Supreme Court takes up same-sex marriage for first time

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The Supreme Court stepped into the gay marriage debate for the first time on Friday by agreeing to review two challenges to federal and state laws that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.


The high court agreed to review a case against a federal law that denies married same-sex couples the federal benefits heterosexual couples receive. It also took up a challenge to California’s ban on gay marriage, known as Proposition 8, which voters narrowly approved in 2008.

Same-sex marriage is a politically charged 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.

Meeting in private on Friday at their last weekly conference before the court’s holiday recess, the justices considered requests to review seven cases dealing with same-sex relationships. Five of them were challenges to the federal marriage law, one to California’s gay marriage ban and another to an Arizona law against domestic partner benefits.

Written By: Terry Baynes
continue to source article at reuters.com

21 COMMENTS

  1. gays and lesbians?  more pc?  next, they’ll be saying lesbians and gays because mentioning gays first is discriminatory.  anyway, government should ensure that all “marriage” relationships are treated the same because there’s absolutely no reason, except religious, for it to be any other way.  furhemore, the religious reason doesn’t count a) because it’s all based on myth and fable, and b) other people’s religious beliefs should not be forced on those who don’t subscribe to that religion.

  2. I don’t see how DOMA or Prop 8 could be held in accord with the constitution.  They are meant specifically to deny rights.  That is how this debate is framed.  I think the winds have changed and this will be a human rights victory.  Five to 4 deciding the unconstitutionality of these laws. 

  3. Net
    gays and lesbians?  more pc?  next, they’ll be saying lesbians and gays because mentioning gays first is discriminatory.  anyway, government should ensure that all “marriage” relationships are treated the same because there’s absolutely no reason, except religious, for it to be any other way.  furhemore, the religious reason doesn’t count a) because it’s all based on myth and fable, and b) other people’s religious beliefs should not be forced on those who don’t subscribe to that religion.

    I’ve always used the term ‘Lesbians and Gays’ – rather than ‘Gays and Lesbians’ – simply as a mark of politeness when referring to the fairer sex.

    It is not a question of being pc, simple manners with regards to women.

    Something the younger generation of men could do with learning.

    Anvil.

  4. you call refering to lesbians as the fairer sex?  and that’s simple manners and politeness?  i’d love to hear what women had to say about that.  and, as for having always used the ter, “Lesbians and Gays”, if you’re older than about 50 then I doubt that very much.  we were all queer once; even camp; then gay; and latterly, the women have insisted on being called lesbians rather than gay; so, we became gay and lesbian; and now it’s become lesbian and gay – no, worse: LGBT!  a struggle over labels and a jockeying for position – that’s politics, i guess.  but i do wonder what homosexual referendum led to all that.

  5. Yes, I was part of the campaign – in the early 70′s – to have the L before the G.

    I was less concerned about the B and the T but back then it was a different era and we didn’t know as much as we do now.

    Still, I consider it a victory, however small, for chivalry.

    These are the unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that a person is proper, caring, non-grouchy, polite, refined, and non-racist.

    Something Antipodeans could never understand.

    Regardless of my age I can’t ever recall being against Gays, or even Jews or coloured folk – but seeing someone use the wrong fork could really boil my piss.

    Anvil.

  6. thankfully, chivalry is dead, women have equality, and antipodeans hold their own with the rest of the commonwealth.  if using the wrong fork could really boil your piss, that speaks of petty intolerance which is the stuff of sitcoms.  and, i notice that you can’t ever recall being against Gays – no mention of Lesbians there, or were you including them under that epithet?

  7. Here, in Canada, you don’t need to be married to file joint tax returns. The government actually informed my partner (opposite sex) and I that we were now filing joint tax returns and should have been for a couple of years. I think we still need a legal doc to get the death stuff.

  8. Net:
    thankfully, chivalry is dead, (…)

    Sadly, along with satire and punctuation, it would appear so.

    (…) women have equality, 

    Fortunately, but let us not forget the men who fought for that!

    (and) antipodeans hold their own with the rest of the commonwealth. 

     

    Well, they certainly didn’t during the Olympics, where the rest of the commonwealth – and I still include the Americans in that – gave them a jolly good pasting!

    if using the wrong fork could really boil your piss, speaks of petty intolerance which is the stuff of sitcoms.  

    It’s the stuff of reality, actually, which is why it’s mirrored in sit-coms. I think I didn’t put enough of it in the last one? Which is probably why it wasn’t optioned.

    and, i notice that youcan’t ever recall being against Gays – not mention of Lesbians there, or were you including them under that epithet?

    Lesbianity coupled with Lesbianaryism was a product of the late sixties brought about by men refusing to open doors for women – we have only ourselves to blame.

    Anvil.

    Edit: Sorry, I think that should read: ‘Lesbianarianism’ as in ‘Lesbianarianist’. Hope this sorts out any confusion?

  9. aquilacane
    I send all duplicate cutlery back to the kitchen. Bloody waste.

     Communal dining has not been quite the same we gave up the medieval tradition of cutting meat with the daggers from our belts and using a wooden spoon or our fingers for the rest of the food!

    Those Victorian posers, had a lot to answer for – (and not just for their fish-knives, hypocrisy and sexual prudery) !!

    Food was mostly served on plates or in stew pots, and diners would take their share from the dishes and place it on trenchers of stale bread, wood or pewter with the help of spoons or bare hands.
    In lower-class households it was common to eat food straight off the table.
    Knives were used at the table, but most people were expected to bring their own, and only highly favored guests would be given a personal knife. A knife was usually shared with at least one other dinner guest, unless one was of very high rank or well-acquainted with the host.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M

  10. In the State of Iowa a marriage license is defined as a contract—this in both statutory law and as in all states by case law involving the rights and obligations incurred in marriage and its dissolution.  Thus so, it is difficult to see how the Supreme Court of the United States is going to allow state governments to do what the Contract Clause of the United States Constitution, Article I, section 10, clause 1 prohibits. It states (my capitalization affixed):

    “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, OR LAW IMPAIRING THE OBLIGATION OF CONTRACTS, or grant any Title of Nobility.”

  11. By the way, David Cameron backed Gay Marriage in British ‘churches’ this week, beginning a period of consultation which should see Gay ‘Marriage’ on the statute books in the UK before 2014.

    It will still allow individual churches to opt out  - and yet, incredibly, still allow them to act as proxy’s of the state in conducting ‘normal’ marriages thereby institutionalising bigotry.

    Whilst I am against this I feel both he and Clegg are laying down the law to the state religion.

    This is a massive move that should be applauded.

    “I’m in favour of gay marriage because I’m a massive supporter of marriage and I don’t want gay people to be excluded from a great institution!”

    David Cameron 7 December 2012.

    Still a way to go, but hey, can’t complain about these very clear intentions.

    Anvil.

  12. The notion that people will be able to marry animals, children or corpses next put forth by those arguing against marriage equality tells more about them than it does about anything else. 

    Apparently, in their mind, things like consent, marriage as a civil and legal contract, or being an informed adult are no prerequisites for a marriage.

    Insane, isn’t it?

  13. Yup, and proud.

    Anvil.

    Edit: By the way, Net, just in case you are taking this the wrong way, which is easily done in print, there is no intent to meanness or malice here. Simply light relief in an otherwise serious world.

    As to your insinuation, I can only admit guilt and hold my head in shame. Not too much though as I’ve a theory that, like masturbation, it’s enjoyable and probably got us off all fours.

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