Friday, February 22, 2013

Our Friend, The President

In case you haven't been paying attention the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on two cases affect the rights of Gay Men and Lesbians in March.  One deal with Proposition 8 and I have been writing about that.  The other seeks to overturn DOMA, the poorly named "Defense of Marriage Act," which does nothing but strip me of any federal rights and responsibilities shared by couples in opposite sex marriages.

The administration which actually supports my rights under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution to Due Process and Equal Protection.  In order to qualify the court must establish that LGBT people are a protected class due higher scrutiny.  Protected Class means that the court must determine that a group has been subjected to discrimination due to be a member of that group.  In the Prop 8 case the AFER group is following through with defending this.

However the congress, or t least the Republicans  in Congress, which created DOMA is not happy that the President is refusing to defend DOMA.  So the Republicans, as only Republicans can, created their own bipartisan group.  It of course is not bipartisan, but it sounds good, so BLAG (The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group with our tax dollars, to argue that the court should not overturn, indeed refuse to rule, on DOMA.

This of course put the the President in the position of having to tell the court why they should consider the 14th Amendment and even if the don't they should strike down DOMA on its merits, or lack thereof.
Edith Windsor Image by Richard Drew / AP

The case was brought by 83 year old widow Edith Windsor, who though legally married was forced to pay federal inheritance tax that other widows would not have had to pay.  Windsor's wife, Thea Spencer died in 2009. They were married in 2007 after a "40 year engagement" according to the New York Times. 

The Administration has filed and amicus brief asking the court to rule in favor of Windsor and declare DOMA unconstitutional.

Read about the brief here.

Read more about Edith Windsor here.

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