Supreme Court Will Hear Prop 8 and Defense of Marriage Act Cases

Photo: ZakVTA

Friday the Supreme Court announced that it would take up the the case against California’s Proposition 8, Hollingsworth v. Perry, and one of several cases against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),Windsor v. United States.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, released this statement via press release:

“By agreeing to hear a case against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the Court can now move swiftly to affirm what 10 federal rulings have already said: DOMA’s ‘gay exception’ to how the federal government treats married couples violates the Constitution and must fall. When it comes to the whole federal safety net that accompanies marriage – access to Social Security survivorship, health coverage, family leave, fair tax treatment, family immigration, and over 1000 other protections and responsibilities – couples who are legally married in the states should be treated by the federal government as what they are: married.”

Wolfson added, “Additionally, gay and lesbian couples in California – and indeed, all over the country – now look to the Supreme Court to affirm that the Constitution does not permit states to strip something as important as the freedom to marry away from one group of Americans.

“Wth the clock now ticking on Supreme Court rulings in 2013, it is more urgent than ever that we make the same strong case for the freedom to marry in the court of public opinion that our advocates are making in the courts of law. By winning more states and winning over more hearts and minds, we maximize our chances of victory in court, showing the justices that when they do the right thing, it will stand the test of time and be true to where the American people already are.”

Said Rev. Roland Stringfellow of the Bay Area, a Breakthrough Coalition member who plans to marry his partner Jerry Peterson: As clergy members, both Jerry and I know that all of us, regardless who we love, are created in God’s image.  It is our hope that when the Supreme Court rules on the Perry case next year, more of God’s children will be able to make a lifelong commitment to the person they love, and to strengthen their families, through marriage. Should the Court affirm the unconstitutionality of denying couples like us the freedom to marry, this nation will have taken another great step forward in its journey towards recognizing that we are all created equal, with the same rights and responsibilities, and that those rights include marriage.”

Said Corinne and Rose Villanueba of Fresno: “As parents of five teenage children (on top of a nine-year-old!) and domestic partners, we see firsthand every day what a difference it makes for kids to be able to tell their classmates and friends that their parents are married, and how important it is to have the security that comes with marriage. All of us, regardless of who we love, are at the center of a family, and being able to marry means as much to us as it does to our relatives.  We hope that the Supreme Court will rule against Prop 8 next year, and that we will soon be able celebrate our marriage with our children and the rest of our family, knowing that we are equal before the law and that we have the same bond that others share.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures:

State issues marriage licenses to same-sex couples:

Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Same-sex marriage will go into effect in Washington starting December 6, 2012 and in Maryland in January 2013. The earliest Maine’s law will go into effect is January 2013. In California, a federal appeals court found that the state constitution’s restriction on same-sex marriage was invalid, but has postponed enforcement pending appeal.

States allows civil unions, providing state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples:

Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island (Note:  In Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, same-sex marriage has replaced civil unions.)

State grants nearly all state-level spousal rights to unmarried couples (domestic partnerships):

California, Nevada, Oregon,  Washington

State provides some state-level spousal rights to unmarried couples (domestic partnerships):

Hawaii, Maine, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia

Read more about the federal Defense of Marriage Act here.