Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09



DOMA and Prop 8 cut down, responses

This article shared 5584 times since Wed Jun 26, 2013
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

See news story here: .

National ACLU comments

The U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that section three of the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" is unconstitutional and that the federal government cannot discriminate against married lesbian and gay couples for the purposes of determining federal benefits and protections. Today's ruling is a historic victory for gay and lesbian Americans and a tremendous step forward for the cause of equality.

The court's ruling said: "The history of DOMA's enactment and its own text demonstrate that interference with the equal dignity of same-sex marriages, a dignity conferred by the States in the exercise of their sovereign power, was more than an incidental effect of the federal statute. It was its essence."

The justices ruled in favor of Edith "Edie" Windsor, who sued the federal government for failing to recognize her marriage to her partner Thea Spyer after Spyer's death. Windsor and Spyer met in the early 1960s. Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1977, and Windsor helped her through her long battle with the disease, which eventually left Spyer paralyzed. Windsor and Spyer, who were a couple for 44 years, were married in 2007. When Spyer died in 2009, she left all of her property to Windsor, including the apartment that they shared. But because DOMA prevented the federal government from recognizing the marriages of gay people, Windsor was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes that she would not have owed if she had been married to a man. Windsor's attorneys argued that DOMA denied her, and other gay and lesbian married couples, the equal protection of the law guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

"DOMA violated the fundamentally American principles of fairness and equality," said Windsor. "Because of today's Supreme Court ruling, every child born today will be able to grow up in a world without DOMA — a world where the federal government won't discriminate against their marriages no matter who they are. I know Thea would have been so happy and proud to see how far we have come in our fight to ensure that all gay and lesbian couples are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve."

"This historic ruling recognizes how unfair it is to treat married lesbian and gay couples as though they're legal strangers," said James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project. "Edie and Thea were there for each other in sickness and in health like any other married couple. It's only right for the federal government to recognize their marriage and the life they built together."

"This is truly a day for the history books, one that will be marked by future generations as a giant step forward along our nation's continuing path towards equality," said Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, who argued Windsor's case at the Supreme Court. "DOMA was the last law on the books that mandated discrimination against gay people by the federal government simply because they are gay. The days of 'skim milk' or second-class marriages for gay people are now over."

"Today, the Supreme Court reinforced its commitment to the promise of 'Equal Justice Under Law.' This is a great day, and a reminder that when individual citizens like Edie Windsor have the courage to stand up for their rights, they can achieve fundamental change," said Pamela Karlan, co-director of the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

"This is a great day for equality and the beginning of the end of official discrimination against people who are lesbian and gay," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. "We are delighted for Edie and for families across the country."

Both a federal district court and a federal appeals court ruled in Windsor's favor previously.

Windsor is represented by the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

More on this case can be found at: .

The decision can be found at: .

This press release is available at: .

President Obama calls HRC President and Prop 8 plaintiffs to offer congratulations

WASHINGTON — Calling from Air Force One, President Obama this morning placed a call to HRC President Chad Griffin's cell phone in order to offer his congratulations to Prop 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo. The call came as Perry and Stier were speaking to Thomas Roberts live on MSNBC. During the call which lasted two minutes and caller ID labeled "unknown," the President expressed his thanks to the plaintiffs for their courage and determination in returning marriage equality to California.

"We're proud of you guys, and we're proud to have this in California," Obama said, according to audio that aired live on MSNBC as the president spoke by phone from aboard Air Force One en route to Senegal. "And it's because of your leadership things are heading the right way. So you should be very proud today."

Watch the call here:

The Administration had filed a brief in the Perry case arguing for an end to Proposition 8.

American Foundation for Equal Rights statement

Washington, DC — Today, in a historic victory for marriage equality, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry that restores marriage equality to California.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the landmark federal constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8. It is the first case involving the right of gay and lesbian Americans to marry ever to be fully briefed and argued before the Supreme Court.

In today's decision, the Court dismissed the Perry case for lack of jurisdiction because the Proponents of Proposition 8 do not possess legal standing to appeal the lower court rulings that invalidated Proposition 8. The decision makes permanent the landmark United States District Court ruling that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

As a result of today's decision, gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry in California once the District Court's judgment takes effect. In August 2010, the District Court held:

"Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."

