Last night, Jen Cook and I went to the National Council for Transgender Equality’s (NCTE) 10th Anniversary event. The evening was themed “Our Moment,” reflecting the organization’s intention to build upon the successes of the gay rights movement in the past year, including the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Windsor decision, and the many states that have enacted gay marriage. In fact, even as the party went on, the festivities were interrupted to announce that Hawaii became the 16th state to allow for gay marriage.
Earlier this week, the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the sweeping-change in immigration law that the Windsor decision ushered in. In Matter of Zeleniak, 26 I.&N. Dec. 158 (BIA 2013), the Board recognized that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Windsor, was not an impediment to recognition of same-sex marriage by immigration authorities. In Zeleniak, U.S.
The Supreme Court rocked the world last week by declaring Section III of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional on equal protection grounds. Section III forbade the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Thus, a legal same-sex marriage entered into in New York was valid under NY law, but did not provide the married couple with any federal benefits. Activists have identified over 1100 ways that federal law provides a benefit to a married couple, all of which were unavailable until Wednesday, June 26, when Section III of DOMA was officially bid adieu.
Ding dong, Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limited federal recognition of marriage to a man and woman, is dead. With the stroke of a pen, the U.S. Supreme Court has ended years of discrimination against gay and lesbian couples through its decisions in United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry. With DOMA now ineffective, marriage equality provides more than 1,100 federal benefits previously unavailable to same-sex spouses.
One of the biggest immigration cases of the current Supreme Court terms is not about immigration at all. Today, March 27, 2013, the Court heard arguments in U.S. v. Windsor, a case that is about the validity of a same-sex marriage and its recognition under U.S. law. In 2007, Edie Windsor married her longtime partner, Theya Speyer in Canada, which allows same-sex marriage. When Speyer died in 2009, Windsor was hit with a $363,000 tax bill that she would not have been required to pay if Speyer had been a man.