is what Edith Windsor said to a friend after learning about the success of her case.
It is nearly impossible to sit still and focus when the nation is acting and creating the change we have been working so hard to embrace – right now! Last night, I went to a meeting at the CT NOW office and upon leaving, I took a picture of a poster that had to be at least 10 years old (I think older than that). It was a simple white square 2ft by 2 ft with purple writing that says “Legalize Lesbian Rights” with CT NOW around the perimeter. I sent it jokingly to my girlfriend.
“Take nothing for granted”… How about a 5-4 vote on the legality of human rights and happiness? Today, the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA. Thank you to those who voted in favor of justice and human rights, and just for the record, those with dissenting votes: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
Text of decisions:
I tried to follow on http://www.scotusblog.com/ as the vote was happening. There are no words for the amount of confusion! As impatient as I was, I sat back and waiting for my co-worker to decode the tweets and announcements. Here are the findings from the vote:
The vote was related to section 3 of DOMA: “What section 3 of DOMA does is that it performs a find and replace of every instance of where ‘spouse’ or ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ appears and changes it so that it’s “opposite sex husband” or ‘opposite sex wife’…The effect is going to vary based on which of the thousand-plus statutes or regulations are affected.”
Much of the debate is around financial rights. For example, “…married same-sex couples where one member is employed by the federal government are entitled to spousal benefits, just the same as any other married couple.”
In relationships of legally married couples who reside in a state that does not legally recognized their marriage it is still unclear if the “state of celebration” or “state of residence” holds precedent. However, since the “state of celebration” is most widely recognized, in my opinion, couples should in fact be entitled to spousal benefits.
Shortly after DOMA’s decision a post came through on SCOTUS blog that was loud and clear. Governor Brown is ordering all county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples: “After years of struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California. In light of the decision, I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state’s counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted.” Going back to the story of the text I sent of haphazardly to my girlfriend. Well it just so happens that she is in San Francisco today (Jealous? Yes!). As the Supreme Court chimed in on Prop. 8 to decide that gay marriage is now legal in California (understanding that the court makes no national ruling), she sent me the most appropriate picture…
With or without this decision – there is no doubt that same-sex couples would continue to live, to love, and to be happy together. However, this decision is a step in the fight for equality that is justified and deserved. Let me put it this way, no one should ever be viewed as less equal because of the person next to them when they say “I love you” and “I do”
Here’s to having equal rights when you say “I do”, I love you!