Posts Tagged ‘doma’

100 Days Later

October 4, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

100 days from SCOTUS marriage100 days ago, the Supreme Court struck down the central portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, and dismissed the last gasp appeal of the Prop. 8 supporters, returning the freedom to marry to California. Across the country, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people cheered along with allies who supported the vision of an America where everyone could marry the person that they love.

Since then, we’ve seen a parade of victories at the federal level, from the Department of Homeland Security allowing same-sex spouses full immigration privileges to the IRS issuing new rules to make sure loving same-sex couples are recognized, to the first same-sex weddings on U.S. military bases. We’ve seen big marriage victories in New Mexico and New Jersey, and we’ve seen the roll-out of the biggest advance in LGBT healthcare in our lifetimes with the Affordable Care Act.

Here in California, we’ve seen the federal courts uphold SB 1172, which ended the psychological abuse of LGBT youth by licensed therapists, we’ve seen transgender students win both with the passage and signing of the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266), which ensures that transgender students can participate as their authentic selves in school, and at the Arcadia Unified School District, which settled a lawsuit and implemented policies to ensure transgender equality.  Read the rest of this entry »

Freedom to Marry Affirmed in NJ Court Decision

September 27, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

new jersey freedom to marryNew Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson granted a summary decision today in favor of plaintiffs, represented by Lambda Legal, seeking the freedom to marry in New Jersey.

The decision rests on two points: First, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided in the 2006 Lewis v. Harris case that New Jersey’s constitution requires same-sex couples be granted the same rights as opposite-sex couples, something that had until now been resolved with civil unions.

But given the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor, which overturned the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex couples who are married are now entitled to the same federal rights and benefits as any other married couple, which does not apply to civil unions.

Given that, Jacobson held that in order for same-sex couples to have the same protections and rights, the current ban on same-sex marriage could not be constitutional. She ordered that marriage licenses for same-sex couples are to be granted starting Oct. 21.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who will likely seek the Presidential nomination in 2016, had held that it was constitutional to exclude same-sex couples from marriage, and will likely appeal.

Lena and Lisa

June 25, 2013 By Josh Steichmann

lena-lisa-blogLena Brancatelli and Lisa Kirk started dating in 2004, when they were both working at Starbucks. Lena was smitten with Lisa’s warmth and sense of humor.

“She’s very kind, and always makes you laugh,” explains Lena.

Now the couple lives in San Jose, where Lena works as a senior revenue accountant for Yahoo!, and Lisa has her dream job as a civil engineer for the Santa Clara Valley Water District. They send their 12-year-old daughter Daniella to Catholic school.

“We have a lovely community here, and a lovely family,” said Lena. “We made sure it was a progressive parish, and it’s a very loving environment. We’re part of their family, and they’re part of our family.”

But, she said, choking up, “It’s very hurtful, the people who are against us being together.”

Lena and Lisa are ready for marriage.

“There’s nothing else marriage compares to. In September, it’ll be nine years — we’ve been through some very hard times, and some very good times. It’s time to get married,” said Lena.

“What’s weird is, we’re waiting on a bunch of strangers to tell us that our relationship is OK,” she said, talking about the Supreme Court. “But we’re planning our big traditional Italian lesbian wedding for September.”

Lena and Lisa are among thousands of Californians ready for marriage. Loving couples statewide are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to affirm their commitment to each other in the same way their straight friends and family can. Though the Supreme Court did not announce a ruling on Prop. 8 or DOMA today, they are expected to announce decisions on both by the end of this week.

Share Lena and Lisa’s story on Facebook and Twitter and help us spread the word that California is ready for marriage #CAReady4Marriage


Kana and Tiffany

June 20, 2013 By Jesse Melgar

tiffany-kana-blogFour years ago, Tiffany was teaching English in Japan, and met Kana through a mutual friend. Despite the language barrier, they hit it off immediately, and after a year, got engaged. Now, they live together in Los Angeles, where Tiffany works in television, and Kana, who was a chef in Japan, now studies at LACC.

But, without a decision from the Supreme Court on Prop. 8 and DOMA, their future is uncertain. Without restoring the freedom to marry in California, Tiffany and Kana won’t be able to get married. With DOMA still in place, Kana won’t be able to immigrate legally.

Tiffany and Kana are ready to take the next step in their relationship. Tiffany and Kana are ready for marriage.

“It’s the security of knowing that we will be together for the rest of our lives,” said Tiffany. “It will be a big release — she’ll be in the country for good, and we can move forward with our lives, and think about things like owning a house and having children.”

Tiffany and Kana are among thousands of Californians ready for marriage. From San Diego to San Francisco, and from Riverside to San Jose, loving same-sex couples are waiting for the opportunity to express their commitment to each other in the same way their straight friends and family can.

Share Tiffany and Kana’s story on Facebook and Twitter and help us spread the word that California is ready for marriage #CAReady4Marriage


Slideshow: Prop. 8 & DOMA Actions Across California

March 28, 2013 By Shaun Osburn

A number of gatherings took place across California during before and after the Supreme Court hearings on Prop. 8 and DOMA. Here are some of our favorite shots from these events:


DOMA at the Supreme Court: Reflections from Today’s Hearing

March 27, 2013 By Brenda Feigen

Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out Brenda’s coverage of yesterday’s Supreme Court Hearing on Proposition 8.


