Gay Primary Source

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Prime Minister Cameron on Passage of UK Marriage Equality Bill

"I am proud that we have made same sex marriage happen. I am delighted that the love two people have for each other - and the commitment they want to make - can now be recognised as equal. I have backed this reform because I believe in commitment, responsibility and family. I don’t want to see people’s love divided by law.

Making marriage available to everyone says so much about the society that we are and the society that we want to live in – one which respects individuals regardless of their sexuality. If a group is told again and again that they are less valuable, over time they may start to believe it. In addition to the personal damage that this can cause, it inhibits the potential of a nation. For this reason too, I am pleased that we have had the courage to change.

I also want to acknowledge those that worked to bring about this moment: the campaigners, groups such as Out4Marriage and Freedom to Marry, and the team in the civil service and Parliament who worked to deliver it.

The UK is rated as the best place in Europe for LGBT equality - but we cannot be complacent. There are subjects we must continue to tackle: not least taking a zero tolerance approach to homophobic bullying, and caring for elderly members of the LGBT community. Rest assured, this government will work tirelessly to make sure this happens.

As the sun shines this week on our country, the LGBT community now know that the unique bond of marriage is available to them. As Lord Alderdice put it when arguing for civil partnerships in 2004: ‘One of the most fundamental rights of all is the right to have close, confiding, lasting, intimate relationships. Without them, no place, no money, no property, no ambition – nothing – amounts to any value. It seems to me a fundamental human right to be able to choose the person with whom you wish to spend your life and with whom you wish to have a real bond.’

I couldn’t agree more. Yesterday was an historic day."

British Prime Minster David Cameron, July 18, 2013; commenting on Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill receiving Royal Assent.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hawaii Gov Lauds Supreme Court Decisions

“In Hawaii, we believe in fairness, justice and human equality, and that everyone is entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else, including the ability to get married. So I am pleased that the Supreme Court, in the Hollingsworth v. Perry case, did not overturn the federal district court’s ruling striking down Proposition 8 – which attempted to bar same sex marriage in California – thereby effectively allowing same sex couples in California to be married.

“Although the Supreme Court did not directly require that same sex couples in other states be allowed to marry, I am encouraged by the fact that language in the Windsor ruling supports my position in the Hawaii lawsuit, which is currently pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In that lawsuit, I argue the Constitution’s equal protection clause requires same sex marriage in all states, including Hawaii.

“I believe my position to support a constitutional right to same sex marriage in Hawaii and elsewhere was given a substantial boost by today’s Supreme Court rulings. I will continue to work to assure justice and equality for all.”

Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie, June 26, 2013; statement on the US Supreme Court decisions to strike down DOMA & Prop 8.

Friday, July 5, 2013

NY Gov. Cuomo Lauds DOMA Demise

"Today’s decisions by the [Supreme] Court are groundbreaking civil rights victories for the LGBT community and a major step forward in our efforts to achieve full marriage equality in this nation.

Two years ago, New York became the largest state to enact marriage equality, and since then we have seen a growing recognition across the country that all citizens deserve equal rights under the law, regardless of sexual orientation.

From the Stonewall Riots 44 years ago this week, to the passage of marriage equality in New York, to today’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act that originated from a case brought by a New York resident, this state has been at the forefront of this movement.

It is my hope that today’s breakthrough decisions will propel our nation forward and finally allow all Americans to be granted the same rights and protections under the law."

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, June 26, 2013.

Federal Employee Benefits Extended to Same-Sex Married Couples

"Today my Administration announced that, for the first time in history, we will be making important federal employee benefits, including healthcare and retirement benefits, available to eligible married gay and lesbian couples and their families.

This is a critical first step toward implementing this week’s landmark Supreme Court decision declaring that all married couples - gay and straight - should be treated equally under federal law. Thousands of gays and lesbians serve our country every day in the federal government. They, and their spouses and children, deserve the same respect and protection as every other family.

Under the leadership of Attorney General Holder, we will continue to move as quickly as possible to fully implement the Court's decision."

President Barack Obama, June 28, 2013.

Pres. Obama Lauds SCOTUS DOMA Decision

"I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal - and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.

So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision - which applies only to civil marriages - changes that.

The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts:  when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."