"Today is a great day for American children and families," said Plaintiff Kris Perry. "Sandy and I want to say how happy we are, not only to be able to return to California and finally get married, but to be able to say to children in California that no matter where you live, no matter who your parents are, no matter what family you are in: you are equal, you are as good as your friends' parents and as your friends. We believed from the very beginning that the importance of this case was to send a message to the children of this country that you are just as good as everybody else no matter who you love, no matter who you're parents love."

"Today is not just about us, it is about kids in the South, it is about kids in Texas, it is about kids everywhere. And we really need to take this fight all the way and win equality for everyone in this entire country," said Plaintiff Sandy Stier.

"This is a historic victory for California, for equality, and, most of all, for loving gay and lesbian couples and their families. Because of this decision, today we are more American," said Adam Umhoefer, executive director of AFER.

"As historic as today's Supreme Court decision is, 37 states still treat gay and lesbian Americans and their children as unequal, second-class citizens. That means that countless children still do not have the security and protection that marriage would provide their parents. The Court needs to recognize that the Constitution guarantees these families and loving, committed couples full equality under the law. Our work is not complete until marriage equality is a reality for all Americans," added Umhoefer.

"The Perry case changed the conversation. It altered the game," said Plaintiff Jeff Zarrillo. "It created a groundswell of momentum and passion that brought us here to the Supreme Court today. Today, the Court said that I am more equal, that we are more equal, our love is just like our parents and grandparents and that any children we may have in the future will be more secure. I look forward to growing old with the man I love. Today is a great day to be an American."

"Today, we are closer to marriage equality for all," said Plaintiff Paul Katami. "We are lucky, but we know that this fight continues across the country. We cannot forget our LGBT brothers and sisters that are in states that still discriminate against them, and we will not allow it. We will continue the fight until all of us our equal. We stand on the shoulders of so many people that came before us. People that risked their lives to stand up and be who they are. They gave us the legs to stand up on today. They gave us the momentum to run with and the voice to speak loudly and say proudly: we are gay, we are American, and we will not be treated like second-class citizens."

Enacted in November 2008, Proposition 8 eliminated the fundamental freedom of gay and lesbian Californians to marry. With today's decision, California joins 12 other states and the District of Columbia in recognizing the fundamental right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. As the nation's most populous state, with more than 37 million residents, California substantially increases the number of Americans—approximately 94 million people, or 30 percent of the United States population—who live in a state with marriage equality.

"This is a momentous victory for America's constitutional commitment to equal rights for all. Today's decision by the Supreme Court permits the plaintiffs we represent—and tens of thousands of gay and lesbian Californians—to exercise the freedom to marry the person they love," said Plaintiffs' lead co-counsel Theodore B. Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. "With Proposition 8 finally gone, our nation moves one giant step closer toward the day when every American—in every state—will be able to equally enjoy the fundamental freedom to marry. This is a proud day for all Americans."

"After years of unjust and unlawful discrimination, gay and lesbian Californians will no longer be treated as second-class citizens, unworthy of the fundamental right to marry the person they love," said Plaintiffs' lead co-counsel David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. "As we have said from the very beginning of this case, the denial of that fundamental right seriously harms gay and lesbian Americans and the children they are raising. It serves no legitimate state interest. Our Constitution guarantees liberty and equality for all, and today that promise was fulfilled for tens of thousands of gay and lesbian Californians and their families."

The Supreme Court also issued a decision today in United States v. Windsor, concluding that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional because it violates the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the laws. In an opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the Court held that DOMA "demeans" gay and lesbian couples and "humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by [those] couples."

Enacted by Congress in 1996, Section 3 of DOMA nullified the marriages of gay and lesbian couples for all purposes of federal law. With the end of the Section 3 of DOMA, the federal government will no longer be permitted to exclude legally married gay and lesbian couples from the federal rights, benefits, and burdens that govern all other married couples.

The Windsor case was brought on behalf of Edith ("Edie") Windsor by the American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.



Statement of John Knight, Director

LGBT Project of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois

RE: Supreme Court of the United States decision in United States v. Windsor

Congratulations to the spirited and courageous Edie Windsor whose 44-year loving relationship to Thea Spyer has inspired a generation of Americans. Today's Supreme Court ruling in her favor is an historic victory for Edie, as well as for lesbians and gay men across the nation. The Court today struck down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which requires our federal government to treat legally married gay and lesbian couples as strangers rather than respecting and recognizing their marriages as it does for straight couples.

