Monday, March 25, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Arguments About Same-Sex Marriage, Affecting 120,000 Couples; Ruling Expected in June

On Equality

U.S. Supreme Court: Bill Mears of CNN writes: “The larger debate over DOMA's intent and impact 17 years after passage has driven a wedge between the executive and legislative branches. Now that debate will be center stage before the Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments Wednesday, with an expected ruling in late June. At issue is what role the federal government should play when it comes to marriage, something states have traditionally controlled. ‘What the court is being asked to decide is whether or not Congress can pass a law that treats same-sex couples, who are already married under the laws of their state, different from opposite-sex couples,’ said Amy Howe, a leading appellate attorney and editor of”
Photo Credit & Source: CNN

An article, by Bill Mears, in CNN reports that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday on the constitutional legality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which President Clinton signed into law in 1996.
For Karane and Jamelle Thomas-Williams, this is a fight for recognition by the federal government of their legal same-sex union, part of a landmark constitutional appeal over same-sex marriage and "equal protection." Their love has united them, but the larger social issue has split the country for more than four decades.
The Washington, D.C., couple legally married last October, but not in the eyes of some of their employers or elected leaders. Karane serves her community as a Metropolitan Police officer. Jamelle serves her country in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. But since she is a federal worker, the couple cannot share the 1,000-plus federal perks enjoyed by married heterosexuals: things like joint tax returns, loan programs for veterans, and survivor, pension, bankruptcy, family medical leave and health insurance benefits.
Under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed in 1996, marriage is defined for federal purposes as between one man and one woman. That means the estimated 120,000 gay and lesbian couples legally married in nine states and the District of Columbia are still considered, in the eyes of DOMA opponents, the equivalent of girlfriend and boyfriend.
The Supreme court is wading into a controversy that has divided the nation between traditionalists and progressive; the social-political position of both sides are well known. And yet, popular sentiment is on the side of those who want to extend the same federal legal benefits and protections to same-sex couples that opposite-sex couples have always enjoyed. To deny such benefits is to deny both a biological imperative and a social reality. Should the U.S. justices strike down the DOMA, it would also be a victory for modern science.

You can read the rest of the article at [CNN].