in future legal histories than with bending to the sound and fury of their class. It would be even more pleasing to see them stand up for the spirit of our constitution.
A small reminder of political opportunism selling out civil rights
The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Thursday became the second federal appellate court in the nation to rule that the Defense of Marriage Act violates equal protection by barring same-sex couples legally married under state law from receiving the federal benefits available to heterosexual couples.
Any sensible reading of the Constitution and basic fairness demand a repudiation of this discriminatory law. So far, seven federal courts, including district courts, have reached the same conclusion about this improper denial of benefits. The next stop should be the Supreme Court.
The 2-to-1 ruling on Thursday came in the case of Edith Windsor, who married her partner of more than 40 years, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. Their marriage was recognized by New York State. Yet, when Mrs. Spyer died in 2009, Mrs. Windsor, now 83, was prevented by the act from claiming an exemption from the federal estate tax available for surviving spouses, and was required to pay $363,053 in estate taxes.
Judge Dennis Jacobs, a George H.W. Bush appointee who wrote the majority opinion, said the law’s defenders — namely Republicans in Congress who took up the cause after the Obama administration decided in 2011 not to defend the law — did not offer any good reason for treating married same-sex couples differently from their heterosexual counterparts…
The new ruling also marked a legal breakthrough, one sought by the Justice Department. It is the first federal appeals court ruling to recognize that discrimination against gay men and lesbians — like discrimination based on gender or directed against children born out of wedlock — must be subject to “heightened scrutiny.” This standard requires government to have an “exceptionally good” reason to justify the different treatment. (Racial discrimination is subject to an even more skeptical review.)…
The Supreme Court should dismiss this law out of hand. If the self-titled strict constructionists have any loyalty to principles enshrined in the US Constitution this will not be a problem. Unfortunately, like most ideologues, they cannot be trusted to rule on behalf of reason and trust in democratic law.
Sound reasoning, a defense of open democracy means nothing, of course, to bigots. Opportunism is as consistent with American legal proceedings as it is within the chambers of Congress.
Marlin Nabors & Jonathan Knight
A battle over a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman appears headed for the Supreme Court after an appeals court ruled Thursday that denying benefits to married gay couples is unconstitutional.
In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the 1996 law deprives gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples.
The court didn’t rule on the law’s more politically combustible provision — that states without same-sex marriage cannot be forced to recognize gay unions performed in states where it’s legal. It also wasn’t asked to address whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry…
The court, the first federal appeals panel to rule against the benefits section of the law, agreed with a lower court judge who in 2010 concluded that the law interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns. The ruling came in two lawsuits, one filed by the Boston-based legal group Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the other by state Attorney General Martha Coakley.
“For me, it’s more just about having equality and not having a system of first- and second-class marriages,” said plaintiff Jonathan Knight, a financial associate at Harvard Medical School who married Marlin Nabors in 2006.
“I think we can do better, as a country, than that,” said Knight, a plaintiff in the GLAD lawsuit.
Knight said the Defense of Marriage Act costs the couple an extra $1,000 a year because they cannot file a joint federal tax return.
Opponents of gay marriage…whined, beat their breasts, lashed each other with whips and chains and prayed for an end to Constitutional Law. Well – I don’t think they did all that publicly; but, it fits their screwed-up allegiance to superstition and 14th Century ideology.
Last year, President Barack Obama announced that the Department of Justice would no longer defend the constitutionality of the law. After that, House Speaker John Boehner convened the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend it. The legal group argued the case before the appeals court.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the appeals court ruling is “in concert with the president’s views.” Obama, who once opposed gay marriage, declared his unequivocal personal support on May 9…
States Rights will continue to be “respected”. Perish the thought a majority of some state’s yokelry be required to respect the civil rights of all the citizens of this nation.
Meanwhile, it’s a useful experience to see the federal courts of this nation moving in a positive and progressive direction – actually accomplishing the tasks for which they are chartered. Too bad we can’t say the same for Congress and – I’m afraid – the Supreme Court.
A federal judge has boosted the campaign for gay marriage by overturning a law which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.
Claudia Wilken, a district court judge for the northern district of California, ruled on Thursday that congress acted unconstitutionally in discriminating against gay couples in the 1996 Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA)…
Gay rights campaigners welcomed the ruling. “This adds to the momentum for overturning this radical and discriminatory law,” said Evan Wolfson, of Freedom to Marry, an advocacy group.
Wilken, a Clinton-era appointee based in Oakland, a liberal bastion, was the third federal judge to find Doma unconstitutional following a ruling by judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts in 2010 and one by judge Jeffrey White in California earlier this year…
DOMA, which was championed by opponents of gay marriage, defines marriage as “a legal union of a one man and one woman as husband and wife”. It withholds multiple federal benefits, including joint tax filing and immigration sponsorship, from gay couples legally married under state law.
Wilken said gays and lesbians were constitutionally protected from “burdensome legislation that is the product of sheer antigay animus and devoid of any legitimate governmental purpose“…
Wilken also overturned another 1996 law withholding federal tax benefits to long-term health insurance plans for state employees if they included domestic partners.
That, like Doma, was based on “moral condemnation and social disapprobation of same-sex couples,” she said. The judge cited congressional debate transcripts that same-sex domestic partnership was “an attack on the family” and would “undermine the traditional moral values that are the bedrock of this nation”.
Overdue. Of course.
The sort of bigots stuck into denying civil rights to Americans couldn’t care less about the history or value of our Constitution. All that is important to their narrow minds is retaining the sense of privilege their superstition values. Whether they feel “chosen” or “forgiven” is unimportant. All that counts in their petty lives is feeling somehow superior to some other American.
Their peers may choose color or religion or ethnic background as their target. This particular crowd relies on homophobia to justify their fear and hatred. They are all equally invalid and unconstitutional.
Just hours after President Obama announced on Wednesday that he supported same-sex marriage, the Department of Veterans Affairs said it would not defend the constitutionality of two federal laws that define marriage as between a man and a woman.
The declaration was made in a Connecticut case in which a disabled Navy veteran is challenging the constitutionality of the two laws, one of which is the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The former sailor, Carmen Cardona of Norwich, is asserting that the government improperly denied her benefits.
Ms. Cardona says that after she married her partner in 2010, the V.A. regional office rejected her application for a spousal increase in her monthly disability compensation, citing federal statute defining a spouse as “a person of the opposite sex.”
Last year, President Obama ordered the Department of Justice to stop defending the constitutionality of DOMA. But Ms. Cardona filed her complaint before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, where cases are generally argued by lawyers from the Department of Veterans Affairs, not from the Justice Department.
Until Wednesday, it had been unclear whether the V.A. would continue to defend the law.
In a statement released through her lawyers at the veterans legal services clinic at Yale Law School, Ms. Cardona said: “I am proud that Secretary Shinseki has joined me, the Connecticut Attorney General, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America and so many others in recognizing that all veteran families deserve fair treatment.”
The Republican-controlled House has hired a private lawyer to handle the DOMA cases the Obama administration has decided not to defend.
Just in case you wondered who is committed to screwing over veterans who happen to be gay.