DOMA

The History of Homosexuality: Same-Sex Marriage in the USA

256px-1DX0049.jpg_%288595564717%29 The History of Homosexuality: Same-Sex Marriage in the USA

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The first legal challenges to the ban on same-sex couples marrying in the US came in the early 1970s, without success: Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in 1971 that a ban on SSM wasn’t unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case regarding SSM in 1972, “for want of a substantial federal question.” That denial blocked lower federal courts from addressing the matter of same-sex marriage for decades.

It wasn’t until 1993 that the notion of same-sex marriage was taken seriously by the courts, when a ruling from the Hawaii Supreme Court in Baehr v. Lewin suggested for the first time that refusing to allow same-sex couples to marry might be unconstitutional. The reaction to Hawaii’s ruling, rather than build momentum to allow SSM, instead resulted in a backlash in congress, who pushed through the Defence of Marriage Act, specifically prohibiting the federal government from recognising same-sex marriages. Continue reading →

Posted by Kate Aaron in History, Queer Blogging

The History of Homosexuality: Civil Partnerships

256px-Gay_Marriage_Card_Mr._%26_Mr. The History of Homosexuality: Civil Partnerships

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One of the core aims of the queer emancipation movement, following the decriminalisation of homosexuality, was same-sex partner recognition. Marriage, the state previously reserved for long-term heterosexual domestic partners, has obvious religious connotations, but it also comes with a number of additional rights granted by the state, including but not limited to tax-free inheritance, next-of-kinship (which enables everything from hospital visitation to deciding if it’s time to pull the plug), joint tax filing, joint insurance, joint ownership of property, and so on.

When the AIDS crisis struck in the 1980s, the lack of legal protections for same-sex partners was starkly illustrated in the sheer volume of stories of families who had previously disowned their sons emerging from the woodwork after their deaths and claiming everything they’d built with their partners. It Could Happen to You, Shane Bitney Crone’s heartbreaking short film on the subject, was remarkable only because it was one of many such stories to gain international attention. Continue reading →

Posted by Kate Aaron in History, Queer Blogging

SCOTUS Hearing Prop 8 and DOMA Cases

Yes, it’s finally here. The US Supreme Court is hearing two major cases this week – first on California’s Proposition 8 (that particularly nasty piece of legislation which took marriage equality away from people to whom it had already been granted) and tomorrow DOMA itself.

marriage-equality-HRC SCOTUS Hearing Prop 8 and DOMA Cases

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

The Real Point of Marriage Equality

I’ve banged on rather a lot about equal marriage. About the importance of having the right to use that word, of having the right to stand up before your friends and family – and God, if you believe – and affirm your love to Mr or Mrs Right, whoever you are. But it’s about more than that. This is the real story of why equal marriage matters.

wedding-rings-300x225 The Real Point of Marriage Equality

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff