#ThomHartmann blog: Supreme Court Debates Equal Rights Day 2
by Thom Hartmannposted Mar 27 2013 2:49PM
Today, the federal Defense of Marriage was challenged before the Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor. The issue being challenged is section three of DOMA, which defines marriage for the purposes of federal law as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Opponents of DOMA argue that the law violates same0sex couples' Fifth Amendment right to equal protection under the law, however defenders of the law say it ensures the sovereignty of the states.
In the lead up to today's case, both the Obama Administration and the Attorney General announced they would no defend DOMA, so the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, known as BLAG, has taken up the defense. BLAG is made up of House Speaker John Boehner and several other Representatives, and they claim that the Defense of Marriage Act benefits our nation by saving money. And they argue that federal benefits given to opposite-sex couples encourage “reasonable procreation.”
There are three issues before the court in the case: whether DOMA violates the constitutional rights of same-sex couples, whether the President and the Attorney General refusing the law deprives the court of jurisdiction, and whether BLAG has the legal right to bring the appeal. DOMA denies same-sex couples multiple benefits they would otherwise receive under federal law, such as the right to file joint taxes, spousal healthcare from federal employers, and Social Security survival benefits.
In addition to being morally wrong, there's no question that DOMA treats LGBT families like second class citizens. It's time for everyone in our nation to have the right to marry the person who they love. Let's hope the Supreme Court overturns DOMA, and helps to make that possible.
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