President Barack Obama, June 26, 2013.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Supreme Court Voids DOMA

"Two women then resident in New York were married in a lawful ceremony in Ontario, Canada, in 2007. Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer returned to their home in New York City. When Spyer died in 2009, she left her entire estate to Windsor. Windsor sought to claim the estate tax exemption for surviving spouses. She was barred from doing so, however, by a federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act, which excludes a same-sex partner from the definition of “spouse” as that term is used in federal statutes. Windsor paid the taxes but filed suit to challenge the constitutionality of this provision. The United States District Court and the Court of Appeals ruled that this portion of the statute is unconstitutional and ordered the United States to pay Windsor a refund. This Court granted certiorari and now affirms the judgment in Windsor’s favor...
When at first Windsor and Spyer longed to marry, neither New York nor any other State granted them that right. After waiting some years, in 2007 they traveled to Ontario to be married there. It seems fair to conclude that, until recent years, many citizens had not even considered the possibility that two persons of the same sex might aspire to occupy the same status and dignity as that of a man and woman in lawful marriage. For marriage between a man and a woman no doubt had been thought of by most people as essential to the very definition of that term and to its role and function throughout the history of civilization. That belief, for many who long have held it, became even more urgent, more cherished when challenged. For others, however, came the beginnings of a new perspective, a new insight. Accordingly some States concluded that same-sex marriage ought to be given recognition and validity in the law for those same-sex couples who wish to define themselves by their commitment to each other. The limitation of lawful marriage to heterosexual couples, which for centuries had been deemed both necessary and fundamental, came to be seen in New York and certain other States as an unjust exclusion.

Slowly at first and then in rapid course, the laws of New York came to acknowledge the urgency of this issue for same-sex couples who wanted to affirm their commitment to one another before their children, their family, their friends, and their community. And so New York recognized same-sex marriages performed elsewhere; and then it later amended its own marriage laws to permit same-sex marriage. New York, in common with, as of this writing, 11 other States and the District of Columbia, decided that same-sex couples should have the right to marry and so live with pride in themselves and their union and in a status of equality with all other married persons. After a statewide deliberative process that enabled its citizens to discuss and weigh arguments for and against same-sex marriage, New York acted to enlarge the definition of marriage to correct what its citizens and elected representatives perceived to be an injustice that they had not earlier known or understood. See Marriage Equality Act, 2011 N. Y. Laws 749 (codified at N. Y. Dom. Rel. Law Ann. §§10–a, 10–b, 13 (West 2013))...
In acting first to recognize and then to allow same-sex marriages, New York was responding “to the initiative of those who [sought] a voice in shaping the destiny of their own times.” Bond v. United States, (2011)...
The States’ interest in defining and regulating the marital relation, subject to constitutional guarantees, stems from the understanding that marriage is more than a routine classification for purposes of certain statutory benefits. Private, consensual sexual intimacy between two adult persons of the same sex may not be punished by the State, and it can form “but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring.” Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558, 567 (2003). By its recognition of the validity of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions and then by authorizing same-sex unions and same-sex marriages, New York sought to give further protection and dignity to that bond. For same-sex couples who wished to be married, the State acted to give their lawful conduct a lawful status. This status is a far-reaching legal acknowledgment of the intimate relationship between two people, a relationship deemed by the State worthy of dignity in the community equal with all other marriages. It reflects both the community’s considered perspective on the historical roots of the institution of marriage and its evolving understanding of the meaning of equality marriages performed in other jurisdictions and then by authorizing same-sex unions and same-sex marriages, New York sought to give further protection and dignity to that bond. For same-sex couples who wished to be married, the State acted to give their lawful conduct a lawful status. This status is a far-reaching legal acknowledgment of the intimate relationship between two people, a relationship deemed by the State worthy of dignity in the community equal with all other marriages. It reflects both the community’s considered perspective on the historical roots of the institution of marriage and its evolving understanding of the meaning of equality.

DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect. By doing so it violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government. See U. S. Const., Amdt. 5; Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U. S. 497 (1954). The Constitution’s guarantee of equality “must at the very least mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot” justify disparate treatment of that group. Department of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U. S. 528, 534–535 (1973)... DOMA’s unusual deviation from the usual tradition of recognizing and accepting state definitions of marriage here operates to deprive same-sex couples of the benefits and responsibilities that come with the federal recognition of their marriages. This is strong evidence of a law having the purpose and effect of disapproval of that class. The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States...
DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal. The principal purpose is to impose in equality, not for other reasons like governmental efficiency. Responsibilities, as well as rights, enhance the dignity and integrity of the person. And DOMA contrives to deprive some couples married under the laws of their State, but not other couples, of both rights and responsibilities. By creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State, DOMA forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect. By this dynamic DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage. The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects, see Lawrence, 539 U. S. 558, and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives...
The power the Constitution grants it also restrains. And though Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

What has been explained to this point should more than suffice to establish that the principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage. This requires the Court to hold, as it now does, that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution...
The class to which DOMA directs its restrictions and restraints are those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is affirmed.

