A lesbian couple in Nebraska seeking recognition of their marriage status before one of them dies is among seven same-sex couples challenging the state’s ban on marriage equality, the Omaha Herald-World reported on Monday.
One of the plaintiffs, Sally Waters, was diagnosed with terminal cancer this past June. She and her partner, Susan Waters, became domestic partners in California in 2002 and entered a legally-recognized marriage in that state six years later.
“We have said publicly before God, our family and our friends that we love each other and are committed to one another and our children,” Sally Waters said. “At this moment, I want to spend time loving my children and my wife while knowing that should I die, they will be cared for.”
But according to state initiative 416, neither same-sex marriages nor civil unions granted in other states are recognized in Nebraska. The law went into effect after being backed by 70 percent of state voters in November 2000.
According to the Lincoln Journal-Star, that means that Sally Waters’ death certificate will list her as single. Consequently, her partner will have to pay an 18 percent inheritance tax on the home they currently share, compared to a 1 percent tax rate for married couples. Susan Waters will also be ineligible for Social Security benefits typically granted to surviving members of a couple.
“It’s a fairly gloomy outcome that I’ve got ahead of me,” Sally Waters told the Herald-World. “That made it extra clear that not having our marriage recognized in Nebraska was going to be a hardship for our family.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its Nebraska chapter filed the suit, with ACLU of Nebraska head Danielle Conrad saying the seven couples want the same kind of legal protections provided to heterosexual marriages.
“It’s a diverse group of Nebraskans who have come forward to stand up for their rights, and to support the freedom to marry for all Nebraskans,” Conrad told KKLN-TV.
According to the Herald-World, Gov. Dave Heineman (R) said the state would fight to retain the ban, despite the difficulty of situations like those of the Waterses.
“Let me also remind everybody, marriage has always been a state’s issue,” Heineman said. “We should reflect the values and beliefs of the citizens of Nebraska, which I have absolutely no doubt remains firmly committed that marriage is between a man and woman.”
Nebraska is one of 17 states with a marriage equality ban in place. Other bans around the country have been found unconstitutional in the wake of the June 2013 Supreme Court ruling striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.
The high court is expected to revisit the issue following a ruling by a federal appeals court earlier this month upholding bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
Watch KKLN’s report on the lawsuit in Nebraska, as aired on Monday, below.
Cartoon Chief Justice tells Susan Collins to just quit and ‘go become a lobbyist’ already
Cartoon Chief Justice John Roberts began the latest season of Stephen Colbert's animated show, which began its new season Sunday.
Facing the U.S. Senate, Roberts observed Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) dressed as a mouse.
"Oh no! Mouse in the chamber! Everybody forget this vote and run!" the cartoon senator said.
"Senator Collins, just go be a lobbyist," cartoon Roberts said.
As Roberts explained the rules to the chamber, Collins was then spotted spilling gasoline on the floor.
"Everyone, please remember, this is the United States Senate," Roberts said. "We must not degrade the sacred institution home to Strom Thurmond. Let us comport ourselves with dignity, prudence, and Senator Collins, what are you doing?"
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Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) still doesn't necessarily believe that President Donald Trump should be convicted, even though former national security adviser John Bolton revealed a first-hand account in his unpublished manuscript.
"Well, didn't know that until a little bit ago," Braun told MSNBC's Kasie Hunt. "I think that's a discussion we'll have have to contend with and it'll be here in a couple of days. When it comes to additional information, I think for many of us -- and I need to cite this because where I'm from, as much as president infuriates maybe half the country, it would be the opposite. And it is a tricky combination like I told Chuck Todd this morning, between using your conscience and having to decide what the people in your state are wanting."
Trump’s aides have given up trying to educate him about Russian hack of the elections: report
President Donald Trump has not only refused to believe that Russia was responsible for the 2016 election hack, he refuses to fact-check Russia's claim that Ukraine was the one behind it.
While Russia has worked diligently to make Ukraine the target, Trump has eagerly consumed and regurgitated the conspiracy theory as a way to accuse former challenger Hillary Clinton of causing all of it. Trump accused cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike of taking the Democratic Party server to Ukraine, a false claim given the server was a cloud-based server, not a physical one. Once it became clear that former Vice President Joe Biden would be one of Trump's potential opponents, the president shifted the conspiracy theory to Biden and his last surviving son, Hunter. Trump claimed that the two were part of a corrupt deal in Ukraine in 2015, while Biden's eldest son was dying of brain cancer.