04 Sep Update: Same-sex Marriage. What’s going on?
The June 26th ruling from the Supreme Court, while essentially doing nothing other than striking down section 3 of DOMA has had a large effect on forwarding the legalization and recognition of gay marriage throughout the United States.
Here’s what’s happening:
- The US Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that married same sex couples in any state, regardless of state laws will be considered married for tax purposes. The Court ruled that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional. Section 3 denied federal recognition to same-sex marriages valid under individual state laws. Section 2 which allows individual states to recognize same sex marriages under their own laws as valid or invalid was left in place. This move from the IRS will further confuse businesses and states. This allows same sex couples in states where same sex marriage is not legal to marry in another state and have that marriage recognized federally but not in the state of their residence.
- If anyone had any questions about Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg’s opinions on gay marriage those questions can now be resolved. Ginsburg will become the first Supreme Court Justice to officiate at a same sex wedding.
- A Federal Judge in California, last Thursday, instructed the Department of Veterans Affairs that they must provide same benefits given to heterosexual married couples to same sex married couples.
- In California, shortly after the Supreme Court ruling that said those defending California’s Proposition 8 law had no standing, the court of appeals dissolved the stay on the issuing of marriage licenses to same sex couples and California quietly became the 13th state to legalize gay marriage.
- In Pennsylvania shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, a registrar clerk, D. Bruce Hanes, in a Philidelphia suburb has been issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. A lawsuit was filed July 9th. There will be a court hearing Wednesday of this week. State law in Pennsylvania prohibits same sex marriages. It is unclear if the judges will uphold the state law or allow a single clerk to be the means of changing the marriage laws for Pennsylvania. If the court rules in favor of the clerk, Pennsylvania may become the 14th or 15th state to legalize gay marriage..
- In Ohio, a federal judge ruled that, despite a provision in the state’s constitution banning same sex marriage, Ohio officials had to recognize same sex marriage of Ohio couples performed in states where it is legal. Citing the Supreme Court’s decision, the federal judge declared that since Ohio recognized other marriages that are not legal in Ohio, the state must recognize same sex marriages. Ohio recognizes marriages of first cousins preformed in other states. This ruling may foreshadow what is to come in other states.
- In New Mexico, after the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled against Elane Photography, clerks in 3 counties began issuing same sex marriage licenses. For years conservative and liberal lawmakers have been introducing bills to define marriage with nothing ever being passed. That has left New Mexico as the only state in the country that has no statute or amendment barring same sex marriage and no law allowing same sex marriages. On, Aug. 26th an Albuquerque judge, Alan M. Malott, established that “implying conditions of sexual orientation on one’s right to enter civil contracts such as marriage” is a violation of the equal-protection clause in the state’s Constitution. Governor Susana Martinez has stated that the issue should be left to the voters. New Mexico seems to be on the course to be either the 14th or 15th state to legalize gay marriage.
- In many states gay activists have organized to undo marriage statutes and amendments that define marriage as between one man and one woman either through the state legislature, voter amendments or lawsuits. Some of these states include: Idaho, Georgia, Oregon , Hawaii, Michigan, Arkansas, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois, Louisiana, Utah, South Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.