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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.

Five Controversial Decisions to Watch From the Supreme Court Next Week

June 21, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Education, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, Voting Rights, White Privilege

From Colorlines:

We’re all waiting on five very important decisions from the Supreme Court. It handed down just three unrelated decisions [yesterday]. That surprised many observers since the term comes to a close next week, and leaves a lot hanging in balance. The court will now hand down five controversial decisions on Monday, and possibly add one more day (likely next Thursday, but we really don’t know at the moment). Here’s a quick primer on the cases we’re looking out for:

  • Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. This is the affirmative action case.
  • Shelby County v. Holder. This is Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act case (not to be confused with another seminal voting rights case that the high court ruled on earlier this week).
  • Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. This is the case about tribal sovereignty, played out in the attempted adoption of a Cherokee baby by a white couple.
  • Hollingsworth v. Perry. This is the California Proposition 8 case, which amended the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
  • United States v. Windsor. This case is about Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.”

Check back to get a better sense of what the future of affirmative action, voting rights, tribal sovereignty, and marriage equality looks like for the highest court in the land next week.

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 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.

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.

Second Circuit Finds DOMA Unconstitutional

October 18, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Intersectionality, LGBTQ

From NYT:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is the second federal appeals court to reject a central portion of the federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, following the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, which handed down its ruling in May.

But this decision on Thursday is the first time that an appeals court has subjected the law to a relatively tough test for constitutionality that, in effect, elevates issues of sexual orientation to the constitutional level of cases involving sexual discrimination.

The Supreme Court may take up the issue as soon as the current term.

Two of the three judges on the Manhattan court ruled in favor of Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old woman whose case challenged the 1996 statute, saying it violated the Constitution’s equal-protection clause because it recognizes the marriages of heterosexual couples but not those of same-sex couples, even though New York State law makes no such distinction.

Mrs. Windsor, who filed the lawsuit in November 2010, married her longtime partner, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. The two had been together for 44 years.

Though the marriage was recognized in New York, when Mrs. Spyer died in 2009, Mrs. Windsor was not able to claim a deduction for a federal estate tax that is available for the surviving partner of a marriage between heterosexuals. Mrs. Windsor, who had been the sole beneficiary of Mrs. Spyer’s estate, was forced to pay $363,053 in estate taxes. When she requested a refund, the Internal Revenue Service rejected her claim, citing federal marriage law.

Judge Dennis Jacobs, who wrote the majority opinion, said the federal law was “not related to an important government interest,” concluding that “homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public.”

Supreme Court Faces Another High Profile Term

October 01, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Education, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, Voting Rights

From WashingtonPost:

The Supreme Court begins a new term Monday with the most important civil rights agenda in years on the horizon and amid intensified scrutiny of the relationship between Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and his fellow conservatives.

The justices will consider the continued viability of affirmative action in college admissions when it hears a challenge next week to the University of Texas’s race-conscious selection process.

And there are several challenges awaiting the court’s action on the most controversial part of the Voting Rights Act — the Civil Rights-era requirement that some states with a history of racial discrimination receive federal approval before enacting voting or election-law changes.

The court seems all but certain to confront the issue of same-sex marriage by considering suits against the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act. The law’s provision denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal has been deemed unconstitutional both by the Obama administration and lower courts that have considered it.

In addition, the court will be asked to review a decision that overturned California’s Proposition 8, in which voters amended the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Bush Appointee Finds DOMA Unconstitutional

February 22, 2012 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Intersectionality, LGBTQ

From Metro Weekly:

[T]he U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued its order finding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act — the federal definition of marriage — is unconstitutional in Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, Karen Golinski’s challenge to the denial of her request for equal health insurance benefits for her wife.

Golinski, a federal court employee, brought suit after her request was denied. She is represented by Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. Because President Obama and the Department of Justice have stopped defending Section 3 of DOMA in court challenges, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group — led by House Republican leadership — had opposed Golinski’s request in court.

[U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White today found]:


The Court has found that DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex married couples. Even though animus is clearly present in its legislative history, the Court, having examined that history, the arguments made in its support, and the effects of the law, is persuaded that something short of animus may have motivated DOMA’s passage:

Prejudice, we are beginning to understand, rises not from malice or hostile animus alone. It may result as well from insensitivity caused by simple want of careful, rational reflection or from some instinctive mechanism to guard against people who appear to be different in some respects from ourselves.

Board of Trustees of University of Alabama v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 374-75 (2001) (Kennedy, J., concurring).

[…]

In this matter, the Court finds that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution by, without substantial justification or rational basis, refusing to recognize her lawful marriage to prevent provision of health insurance coverage to her spouse.

Accordingly, the Court issues a permanent injunction enjoining defendants, and those acting at their direction or on their behalf, from interfering with the enrollment of Ms. Golinski’s wife in her family health benefits plan.

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