Today, the United States Supreme Court is set to hear the second case on the topic of same sex marriage presented this week. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which states the federal government will only recognize marriage as between one man and one woman, is being argued today.
The current Obama administration has stated that it will not defend the law, though it will continue the law's enforcement. The lawsuit against DOMA was filed by plaintiff Edith Windsor of New York, married in Canada to her late partner, Thea Spyer. When Spyer died in 2009, she left her estate to her spouse. However, because the marriage was not recognized by the federal government, Windsor was forced to pay over $360,000 in federal estate taxes that she would not have owed had their marriage been federally recognized.
DOMA was first signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1996, before same sex marriage was legal in any state. Since that time, however, beginning with Massachusetts in 2003, nine states and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages. Clinton recently came out in opposition of DOMA, encouraging the Supreme Court to overturn it.
Media Resources: ABC News 3/27/13; LA Times 3/27/13; New York Times 3/27/13; Washington Post 3/27/13
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .