New Jersey Marries First Same-Sex Couples in Midnight Ceremonies Held Across the State

Categories: Gay Marriage

Nine couples were married at Newark City Hall early Monday
A three-tier cake, white roses, and champagne were on hand Monday morning at Newark City Hall, where Mayor Cory Booker married some of the state's first same-sex couples shortly after the stroke of midnight. A state court officially recognized the right for same-sex couples to marry in September.

"It is officially past midnight: Marriage is now equal in New Jersey," Booker told the crowd.

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Hey! We're Gay! We're Married! Let's Move to ... Virginia? (UPDATED)

"Hey, sweetheart, let's move to Virginia and make a life for ourselves there free of intolerance and inequality," said no gay couple ever. Or at least, that's what an effete writer working for a New York publication long-entwined with the city's gay community might assume.

You see, there's an odd geography problem here that our Federalist system produces: Before yesterday's overturning of DOMA, that act's restrictions, coupled with the inconsistent patchwork of anti-discrimination laws state-to-state, would make any gay couple with a brain cell between them stay away from states that, shall we say, didn't have their best interests at heart.

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The raucousness of this morning's overturning of DOMA died away quickly.
This morning, at just a touch past 10, the Supreme Court announced its long-awaited ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, striking the law down in an uncharacteristically sweeping 5-4 ruling. In all the media analysis mumbo-jumbo since the case was argued back in February, the fundamentals of the case got all tangled up in conjecture and hypotheses about the court ruling this way or that.

See Also: Scenes of Jubilation at the Stonewall Inn as the Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

Well, no more need for guesswork: With the demise of DOMA, married gay couples in the states where it's legal (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Washington, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island, Delaware, Minnesota, and D.C.) can now enjoy the over 1,000 federal rights and benefits attached to marriage. And here in New York, it means more than 10,000 couples living with skim-milk marriage can now get their cut of the fat.

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Scenes of Jubilation at the Stonewall Inn as the Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

Categories: Gay Marriage

C.S. Muncy
This morning, The Supreme Court ruled the federal definition of the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. The 5-4 vote cleared the way for marriage equality in 12 states and Washington, D.C. In addition, California's Proposition 8 appeal was dismissed, making this a landmark day for gay rights. We were at the Stonewall Inn to capture the celebration.

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Another Big Day for Same-Sex Marriage as the Supreme Court Hears Arguments on DOMA

Categories: Gay Marriage

Following yesterday's hearing on California's Proposition 8 (whose decision will likely fall into the hands of swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy), another case is coming through the Supreme Court this morning. The justices are hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996.

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Supreme Court Hears Arguments Against California's Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Punts

At approximately 10:15 this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court started hearing arguments on Proposition 8, the 2008 California initiative that banned same-sex marriage in the state. It was the court's first major hearing of gay rights in 10 years, and will be followed by consideration of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) tomorrow -- the 1996 law that struck down federal recognition of same-sex marriage. The Prop. 8 argument was scheduled for one hour, and by 11:32 a.m., the arguments were already over. As SCOTUSblog announced on Twitter, "#scotus won't uphold or strike down #prop8 bc Kennedy thinks it is too soon to rule on #ssm. #prop8 will stay invalidated."

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White House Files Voluntary Amicus Brief, Demands SCOTUS Overturn Prop 8

Nothing like a Presidential push to get the ball rolling.

Yesterday was the deadline for parties to file amicus curae briefs -- or "Here's what we think you should do" memos -- to the Supreme Court before the Nine hears the arguments facing DOMA and Prop 8 at the end of March. And, in this past week, they came flooding in.

At the start, over eight Republican figures signed a brief, showing their support for same-sex marriage in the name of conservatism. This notion was followed by the ACLU, California Assembly Speaker John A. Perez and, most importantly, the White House (which also filed one against DOMA on Monday).

Warm up the bully pulpit.

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[UPDATE]: Prop 8 and DOMA Head To The Supreme Court

same-sex marriage.jpeg
UPDATE: According to the New York Times, the Supreme Court agreed this afternoon to decide on the constitutionality of the Proposition 8 appeal and the Defense of Marriage Act.

It is, arguably, the most significant social battle in America's courts since Roe v. Wade or even Brown v. the Board of Education. It is an issue that is being fought in every state (as of the most recent Election Day, nine approve; 31 disapprove) and a situation that the White House has staked out its territory in. And it is a landmark case that is about to hit its flashpoint.

When Proposition 8's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was approved in California four years ago, civil rights lawyers slowly began the appeals process, and it was really only a matter of time until the case made its way up to the Supreme Court. 

On Friday, the nine justices met to discuss the future of this important legal provision; in other words, whether to hear the case. But the group left the conference silent, with no word on the impending same-sex marriage courtroom showdown. However, the Supreme Court will reconvene today and the week after, which will be its last private meeting until the middle of January. Around this time last year, the court made the decision to hear the health care reform law arguments, leading to the decision that defined the court in 2011. 

Now, once again, it is faced with a pressure just as grand in size; the speculation on what will happen begins.

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Religious Group Tries to Knock NY's Same-Sex Marriage Law and Fails . . . Again

Over the summer, we reported on this little evangelical group from Spencerport, New York, called the New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom. The organization stands on that ever-tipsy fence between religion and politics; its website's mantra states that "as a Christian ministry, NYCF exists to influence legislation and legislators for the Lord Jesus Christ." And a main part of this "influence" application is directed toward New York's Marriage Equality Act (read: dismantling it).

In July, the group's lawsuit, which is based around the argument that the law was illegally created behind closed doors, was rejected by the New York state appeals court in Livingston County. The decision reaffirmed the rights of homosexuals to get married and sent the evangelicals packing. Except, at the end of the article, we mentioned that the group "might try to take another wack at the law by taking the case to the next (and final) level of appeals, the New York State Court of Appeals. But a unanimous decision at this stage in an omen for the group's legal future."

Guess they didn't take our advice.
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The Pros of a Billionaire-as-Mayor: Bloomberg to Donate $500k to Same-Sex Marriage Campaigns

After twelve years of Bloomberg, we all have more or less assimilated and/or recognized the personal wealth of the citizen-in-chief. His announcement on Day One to accept a dollar-a-year salary and opt out of living in Gracie Mansion was the beginning of a long-term acceptance that, yes, our Mayor has much more money than most of us. But that doesn't mean we are not in awe when he flexes his financial strength (in a great way) every once in a while.

Like last April, when the Hozziner announced he would pull $30 million out of his wallet to fund educational programs to solve the achievement gap for disadvantaged African-American and Latino kids in New York. Or the following week, when he went to Baltimore and was like, "Yeah, I'll give you $5 million for your education programs, too." Or the $220,000 he donated to efforts to kick smokers to the curb abroad. You get the picture: Bloomberg Philanthrophies is legit.

And, yesterday, we witnessed another pro of having a billionaire-as-Mayor: Bloomberg announced that, in the time leading up to Election Day, he will donate a total of $500,000 to gay marriage campaigns in states where the issue is on the ballot come November 6th. This comes on top of a $250,000 donation he gave to a Maryland gay marriage intiative earlier this month, which means that this Mayor has pledged $750,000 to help homosexuals achieve the same civil rights as the rest of the citizenry.

Hey, gay marriage supporters in Maine, Minnesota and Washington! Meet Michael R. Bloomberg -- your new best friend.

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