Thanks to the mettle of Edie and the talent and expertise of my colleagues at the ACLU National LGBT Project who, along with the NYCLU and the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, represented Edie, and to the many talented advocates who submitted friend-of-the-court briefs in her support, that discrimination ends today.

After today's ruling, the more than 1100 federal benefits and programs where being married makes a difference — from family medical leave, to social security survivor benefits, to access to health care for spouses of federal employees — now will be available to gay and lesbian couples who are legally married across the nation. DOMA is the last federal law on the books that mandates discrimination against gay and lesbians. It is a great day for equality.

This decision adds to the urgency for the Illinois House to pass Senate Bill 10, extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in our state. Couples all across Illinois — including the couples we represent in litigation challenging Illinois' discriminatory marriage law — deserve the dignity and universal recognition of marriage for their loving committed relationships and their children. The second-class status offered by civil unions demeans these relationships and invites discrimination. With the demise of DOMA, the harm of denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry is compounded because the many crucial federal benefits now available to all married couples are unavailable to couples in civil unions.

The full House should act quickly to pass this historic legislation. Illinois can then join the growing list of states that are advancing fairness by recognizing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.

Read the decision here: .

Statement by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

"The Supreme Court's decision today is a major step forward in the ongoing fight to ensure that government won't discriminate and will treat all love equally. This decision should strengthen our commitment in the State of Illinois toward ensuring that the life-long commitments of all Americans are honored and respected by the law. The state should not be standing in the way of two people loving each other. America has faced obstacles on our journey to equality before and we have always overcome them. The struggle for marriage equality will be no different."

Lambda Legal response

(Washington, June 26, 2013) - In two profoundly important rulings today, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 of the federal, so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional, and also found that the proponents of California's discriminatory Proposition 8 lacked legal standing to appeal a lower court ruling striking down the amendment. Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Legal Director Jon Davidson:

"Two ugly chapters in the history of our nation and of California are finally over. DOMA's core has been struck down, and the California Constitution will no longer compel unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their families. This is a great day for LGBT people and for our country.

"Exactly 10 years ago today, the Supreme Court issued an historic ruling striking down state laws that branded gay people as criminals. Today, it once again struck down a law passed by legislators who sat in moral judgment against LGBT people, this time condemning them in the eyes of the entire nation. DOMA was unconstitutional when Congress wrote it and, with today's ruling, its bruising hand has been lifted.

"This is a huge victory for married same-sex couples and their families because it will affect almost every facet of life from health care to retirement to taxes.

"The Supreme Court also restored the freedom to marry in California so that lesbians and gay men will once again be able to marry the person they love. Prop 8 has been thoroughly tested in court and lost because it's so clearly harmful to same-sex couples and their families. The Supreme Court recognized that individuals who oppose marriage for same-sex couples lack standing because they are not harmed in any way when those couples can marry - something at the heart of the matter that we have been saying all along.

"The two decisions the Supreme Court issued today came in United States v. Windsor, the DOMA challenge brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Edie Windsor, and Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Prop 8 challenge brought by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER).

"At Lambda Legal, we are popping champagne corks and offer our congratulations to the courageous plaintiffs in these cases, and our thanks to the ACLU and their co-counsel at Paul Weiss and to Ted Olson and David Boies, and the American Foundation for Equal Rights, for securing these tremendous victories.

"Key details remain to be worked out over the coming months, including the implications for legally married same-sex couples living in states that deny their true marital status. Lambda Legal and our sister organizations will work with Obama Administration officials and will continue to pursue legal and administrative actions as may help to clarify these matters and to implement both of today's judgments against discrimination."

Lambda Legal has Legal Help Desk staff ready to help answer the many questions married same-sex couples will have about how these rulings affect them. Visit: or call 866-542-8336.

Windsor was one of four cases to challenge the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA that came before the Supreme Court, including U.S. Office of Personnel Management v. Golinski, the challenge out of the 9th Circuit brought by Lambda Legal and Morrison & Foerster on behalf of federal court employee Karen Golinski, who was denied family health coverage for her spouse Amy Cunninghis. The other two cases are Gill et. al. v. Office of Personnel Management in the First Circuit and Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management in the Second Circuit, both brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

Lambda Legal and GLAD filed joint amicus briefs in both the Windsor and Perry cases after the Supreme Court granted review.

