Marry the Movement #intersectionality #race #gender #class #sexuality #ability #age #markersofdifference

June 27, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Arts and Culture, Civil Rights, Education, Immigration, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, Prison Industrial Complex, Voting Rights, White Privilege

Marry the Movement from Southerners on New Ground (SONG) on Vimeo.

From Southerners on New Ground:

The Supreme Court of the United States has issued many opinions affecting the lives of marginalized people across the country this week. We know that here in the South our SONG family will be grappling with the reality of our lives, many of which have been made worse by the Supreme Court’s rulings affecting Affirmative Action, the Voting Rights Act, the Indian Child Welfare Act and the 5th Amendment.

While the court also struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8, SONG knows that all the good that can radiate out from those decisions is because the climate around the lives and realities of LGBTQ people in our country has changed. Why has it changed? Because LGBTQ people and our families, friends and allies have made it change. We have come out, we have transformed our lives and each other, and we have built power in countless ways. That work makes these moments happen AND we still have so much work to do together as LGBTQ people… the regression and contradictions of the decisions affecting People of Color in this country highlight that reality.

We know that in times like these we need each other and that we must turn to each other in the spirit of our collective survival. There is still much work to be done in order to bring the reality of true justice home to the South: so join us in Marrying the Movement: until every LGBTQ person has full dignity, safety, and liberation.

CI: The “Criminal” Court and the Needlessly Divided “Left”

June 26, 2013 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Corrupt Judiciary, Corrupt Legislature, Criminal Injustice Series, Imperialism, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoner Rights, Voting Rights, White Privilege

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.

The “Criminal Court” and the Needlessly Divided “Left”
by nancy a heitzeg

Today, I was going to post a nice uplifting tribute to Sister Helen Prejean – on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the publication of Dead Man Walking. The power of one voice, and yes that is true.

Maybe someday. In light of recent news items and SCOTUS rulings, frankly i am not in the mood. While media and many are distracted by cult of personality wars over Paula Deen, Edward Snowden and his mouthpiece, The Supreme Court of the United States set the Civil Rights clock back on many issues of legal equality, I can’t even began to calculate just how far.

Yes the odious Section 3 of DOMA was ruled unconstitutional today in United States v. Windsor and SCOTUS further invalidated the California same-sex marriage ban in Hollingsworth v. Perry. (Please note: these rulings do not over-turn the same-sex marriage bans in 37 states.) These are great and overdue victories on the long road to LGBTQ equal rights under the law. Forward.

But the whiplash inducing “logic” of SCOTUS both giveth and taketh away. A series of decisions this term undercut hard fought legislation that served to protect minorities and women. All, of course, while strengthening the power of corporations, as ever post – Citizens United. Key cases this term decided mostly by 5 old smug white  black-robed white-minded  men:

This is the legal solidification of the color-blind paradigm just decried here. War on Black – now fully legalized in soothing “race-neutral” language. War on Women too.

So, who beyond the immediately impacted groups and their proven allies is gonna care? And then what are you gonna do? And i am talking about real world ACTION not signing some damn on-line petition. or tweeting until your fingers blee,d or writing a blog post calling for the fantasy of a Constitutional Amendment on Voting. Doesn’t count – doesn’t cut it. People died for these rights – where you gonna be for the next round?


DOMA Unconstitutional Under Fifth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause

June 26, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, LGBTQ

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overturned DOMA.

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Supreme court gay marriage hearings: Doma and Proposition 8 go on trial

March 26, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, LGBTQ

Marriage equality supporters march in New York on Sunday ahead of the US supreme court arguments. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

From the Guardian:

On Tuesday, the justices will hear arguments over California’s ban on same-sex marriage after a 2008 referendum, Proposition 8, overturned a state supreme court decision in favour of gay unions, and amended the state constitution to say that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”.

The following day, the court will consider whether a 1996 law passed by Congress blocking the federal government from recognising same-sex marriages, the Defense of Marriage Act (Doma), is constitutional.
That case has pitted the Obama administration against the Republican leadership in Congress. The White House said two years ago it would no longer defend Doma, which denies married gay couples – including members of the military – tax, financial and welfare benefits available to heterosexuals.

Congressional Republicans hired a lawyer – Paul Clement, the former US solicitor general who argued and lost the case against Barack Obama’s healthcare reforms — to defend Doma. But one of the first things the justices have to decide is whether Congress has the authority, known as “standing”, to even bring the case to the supreme court after the US Justice Department decided not to challenge an appeal court ruling striking down Doma as unconstitutional.

