Quantcast
Connect with us

2 lawsuits challenge US Defense of Marriage Act

Published

on

2 lawsuits challenge federal Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of couples in NY, Conn., VT, NH

Gay civil rights groups trying to build momentum for a possible Supreme Court showdown filed two lawsuits Tuesday that seek to strike down portions of a 1996 law that denies married same-sex couples federal benefits.

The lawsuits were filed in federal courts in Connecticut and New York and come just months after a federal judge in Boston struck down a key component of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

ADVERTISEMENT

The legal actions seek judicial declarations that the law enacted by Congress in 1996, when it appeared Hawaii would soon legalize same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional because it prevents the federal government from affording pension and other benefits to same-sex couples. Since 2004, five states — Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts — and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriage.

In Hartford, Conn., the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders sued the federal government on behalf of a Connecticut widower and married couples from Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire. The other lawsuit was filed on behalf of a New York woman, Edith Schlain Windsor, who met her late spouse, Thea Clara Spyer, nearly a half century ago at a restaurant.

“No one should have to fight with the government after losing the person she’s loved for more than four decades,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Edie and Thea made the same lifelong commitment that other married couples make, and their marriage deserves the same dignity, respect and protection afforded other families.”

Mary Bonauto, an attorney with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, said the Connecticut lawsuit was filed to maintain the momentum the group gained with the success of its challenge against the law in Massachusetts.

In July, U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro in Boston ruled in two separate lawsuits that the Defense of Marriage Act forces the state to discriminate against its own citizens to qualify for federal funding. He also said it violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Justice Department said in a statement that it had no response to the lawsuits, except that the government “is defending the statute, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged.”

The department said that, as a policy matter, President Barack Obama has made clear that he believes the law is “discriminatory and should be repealed” and was working with Congress to do so.

The filing of multiple lawsuits will likely result in rulings in different federal court districts. That could increase the likelihood that the Supreme Court will eventually consider the issue.

ADVERTISEMENT

Also, as the various lawsuits proceed, rulings by higher courts would affect wider areas. For instance, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston covers includes Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire.

One of the Connecticut litigants, Jerry Passaro, 45, of Milford, was denied survivor benefits after his husband, Tom Buckholz, died of lymphoma.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s very hurtful,” Passaro said. “Tommy and I were a team for so many years and to have that false sense of security that you are getting married and will have the same entitlements that everyone else has, it’s very, very unhealthy.”

Raquel Ardin, of North Hartland, Vt., said she felt like she and her wife, Lynda DeForge, 54, were being treated like second-class citizens when DeForge was denied time off from the U.S. Postal Service under the Family and Medical Leave Act to take care of Ardin.

“I just don’t think it’s right,” Ardin said. The couple married in 2009 and have been together 30 years.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bradley Kleinerman, 47, and his husband, Flint Gehre, 44, of Avon, said they lose money every year on taxes by being forced to file as single or head of household. They also have to prepare a third federal return as a couple, so they can figure out the income figures to put on their joint state return.

___

Associated Press Writer Pat Eaton-Robb reported from Hartford.

Source: AP News

Mochila insert follows…

Powered by Mochila

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

White House poised to ask governors to consider National Guard deployment for coronavirus data crisis: report

Published

on

Donald Trump's White House believes that National Guard troops could hold the solution to the COVID-19 data crisis, according to a new report.

"The Trump administration is poised to ask governors to consider sending in the National Guard to hospitals to help improve data collection about coronavirus patients, supplies and capacity, according to draft letters, internal emails and hospital industry officials familiar with the plans," The Washington Post reported Monday.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Tucker Carlson announces ‘long-planned’ vacation following his top writer’s resignation for racism

Published

on

Minutes after Fox News was called out on MSNBC, the embattled host of The Tucker Carlson Show announced that he would be going on a "long-planned" vacation.

The announcement came after Blake Neff, the show's top writer, was exposed for his history of racist, homophobic and misogynistic social media posts.

Continue Reading
 

CNN

‘I told you this would happen’: CNN’s Cuomo tears into Trump for trying to ruin Dr Fauci

Published

on

On Monday, CNN's Chris Cuomo slammed President Donald Trump for his latest attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci.

"Fauci is not to blame for any of this. Trump is, period," said Cuomo. "And now that the reality is sinking in to blue and red, to left, right, and reasonable, Trump is doing what he always does: trying to shift blame to someone else. And we must reject efforts to shift stink onto the one man we can trust."

"Now, in these White House attacks, we see their principles on display as well, don't we?" said Cuomo. "Eat your own, lie about Fauci, deny your role, and defy the mandate of leadership that we gave you. And how about using an unnamed official to smear the only credible voice they have on this voice. Where are the worries about anonymous sources now, Mr. President? This is making America great again? You pardon a convicted liar and lie about a man with a conviction to fight a pandemic, which you apparently lack."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image