Equality Illinois statement:

U.S. Supreme Court Rulings on DOMA 'Bittersweet' in Illinois

CHICAGO — Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans, offered this initial reaction to today's rulings on marriage equality by the U.S. Supreme Court:

"The Supreme Court today affirmed America's promise of equality by ruling that the federal government cannot ignore constitutional principles when it comes to gay and lesbian couples and their marriages, and it is a moment to celebrate. But today's historic victory overturning the Defense of Marriage Act is bittersweet in the states like Illinois where couples are still denied the right and recognition of marriage. For anyone who doubts that civil unions in Illinois created an unacceptable second-class status, the court's ruling is a powerful message that the state House urgently needs to join the Senate and pass the freedom to marry. It is crystal clear now that by failing to act the House denied gay and lesbian couples equal access to the federal protections that married couples in other states will now enjoy."

GLAAD comments

NEW YORK, NY, June 26, 2013 - In a landmark victory for equality, the United States Supreme Court today struck down the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act' or DOMA, a law that prohibited the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex couples. In a 5 to 4 ruling, the Court determined that "DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty."

For a list of available spokespeople, including married same-sex couples, faith leaders, marriage experts and more, visit

For additional resources, including facts and figures, as well as information about United States v Windsor and Hollingsworth v Perry, visit

"At long last, the legal marriages of countless gay and lesbian couples will be afforded the same federal recognition and protections as any other," said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "Today is a cornerstone for justice and equality — when our nation once again moved closer to recognizing and celebrating all LGBT Americans for their contributions to our great country."

The Court also denied standing in Hollingsworth v Perry, which challenged the constitutionality of California's anti-gay Proposition 8 or Prop. 8, a statewide ban on marriage equality. The decision will restore marriage equality in California.

"Fairness has finally been restored in California," said GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz. "A majority of Americans, and now the highest Court in the land, agree that it's wrong to strip loving and committed gay and lesbian couples of the fundamental opportunity to marry the person you love. Today, we stand in solidarity with millions of Californians, who can finally say 'I do' to the person they love."

A March 2013 Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that 58 percent of Americans "believe it should be legal for gay and lesbian couples to get married; 36 percent say it should be illegal."

Yesterday, GLAAD expressed disappointment that a critical section of the Voting Rights Act was ruled unconstitutional, thus removing voting protections for vulnerable Americans, including LGBT Americans. For more information:

GetEQUAL Responds to Supreme Court Decisions on Marriage Cases

WASHINGTON, DC — GetEQUAL — a national LGBT social justice organization — issued the following statement about this morning's Supreme Court rulings on Proposition 8 (dismissed due to lack of standing 5-4) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA struck down 5-4 as unconstitutional):

"We're happy today because our community finally has secured the right to marry in 13 states and Washington, DC. But we know that partial freedom is not freedom — we must not leave behind our sisters and brothers who are not fully equal at marriage counters across the country. Our work is far from over — not simply in our struggle for marriage equality in all 50 states, but also in employment, immigration, housing, credit, public accommodations, and so many other ways. Today we celebrate, but we are getting right back to work."

** GetEQUAL's co-directors, Heather Cronk and Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez are available for interview or comment regarding DOMA or Prop 8 via the contact information above. **

The past few weeks, and especially the past few days, have been complicated for civil rights and protections in the United States. While the Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin case was remanded back to a lower court for clarification, the Court gutted one of the most precious pieces of civil rights legislation in the country, the Voting Rights Act, in its Shelby County v. Holder case. GetEQUAL stands firmly against the Court's ruling in the Shelby case, and joins with others in the civil rights community in pledging to move forward with legislative action to right this wrong.

From Marriage Equality

Marriage Equality USA announces rallies nationwide, marking the Supreme Court's landmark decision ending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act's exclusion of lesbian and gay couples from the over 1,000 federal protections and rights that come with marriage.

"My wife Sheila, our daughter Jacqueline, and I are overjoyed that we will now have full federal protections for our family, just as any other married family does," said Cathy Marino-Thomas, Marriage Equality USA's Board Co-President. "For many years, the misnamed 'Defense of Marriage Act' has unfairly denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples across the country federal protections in many areas of our lives, such as social security, veterans' benefits, health care, taxes, and immigration. Marriage Equality USA is very pleased that this discrimination is finally coming to an end," said Marino-Thomas.

