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Our interview with the Prop 8 plaintiffs is coming tomorrow!

Check back tomorrow morning for our interview with the Prop 8 plaintiffs, and their thoughts on the Supreme Court wins, their hard-earned marriage, and the future of the movement. It’s gonna be a good one!

Continue August 5, 2013

Want to ask the Prop 8 plaintiffs a question?

A quick piece of exciting news that we can finally share here on EqualityOnTrial–this Thursday, yours truly will be sitting down for an interview with the newly married plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case to talk to them about their win at the Supreme Court, what it feels like to finally be married in the eyes of the law, and what they see as the next steps for the movement.

Obviously, I have tons of questions I want to ask them, but we want to hear from you about what questions you have for the plaintiffs!  In the comments below, let me know what you’d be interested in asking, and I’ll do my best to include as many of them as possible in my interview.

Thanks!

July 30, 2013

Equality news round-up: Updates on LGBT judicial nominees, and more

By Scottie Thomaston New York state seal

- A gay judicial nominee for the Federal Circuit has advanced in a Senate committee.

- Another judicial nominee who is gay and black is facing a stalled process in the Senate.

- An analysis of why it will take a year for same-sex couples in England and Wales to be able to marry.

-Yet another poll finds more support than opposition to marriage equality in Virginia.

- Now that Section 3 of DOMA is gone, New York officials are asking the federal government to recognize marriages performed in states where they are considered legal.

July 19, 2013

ACLU of Montana seeks marital rights–by not status–for same-sex couples

By Jacob CombsMontana state seal

The ACLU of Montana yesterday filed a lawsuit  in the state seeking marriage-like benefits for same-sex couples.  In the challenge, which comes after a previous lawsuit filed by the group, the plaintiffs asks only for marital benefits and not the legal status of marriage, The Missoulian reports:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana filed its amended complaint after the state Supreme Court rejected its first lawsuit in December for being too broad and not identifying specific laws that are discriminatory.

In the amended lawsuit, attorney James Goetz identifies numerous statutes, including laws he says prevent gay couples from receiving financial protections given to police officers and spouses and from designating their partners as beneficiaries for worker’s compensation.

The Montana Constitution restricts marriage to different-sex couples under a 2004 constitutional amendment that was approved by voters.  Despite that ban, the ACLU of Montana’s suit alleges, refusing to offer equal rights to same-sex couples that opposite-sex couples in committed relationships enjoy violates equal protection principles.

July 17, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!

By Jacob Combs

All of us here at EqualityOnTrial wish you a very happy holiday.  We’ll be taking the day off from posting today, but we’ll be back tomorrow with coverage of all the LGBT legal news that’s taking place across the country.  What are you doing to celebrate today?  Share your plans with us in the comments!

Happy Fourth!

July 4, 2013

Closing thoughts: tonight’s rally on the steps of the Stonewall Inn

By Jacob Combs

It was a sticky summer kind of New York evening as the throngs packed into the narrow intersection of Waverly Place and Christopher Street outside the steps of the Stonewall Inn. The event was equal parts rally, celebration, law lecture and thanksgiving. Edie Windsor, the newly-turned 84-year-old who today won a huge LGBT rights victory in her suit against the U.S. government, was the star–a heroic figure in the eyes of the crowd, albeit one for whom the mic had to be lowered when she stepped up to speak.

“We won all the way,” she said simply. She thanked Roberta Kaplan for taking her case when the legal advocacy organizations said it was the wrong time; she talked about the children who will grow without ever knowing the stigma of the Defense of Marriage Act, whether enforced against themselves, their parents or their families. And she spoke of her beloved Thea, the wife she lost after almost half a century together. “If I had to survive Thea,” Edie said, “what a glorious way to do it.”

For her part, Roberta Kaplan showered praise on Edie, likening her to Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Harvey Milk. The U.S. Constitution, she said, binds us together as a people and as a nation, and she swore there was no better case to demonstrate what equal protection under the law really means than U.S. v. Windsor. New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, the lead sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would mop up the last vestiges of marriage discrimination in federal law after the demise of DOMA, spoke of today’s rulings as part of an ongoing struggle to expand the meaning and the scope and the inclusivity of the words ‘all men’ in the Declaration of Independence’s affirmation that “all men are created equal.”

Christine Quinn, the out Speaker of the New York City Council, got a big kiss (and an endorsement) from Edie Windsor, telling the crowd that the federal government “picked the wrong New Yorker to mess with.” She bragged that DOMA had been brought down thanks to two New York City lesbians; Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum one-upped her, saying she was kvelling that it had been two Jewish New York City lesbians that had defeated the statute.

It was also a call to arms. “We have work to do,” Empire State Pride Agenda Nathan Schaefer told the crowd, acknowledging the ignominious defeat of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act in the New York state senate just days earlier. Glennda Testone of the New York City LGBT Center said that “Edie Windsor fought the law, and Edie Windsor won,” listing off the myriad remaining priorities for the LGBT movement: transgender equality, immigration reform, bullying prevention, protections for LGBT seniors, an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, protection from housing discrimination and advocacy for people living with HIV and AIDS. Several speakers mourned the implicit loss of the Voting Rights Act, an exemplar of American civil rights litigation, in the same Supreme Court’s ruling of just the day before.

It was a day to be remembered, but also one on which to remember: ten years to the day after the Supreme Court ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that affirmed gay people’s constitutional right to the very act which made them different, 44 years after the night when the Stonewall Riots introduced LGBT rights as an issue in American life, just steps away from where Edie Windsor stood. In a small way, we returned to our roots as a community as we reflected on where we are taking this country, together, as a community. We won. We will keep fighting. We will lose, at times. But, even more importantly, we will keep on winning.

Edie Windsor got the last word–of course–and those who had started to drift away through the streets rushed back to hear what else she would say. The LGBT community, she said, was formed out of the injustice of HIV and AIDS, and in the last three years, out of the injustice of marriage discrimination, that community had come together more than she could ever have imagined. The crowd began to cheer her name–”Edie, Edie!”–while the 5-foot-tall woman stood there, looking radiant, and beamed. And this young California boy, homesick for that beautiful state and its people who had had their rights ripped away from them and now restored, far from the celebrations of Los Angeles and San Francisco and the many tiny towns in between–beamed back.

1 Comment June 26, 2013

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