The challenge to Doma was brought by Edith Windsor, who was married to Thea Spyer in Canada in 2007. The couple lived in New York, where their marriage was recognised by the state government.

But when Spyer died in 2009, the federal government invoked Doma to force Windsor, who is now 83 and in poor health, to pay $363,000 in taxes on her late wife’s estate – a charge she would have been exempt from if she had been married to a man.

Windsor’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, will tell the supreme court she is not seeking to establish a right for same-sex couples to marry but to oblige the federal government to recognise those marriages in states that permit them.

Obama Administration Filed Amicus Brief Opposing Prop 8, Endorsing Limited Marriage Right

February 28, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Intersectionality, LGBTQ

From SCOTUSBlog:

The Obama administration on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to rule in the case of California’s Proposition 8 that same-sex marriage should be required in eight more states, beyond the nine that already permit it, although it stopped short of explicitly calling for the Justices to extend the right to the entire nation.


The historic document, though, could give the Court a way to advance gay marriage rights, without going the full step — now being advocated by two California couples who have been challenging Proposition 8 since 2009 — of declaring that marriage should be open to all same-sex couples as a constitutional requirement.

Administration sources said that President Obama was involved directly in the government’s choice of whether to enter the case at all, and then in fashioning the argument that it should make. Having previously endorsed the general idea that same-sex individuals should be allowed to marry the person they love, the President was said to have felt an obligation to have his government take part in the fundamental test of marital rights that is posed by the Proposition 8 case. The President could take the opportunity to speak to the nation on the marriage question soon.

In essence, the position of the federal government would simultaneously give some support to marriage equality while showing some respect for the rights of states to regulate that institution. What the brief endorsed is what has been called the “eight-state solution” — that is, if a state already recognizes for same-sex couples all the privileges and benefits that married couples have (as in the eight states that do so through “civil unions”) those states must go the final step and allow those couples to get married. The argument is that it violates the Constitution’s guarantee of legal equality when both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are entitled to the same marital benefits, but only the opposite-sex couples can get married.

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Obama Administration to file brief against Prop 8

February 28, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Intersectionality, LGBTQ

From the Washington Blade:

The Obama administration will take part in the lawsuit challenging California’s Proposition 8 by filing a friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court, according to a report on Thursday by NBC News’ Pete Williams,

The report comes on the deadline day for submitting friend-of-the-court briefs in favor of the same-sex couples challenging Prop 8 in the lawsuit filed by the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

LGBT advocates have been pushing for the Obama administration to take part in the Prop 8 lawsuit amid uncertainty over whether the court will decide to uphold the same-sex marriage ban or strike it down.

Rick Jacobs, co-founder of the Courage Campaign, issued a statement commending President Obama for “standing-up for millions of Californians who simply want to marry the person they love.”

“The two Supreme Court cases this summer will be a watershed moment for equality and President Obama has put his Administration squarely on the right side of history,” Jacobs said. “Discrimination and hatred have no place in a country founded on the principles of liberty, justice and equality.”

The Justice Department has already taken part in the case against the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court. Just last week, the Obama administration filed a brief contesting DOMA on the basis that laws related to sexual orientation should be subjected to heightened scrutiny.

Obama Administration Urges Supreme Court To Strike Down DOMA

February 24, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Intersectionality, LGBTQ

From The Hill:

President Obama’s administration said Friday that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, filing a brief weeks ahead of scheduled arguments before the Supreme Court.
In its brief, the Justice Department said that DOMA, which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, “violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection.”

“The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples,” the brief added.

Obama has already ordered his administration not to defend DOMA, and announced he supported same-sex marriage during the heat of last year’s presidential campaign.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments next month on the case of Edith Windsor, who was forced to pay taxes on the estate of her deceased partner, Thea Spyer.

The couple had married in Canada, and their marriage was recognized in their home state of New York at the time Spyer died in 2009. But Windsor was forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes that would not have been required if her deceased spouse had been a man.

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Supreme Court Will Hear Gay Marriage Cases

December 07, 2012 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Intersectionality, LGBTQ

From NYLJ:

The U.S. Supreme Court will take up California’s ban on same-sex marriage, a case that could give the justices the chance to rule on whether gays have the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals.

The justices said today they will review a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the state’s gay marriage ban, though on narrow grounds. The San Francisco-based appeals court said the state could not take away the same-sex marriage right that had been granted by California’s Supreme Court.

The court also will decide whether Congress can deprive legally married gay couples of federal benefits otherwise available to married people in a case from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. A provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act limits a range of health and pension benefits, as well as favorable tax treatment, to heterosexual couples.

The cases are likely to be argued in March, with decisions expected by late June.