October 1, 2012
By Matt Baume
We could be getting big news from the Supreme Court on Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act any day now. Make sure you’re subscribed to breaking alerts for all the latest news. And polling is still very close in Maryland, with marriage on the ballot in just five weeks. We’ll have the latest numbers and show you how to get involved in this crucial race.
There’s still no word from the Supreme Court regarding the Prop 8 case. That means that we now know that court hasn’t rejected the petition for review. The next step is for them to issue a decision on hearing the case at some point in the coming weeks. In the mean time, AFER is preparing for all possible outcomes. And we’re continuing our work towards full federal marriage equality.
The Supreme Court also faces several cases involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents the government from recognizing legally married gay and lesbian couples. Throughout the federal court system, there have been over a dozen lawsuits involving the anti-gay law.
DOMA came under additional scrutiny this Thursday in New York, when a federal appeals court heard oral argument in a case involving Edith Windsor. Despite being married, Windsor was treated as a legal stranger when her partner of 40 years passed away in 2009. The court is expected to rule on her case within a few months.
Meanwhile, another DOMA case is now on hold. A federal judge in Pennsylvania suspended the case Cozen O’Connor v. Tobits, pending the outcome of the other DOMA-related lawsuits. This case involves a widow named Jennifer Tobits, whose wife Sarah Ellyn Farley passed away and left about $41,000 in a profit-sharing plan. Farley’s parents say that because DOMA prohibits recognition of their daughter’s marriage, the money should go to them instead of to her widow.
That’s it for federal news. Turning to states, polling is still very close on a marriage equality law in Maryland. Fifty-one percent of voters say they support the proposed new law, with 43 percent opposed. There’s just five weeks to go before voters weigh in on the measure. Visit AFER.org to learn more about how you can get involved in Maryland and in the other four states with marriage on the ballot.
And in Illinois, 44 percent of voters support the freedom to marry. That’s a jump of ten points in just two years. There’s no pending vote on marriage in that state, as a lawsuit over the state’s anti-gay law continues to work its way through state court.