Well, it’s been just over a month since the Supreme Court kicked parts of the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] to the curb and told Prop H8 to take a hike, so where do we stand now?
To start with, we have judges in Ohio, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Missouri who, this week alone, have acted to advance marriage equality by drawing on the decision in Windsor v. United States as part of their reasoning.
- In Ohio, U.S. District Judge Timothy Black drew on the precedent set in the Windsor ruling as part of his reasoning affording a temporary order requiring Ohio to recognize the marriage of James Obergefell and John Arthur: “While the holding in Windsor is ostensibly limited to a finding that the federal government refuse to recognize state laws authorizing same-sex marriage, the issue whether States can refuse to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages is now surely headed to the fore. Indeed, just as Justice Scalia predicted in his animated dissent, by virtue of the present lawsuit, ‘the state law-shoe’ has now dropped in Ohio.”
- In Missouri, the State Supreme Court has asked attorneys involved in a gay death benefits case for an additional briefing in light of the Supreme Court’s decision against DOMA. Kelly Glossip was denied the benefits of her partner, Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Dennis Engelhard, who died in the line of duty in 2009.
- In Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County, citing the Windsor again, the County Commission has directed clerks to distribute marriage licenses to gay couples.
- In New Mexico, Attorney General Gary King also cited the Windsor decision in his opinion in which he announces he won’t defend a state law in a lawsuit seeking marriage equality; he cites, along with Windsor, the Massachusetts case, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health and Iowa’s Varnum v. Brien.
And it isn’t happening solely at the state level; the Windsor ruling is affecting federal rulings as well. This week, the Federal Election Commission will vote on allowing married same-sex couples to make joint political donations from an individual bank account. Previously, married same-sex couples were ineligible to make such contributions under DOMA, but with Section 3 of that law deemed unconstitutional, the commission says it will now revisit the issue.
In addition to the DOMA ruling, Suzanne Goldberg, co-director of Columbia University’s Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, also attributed the advancement of marriage equality to previously anti-equality elected officials wanting to catch up to other politicians who have endorsed same-sex marriage. And let’s not forget We The People, who have been telling the world in poll after poll that it’s time to make marriage equality the law of the land.
The march goes on, people, and its gathering momentum.