federal defense of marriage act

Marriage lawsuit filed in North Dakota -- the last state whose ban went unchallenged

Seven same-sex couples have filed a lawsuit challenging North Dakota’s ban on marriage equality. This means that lawsuits are pending in ALL 31 states that ban same-sex marriage. Every single one. 

Judges have overturned several of those bans since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year.

Minneapolis-based attorney Josh Newville, who is representing the North Dakota couples, also filed a lawsuit on behalf of South Dakota couples in May.

We are on the brink of something huge. 

-beautiful-braginsky  asked:

What steps is the administration taking to ensure the rights of LGBTQA+ people and make sure a future administration won't take it away?

Good question. One of the reasons why we litigated and celebrated the Supreme Court cases on marriage equality and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act is because future administrations will not be able to reverse those decisions. 

Same applies to statutes that were passed by Congress including (1) the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, (2) the Affordable Care Act, (3) the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, (4) expanding the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act to cover LGBT survivors 

For executive actions that the President has taken including, but not limited to, the following: 

(1) The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) now requires all hospitals receiving Medicare or Medicaid funds - just about every hospital in America - to allow visitation rights for LGBT patients. The President also directed HHS to ensure that medical decision-making rights of LGBT patients are respected.

(2) The executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of gender orientation or sexual identity. 

(3) All-gender restrooms in the White House.

(4) Developing and implementing a national HIV/AIDS strategy.

(5) HHS’s new proposed rule on the Affordable Care Act that proposes important new protections for transgender patients.

It will be important for the American people to hold future administrations accountable to keep bending the moral arc of the universe toward justice. 



Taxes can be a nightmare for married LGBT couples

Tax season can already be stressful enough, but it’s all the more complicated for many married LGBT couples because of regressive state laws.

Tuesday’s deadline is putting a spotlight on just how much. Married same-sex couples can file federal taxes together for the first time this year since the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down last summer, but state taxes are still a different matter. Twenty-three states refuse to recognize LGBT marriages and force couples to jump through additional hoops to file their taxes. It’s beyond frustrating.

Read more | Follow policymic

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court in 5-4 decision on Friday ruled that states may no longer ban same-sex marriage.

Justice Kennedy wrote the decision.

The decision came almost two years to the day of when the Supreme Court launched the catalyst for today’s decision. On June 26, 2013, the court, in an opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy, struck down the federal ban on recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages in the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional.

Almost immediately, lawsuits were filed — with some already pending — across the country, challenging state bans on same-sex couples’ marriages and similar bans on recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples performed elsewhere.


In 1950, there was a report called "Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government" done by a senate

in 1952, being homosexual was considered a “Sociopathic personality disturbance”

in 1953, President Eisenhower banned homosexuals from working for the federal government

in 1996, Bill Clinton signs the Defense Against Marriage Act, defining marriage between a man and a women 

but then

in 1977, Harvey Milk is hired to give homosexuals rights in the workplace

in 1973, being homosexual is taken off the list of mental illnesses

in 2009, Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum that gives same sex federal employees benefits

and, of course, on June 26th 2015, Same sex marriage is legalized in all of the states in America.

Why am I writing this? Because no matter what Donald Trump does (or Pence) we can fight it. There is still hope. It is not over. We have been held down before and with much less support and we are still here

We can fight this.

Chances are that, whether you live in the US or abroad, you’re seeing something congratulating a bunch of states on suddenly having gay marriage coming across your dash or facebook feed and might be wondering, “Wait – how did that happen?”

So first, a quick background on the US Judicial System in case you forgot what your eighth grade teacher told you would need to know one day (or for the billions of people who never needed to learn it in the first place): In the States, there are two main sets of courts that hear different types of cases: state courts hear questions of state law while federal courts hear issues that relate to federal law. However, where a state law involves a federal issue – like a constitutional right – then the case might move into federal court.

Cases involving the rights of same-gender couples to marry have been working their way through both sets of courts for the past two decades, and for equally as long there have been a series of state and federal laws passed to block these marriages. (Really there have been cases for a lot longer than that – since the mid-70s! - but like Charlies Angels they went by the wayside until the mid-to-late 90s.) States decided that it wasn’t enough that the federal Defense of Marriage Act defined marriage as one man and one woman and ensured that no state would have to recognize any other marriage, and they instead passed their own “mini-DOMAs” to define marriage in state law. Then in the early 2000s, in an attempt to buoy conservative voter turnout, Republicans pushed for a series of anti-gay amendments to state constitutions, and so on, until some states literally had four state laws plus a federal one banning two men or two women from getting hitched. (I’m looking at you, Ohio.)

You might remember that the marriage cases back in June of 2013 involved one federal law challenge (the federal definition of marriage under DOMA, the case from New England) and one state law challenge (the Prop 8 case out of California). Both went to the US Supreme Court because they involved questions about how the federal constitution should be interpreted: does everyone have an equal right to marry a person of the opposite sex, or does everyone have an equal right to marry the person they love? In the end, the ruling ended up being much narrower, and the Supreme Court decided Prop 8 on procedural grounds (it turns out random citizen groups can’t step in when the state decides a law is too stupid to defend) and said the federal definition of marriage had to go. Because marriage has traditionally been an area for states to decide and define, it said, it was not up to the federal government to pick and choose which marriages should be valid.