It is so ordered."

[Click here to read the entire decision]

Justice Kennedy, for U.S. Supreme Court, June 26, 2013. U.S. v. Windsor; No. 12-307 - opinion striking down as unconstitutional section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (which defined marriage as man/woman for purposes of Federal statutes), as a violation of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constititution.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Rep. Pelosi Celebrates CA Marriage Equality

“What has been a momentous week for Californians, and indeed all Americans, continues. As we celebrate Pride in San Francisco, we are filled with joy as marriages resume in our state and we continue to savor the historic wins this week for all LGBT Americans and their families. Our fight continues – as we keep working to ensure the fair treatment of LGBT couples wherever they live in our country and ensure that justice is done for every American, no matter who they love.”
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (CA), June 28, 2013; after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals immediately lifted its stay on same-sex marriages in California.

9th Circuit Lifts Prop 8 Stay

"The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately."

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; Perry, et. al, v. Brown, et. al. Order No. 10-16696, June 28, 2013.

California AG Lauds Prop 8 Demise

“The Supreme Court’s historic ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry means that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to be legally married in all of California’s 58 counties. The Court agreed with our argument that opponents of same-sex marriage lacked the legal standing required to bring the issue to the court. Same-sex marriages can legally resume in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifts its stay on the District Court Ruling. I ask that the Ninth Circuit lift this stay immediately, because gay and lesbian couples in California have waited long enough for their full civil rights.”
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, June 26, 2013.

“I am thrilled that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay to allow same-sex couples to legally marry in California. Gay and lesbian couples have waited so long for this day and for their fundamental right to marry. Finally, their loving relationships are as legitimate and legal as any other.”
California Attorney General Kamala Harris, June 28, 2013.

San Fran Leaders on Supreme Court Decision

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, Board of Supervisors and other San Francisco leaders discuss historic U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting on marriage equality in California. Click to watch video. June 26, 2013.

Supreme Court - No on Prop 8

"The public is currently engaged in an active political debate over whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. That question has also given rise to litigation. In this case, petitioners, who oppose same-sex marriage, ask us to decide whether the Equal Protection Clause “prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” Pet. for Cert. i. Respondents, same-sex couples who wish to marry, view the issue in somewhat different terms: For them, it is whether California - having previously recognized the right of same-sex couples to marry - may reverse that decision through a referendum. Federal courts have authority under the Constitution to answer such questions only if necessary to do so in the course of deciding an actual “case” or “controversy.” As used in the Constitution, those words do not include every sort of dispute, but only those “historically viewed as capable of resolution through the judicial process.” Flast v. Cohen, 392 U. S. 83, 95 (1968). This is an essential limit on our power: It ensures that we act as judges, and do not engage in policymaking properly left to elected representatives. For there to be such a case or controversy, it is not enough that the party invoking the power of the court have a keen interest in the issue. That party must also have “standing,” which requires, among other things, that it have suffered a concrete and particularized injury. Because we find that petitioners do not have standing, we have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the Ninth Circuit...

Article III standing “is not to be placed in the hands of ‘concerned bystanders,’ who will use it simply as a ‘vehicle for the vindication of value interests.’... No matter how deeply committed petitioners may be to upholding Proposition 8 or how “zealous [their] advocacy,”... that is not a “particularized” interest sufficient to create a case or controversy under Article III...

Neither the California Supreme Court nor the Ninth Circuit ever described the proponents as agents of the State, and they plainly do not qualify as such...

The Article III requirement that a party invoking the jurisdiction of a federal court seek relief for a personal, particularized injury serves vital interests going to the role of the Judiciary in our system of separated powers. “Refusing to entertain generalized grievances ensures that... courts exercise power that is judicial in nature,” Lance, 549 U. S., at 441, and ensures that the Federal Judiciary respects “the proper - and properly limited - role of the courts in a democratic society,” DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U. S. 332, 341 (2006). States cannot alter that role simply by issuing to private parties who otherwise lack standing a ticket to the federal courthouse.

We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here. Because petitioners have not satisfied their burden to demonstrate standing to appeal the judgment of the District Court, the Ninth Circuit was without jurisdiction to consider the appeal. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

It is so ordered."

[Click here to read the entire decision]

Chief Justice Roberts, for U.S. Supreme Court, June 26, 2013. Hollingsworth v. Perry; No. 12-144 - opinion upholding the decision of U.S. District Court ruling that California's Proposition 8 (ballot initiative defining marriage as man/woman) was unconstitutional, by ruling that petitioners (Prop 8 supporters) had no legal standing on the Federal appeals level.