Opponents of Equality were greatly outnumbered by those in support of marriage for same-sex couples

As I got close to the Court on my way to the DOMA hearing, I was greeted with big, ugly posters with Hate Fag language. Soon, I did see our people, and they took up all the rest of the street. A large press area was cordoned off. Once inside the Gallery, I saw a bunch of folks I know: all the heads of GLBT organizations seemed to be in the Bar section. Knowing, they paid a lot of money for placeholders. I was so grateful again to Justice Ginsburg for the gift of my tickets. Anyway, Edie Windsor was right in front of me. Soon I noticed Nancy Pelosi, and we had a conversation. She hates DOMA. I don’t know, however, if the Court fails to act, if she can muster the votes necessary to repeal it. Moving along, I was glad to see Ted Olson who argued so brilliantly yesterday against Prop 8, which I told him. Finally – and by this time we’d all been waiting at least an hour inside the Gallery, I saw Valerie Jarrett and had a very strong feeling she’d be rushing back to the White House later to fill in Obama.

At the stroke of 10:00 a.m. in they walked. Chief Justice Roberts, after housekeeping details and the issuance of their ruling against class certification in the Comcast case, called on the Amica, Vicki Jackson, a Harvard Law Professor, whose very first sentence was: “There is no justiciable case before this Court.” And thus began a more than hour-long examination into whether the Court may, by the Rules of Civil Procedure, determine DOMA’s constitutionality since the executive branch of the government agrees with Edie that DOMA does not pass muster. Is there a real case and controversy? On this point, Roberts said he didn’t see why the President didn’t have the courage of his convictions and stop enforcing DOMA, rather than ask the Supreme Court to decide for him.

In sum, I feel Justice Kennedy, who on the merits is no doubt the swing vote in this case, may be tempted to fuss that the case is not properly there. But given what he said later, I don’t think he’s going to abandon the need for our equal protection. Whether or not BLAG has standing, I do feel that 5 of them, at least, will get to the merits on our side. We should note here that we want BLAG to have had standing, BLAG having been appointed & hired by the House when the Administration decided it would enforce but not defend DOMA. If BLAG were to be found not to have standing, chaos reigns. The 2nd Circuit’s decision that DOMA is unconstitutional would stand. Edie would get her money back. What would happen in the other Circuits and for other federal benefits is quite a muddle and requires an entirely different and way too complicated discussion than we can embark on here. In fact, Nancy Pelosi gave me more bad news on this: Not only, she said quietly, did the Chair of the House Administration Committee authorize $1.7 million to pay for BLAG’s lawyers so far, there is another $3.3 million of our tax dollars ready for BLAG’s next legal bill. She, who has a lot of power in the House, seemed appalled at this.

It was 11:13 a.m. (and the Court usually ends hearings at noon) before they turned to the merits. It was already, I noticed later, 55 pages into the transcript by this time! The lawyer for BLAG, Clement, made almost no sense. Justice Breyer interrupted him off the bat, asking why treat gay marriage differently? And Justice Ginsburg observed in a tone that both warmed my heart and brought tears again to my eyes that every aspect of life is affected by DOMA, that the discrimination is pervasive. I am inserting here her words that set the tone for the rest of her remarks, as well as those of Justices Breyer and Sotomayor: Read the rest of this entry »

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Prop. 8 & DOMA Actions Across California

March 20, 2013 By Shaun Osburn

A number of LGBT and allied groups, grassroots leaders and families are organizing events all over the country including right outside the Supreme Court. Together we will remember how far we have come, and look forward to that moment when every American can marry the person that they love.

Los Angeles: Sunday, March 24th 6:30pm
Los Angeles City Hall (200 N Spring St, Los Angeles)

Inland Empire: Monday, March 25th 7:00pm
George E. Brown Federal Building and US Courthouse (3470 12th St, Riverside, CA)

Sacramento: Monday, March 25th 4pm
Sacramento Federal Courthouse (501 I St, Sacramento, CA)

San Diego: Monday, March 25th 6:30pm
San Diego Federal Court House (880 Front St, San Diego, CA)

San Francisco: Monday, March 25th 6:30pm
Harvey Milk Plaza (Corner of Castro and Market, San Francisco)

San Jose: Monday, March 25th 5:30pm
Billy DeFrank Center (938 The Alameda, San Jose, CA)

Fresno: Tuesday, March 26th 4pm
Fresno Federal Courthouse (2500 Tulare St, Fresno, CA)

Orange County: Tuesday, March 26th 6:30pm
Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse (411 W 4th Street, Santa Ana, CA)

Palm Springs: Tuesday, March 26th 6pm
Riverside County Building (Tahquitz and El Cielo, CA)

Santa Barbara: Tuesday, March 27th 5:30pm
Santa Barbara County Courthouse (1100 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA)

Santa Cruz: Wednesday, March 27th 5:30pm
Santa Cruz County Courthouse Steps (701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA)

San Francisco: Thursday, March 28th 5:30pm
San Francisco LGBT Community Center Rainbow Room (1800 Market Street at Octavia, San Francisco, CA)

And be sure to visit for a complete listing of all events across the nation.

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