So as of June 2013, the states that did allow and recognize gay marriage (about 12 at the time I believe) remained as things were, but its married citizens were considered married by the federal government. The states that didn’t recognize gay marriage remained as things were. Unless one member of the couple was a federal employee or a foreign national, virtually nothing (except tax returns) changed.

But after those decisions came down, cases began moving quickly through the lower federal courts. Several courts had been holding off to see what the Supreme Court said so they could rule accordingly (because no one wants to go to the trouble of ruling only to have a higher court essentially overrule your decision because of another case), and in the wake of the Prop 8 and DOMA cases, numerous circuit courts found that the state’s ban on marriage violated the constitution:






Of course, when each state lost their case, they appealed to the circuit court. Circuit courts or Courts of Appeals are courts covering several states that serve as an intermediate appeal between district courts (1-3 per state depending on size) and the Supreme Court (1 for the entire country). There are 11 Circuit Courts, and whatever the circuit decides in one state’s case applies to the other states in that circuit, so that a ban on marriage equality in Virginia being struck down wouldn’t just impact Virginia, but also Maryland (which already has marriage equality), South Carolina, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Each of the circuit courts upheld the district courts’ decision (for marriage equality). The states, no less unhappy at this development, then appealed to the Supreme Court.

Not all cases appealed to the Supreme Court are ever heard by the Court. Of the more than 8,500 requests the Supreme Court receives, they hear on average 80-150 (that’s 1-2%). A state or other party asks the Supreme Court to get involved by filing what’s called a writ of certiorari, or a request that the Court review the case. The justices (read: their clerks) review the writs and vote on whether or not to hear the case – at least 4 justices must vote yes. If fewer than 4 vote to hear the case, then it goes back to the Circuit Court and that ruling will stand.

Today, the Supreme Court denied certiorari on the five marriage cases, which means that the lower court rulings will be followed. This means that, in the five original states as well as all the other states in the same circuits that do not already have marriage equality, the states can no longer prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. So as of this afternoon, gay marriage is now legal in:







-North Carolina

-South Carolina

-West Virginia




which brings the total number of states in the US where same-sex marriages are recognized from 19 + DC this morning to 30 + DC this afternoon.

There are 5 more circuits remaining where gay marriage is not legal in all states, and they’re pretty much where you would expect – the middle of the country (minus the areas near Chicago) and the South…plus the 9th Circuit, which is pretty deeply divided between the places with marriage equality (California, Oregon, Washington) and the places that would sooner give up all their farming stock and live on granola (Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Nevada, Arizona, etc.). But still, which map looks better?


So what happens next?

Well, nothing really. Either one of the other circuits can come up with a marriage case and let it wind through the appeals process before filing a writ of certiorari and hoping the Court steps in then (most likely after a justice or two has been replaced), or everything can kind of stay as it is for awhile. A few more states may pass their own pro-equality laws, like a number of states have done in the past couple years, but at this point I think we’re unlikely to see a lot of movement for awhile. The only remotely liberal states (ones that more often than not either vote for Democrats in national elections or are “swing” votes) without marriage equality are Ohio and Michigan, and at least Ohio is quite a bit more socially conservative than is voting record would suggest. But most likely, we’re starting to hit another slow-down where we just kind of have to wait for cases to catch up in the process before we can see another wave of change.


(CNN) – A federal judge has struck down Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage, ruling Wednesday it has no “rational relation to a legitimate government purpose.”

The decision is the latest in a series of federal and state court moves to overturn current laws forbidding gay and lesbians from legal wedlock.

Judge Orlando Garcia, based in San Antonio, stayed enforcement of his decision pending appeal, meaning homosexual couples in Texas for the time being cannot get married.

“One of the court’s main responsibilities is to ensure that individuals are treated equally under the law. Equal treatment of all individuals under the law is not merely an aspiration it is a constitutional mandate,” said Garcia.

“Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from passing legislation born out of animosity against homosexuals, has extended constitutional protection to the moral and sexual choices of homosexuals, and prohibits the federal government from treating state-sanctioned opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages differently,” he said.

Two same-sex couples filed the original lawsuit: Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman of Austin; and Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano.

Among those defending the Texas ban is state Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is the leading Republican candidate for governor.

State officials are expected to now take their case to a federal appeals court in New Orleans.

Garcia’s decision follows similar conclusions in recent weeks by federal courts in Utah, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Virginia.

The renewed legal, political, and social momentum on the issue comes eight months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of a federal Defense of Marriage Act that did not recognize for federal purposes legally married same-sex couples. Seventeen states now allow such legal unions.

The Texas case is De Leon v. Perry (5:13-cv-982).

If you’re going to make us chew our way through a brick wall to get to the promised land, so be it, but do yourself a favor and don’t be standing on the other side looking stupid when we get there, because that American flag shirt you’re wearing looks mighty tasty.