home
arts
literature
social sciences
special features
discussion
about glbtq
   search

 
   Encyclopedia
   Discussion
 
 
 
 
Advertising Opportunities
Press Kit
Research Guide
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
Copyright
 
site guide
search tips
research guide
editors & contributors
contact us
send feedback
write the editor
 
 
 
 
subscribe
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter to receive a spotlight on glbtq culture every month.
e-mail address:
 
 
 
  unsubscribe
 
 
Popular Topics in Literature
Michelangelo Buonarroti Michelangelo Buonarroti
Best known for his genius in art and architecture, Michelangelo was also an accomplished author of homoerotic poetry.
 
Byron, George Gordon, Lord Byron, George Gordon, Lord
The bisexual Lord Byron treated many of his homosexual love affairs in his poetry, encoding them by the use of classical references or by purporting that they were affairs with women.
 
Modern Drama Modern Drama
Before Stonewall, censorship of the theater caused authors to encode homosexual content in publicly-presented plays.
 
Camp Camp
Combining elements of incongruity, theatricality, and exaggeration, camp is a form of humor that helps homosexuals cope with a hostile environment.
 
Selvadurai, Shyam
Sri Lankan-Canadian writer Shyam Selvadurai has emerged as a significant figure in post-colonial and gay writing by virtue of the style, wit, and perspicacity of his three novels.
 
Musical Theater
There has always been homosexual involvement in American musical theatre and a homosexual sensibility even in straight musicals, and recently the Broadway musical has welcomed openly homosexual themes and situations.
 
African-American Literature: Gay Male African-American Literature: Gay Male
The African-American gay male literary tradition consists of a substantial body of texts and includes some of the most gifted writers of the twentieth century.
 
Philippine Literature
A vigorous gay and lesbian literature emerged in the Philippines in the last two decades of the twentieth century.
 
Topics In the News
 
U.S. Supreme Court to Review DOMA, Proposition 8 Cases
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 12/07/12
Last updated on: 12/07/12
 
Bookmark and Share


Edith Windsor.

On December 7, 2012 the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will consider cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the Golden State. The court is expected to hear oral arguments on the cases in March and issue decisions in June 2013.

As many observers predicted, the Supreme Court chose to review Windsor v. U.S.A., the case brought by 83-year-old Edith Windsor, who was required to pay $350,000 in estate taxes after the death of her wife, Thea Spyer, that would not have been owed had she been married to a man.

On October 18, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, ruled in Windsor's favor. Applying "heightened" or "intermediate" scrutiny, the Appeals Court found that DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment's equal protection guarantee.

If the Supreme Court upholds the appropriateness of applying heightened scrutiny to legislation that discriminates against gay people, then a decision in Windsor could have implications far beyond DOMA. As Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress wrote last month, if the Second Circuit's "reasoning is adopted by the Supreme Court, it will be a sweeping victory for gay rights, likely causing state discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to be virtually eliminated."

However, in granting review to the case, the Court also asked the parties to brief and argue the question of whether "the Executive Branch's agreement with the court below that DOMA is unconstitutional deprives this Court of jurisdiction to decide this case; and whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives has Article III standing in this case."

Raising these questions of jurisdiction and standing may provide the Court a way of finding DOMA unconstitutional without having to make a far-reaching ruling on the merits.

The Court's decision to review the Proposition 8 case, now known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, was something of a surprise. Many observers thought that the Court would either deny review to it or hold it over for future consideration.

The Court indicated that among the issues it would consider in the Prop 8 case is the question of standing, i.e., whether the proponents of Proposition even had the right to defend the Proposition after the Governor and Attorney General declined to do so. Thus, it may be that the Supreme Court may actually not rule on the merits of the case itself.

However, if the Court does consider the merits of Proposition 8, it may go beyond the narrow decision handed down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and reach a decision about the fundamental right of marriage for same-sex couples.

It is difficult to exaggerate the significance of the cases before the Supreme Court. Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog recently described the marriage cases as the "most significant cases these nine Justices have ever considered, and probably that they will ever decide."

"The cases," Goldstein wrote, "present a profound test of the Justices' judgment. The plaintiffs' claims are rooted in the fact that these laws rest on an irrational and invidious hatred, enshrined in law. On the other hand, that describes some moral judgments. The Constitution does not forbid every inequality, and the people must correct some injustices (even some grave ones) themselves, legislatively."

"The striking feature of these cases--not present in any others I have ever seen--is that that they would have been decided by the Justices' predecessors one way and would be decided by the Justices' successors another way."

After noting that the claims of same-sex marriage advocates would have been hopeless in the Supreme Court as recently as five years ago, Goldstein concludes: "But the arc of history tilts towards equality and justice, and our society is rapidly but unevenly coming to the judgment that same-sex marriage is just and right. The claims presented by this case would just as inevitably prevail (probably by a wide margin) in the Supreme Court twenty years from now. By then, it will be broadly (if not uniformly) accepted that discrimination against homosexuals related to marriage is invidious and irrational. Our attitudes are shifting that fast."

In the video below, from a news conference held after the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit declared DOMA unconstitutional in Windsor v. U.S.A., Edith Windsor declares that she is thrilled by the decision. She adds that she found it "so offensive that this woman that I lived with and adored, and had loved me, that they treated her as if she was a stranger in my life."

In the clip below, Matt Baume of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which sponsors the Prop 8 challenge, remarks on the significance of the announcement that the Supreme Court will review the Prop 8 case.

 
Related Encyclopedia Entries
 
browse:   arts   literature   social-sciences   discussion boards
 
learn more about glbtq       contact us       advertise on glbtq.com
 
Bookmark and Share

glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2014, glbtq, Inc.

Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.