"My wife Ann and I have been a loving, committed couple for over 27 years, have raised 5 kids, and are legally married in California," said Marriage Equality USA's Christine Allen, who lives in Sacramento, California. "We are senior citizens and feel a great sense of relief that DOMA's exclusion of us from much needed protections, such as spousal social security, will now end. We've worked and paid into the system just like everyone else, and thanks to the Supreme Court's decision we now will be protected like everyone else."

Brian Silva, Marriage Equality USA's Executive Director, stated,"It's hard to overstate the importance of today's Supreme Court decision on the day to day lives of married same-sex couples. These couples will no longer be denied extremely important protections, such as the Family Medical Leave Act, that all other married couples have. Marriage Equality USA will continue to empower same-sex couples and their friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers to share the truth of their lives so that we gain the freedom to marry in every state in the country. Many of our volunteers and leaders actively participated in making the freedom to marry a reality in Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota earlier this year. Our work won't end until we have full nationwide equality for every American."

Immigration Equality statement

Washington, DC — Following the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling striking down a core provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), lesbian and gay Americans will now be eligible to apply for green cards on behalf of their foreign national spouses, the organization Immigration Equality announced today. The court ruled today, in United States v. Windsor, that Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibited the federal government from conferring benefits to married same-sex couples, is unconstitutional. That provision of the law made it impossible for lesbian and gay couples to receive immigration benefits, including green cards.

"At long last, we can now tell our families that yes, they are eligible to apply for green cards," said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality. "Many of our families have waited years, and in some cases decades, for the green card they need to keep their families together. Couples forced into exile will be coming home soon. Americans separated from their spouses are now able to prepare for their reunion. Today's ruling is literally a life-changing one for those who have suffered under DOMA and our discriminatory immigration laws."

Immigration Equality provides pro bono legal counsel to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants and asylum seekers. The organization has trained more than 100 immigration attorneys across the country in preparation for today's ruling, and will work to connect families with a lawyer specifically trained to help LGBT couples through the green card process. Immigration law recognizes marriages that are valid where celebrated — so couples who marry in a state or country that allows them to do so will be eligible to submit a green card application, even if they live in a state that does not recognize their marriage.

Today's 5-to-4 ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, noted that, "The Constitution's guarantee of equality . . . cannot justify disparate treatment of" lesbian and gay couples. Under the law, the Court found, "same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways. By its great reach, DOMA touches many aspects of married and family life, from the mundane to the profound." By "treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others," the Court ruled, "the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment."

Immigration Equality, which is representing five binational couples in a federal court challenge in New York, announced today that it has applications pending, and others ready to file immediately, which should be processed and approved soon.

"Today's decision closes a discriminatory chapter in American immigration law. For 40 years, LGBT individuals were turned away at our borders; Congress called us unfit to be Americans. For LGBT couples, that exclusion continued until today," Tiven said. "The Court did what Congress would not, and recognized that all loving couples are the same under the Constitution."

Immigration Equality has posted FAQs for binational couples about the impact of today's ruling on its website at .

Courage Campaign

Statement of Rick Jacobs, founder and chair of the, a leading California-based progressive organization, on today's Supreme Court rulings:

"Today the nation took another historic step towards creating a more perfect union. This is a watershed moment for equality and a clear statement from the highest court in the land that discrimination and hatred have no place in a country founded on the principles of liberty, justice and equality. The judiciary has now caught up with the American public and the tremendous momentum our movement has had since the passage of Prop. 8 five years ago. Love should not be legislated or litigated. We hope today's rulings settle this issue once and for all as we celebrate loving couples marrying in California and across the country in the coming weeks, months and years."

HRC statement

WASHINGTON — In recent years, California's Proposition 8 and the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act became symbols of anti-LGBT discrimination around the country and around the world. Today, both crumbled.

In a watershed moment in the fight for equality, the United States Supreme Court today ruled to return marriage equality to California and to strike down DOMA. The court ruled in the Prop 8 case on procedural grounds, not reaching a decision on the merits of Prop 8 or the broader question of whether the Constitution guarantees the fundamental right to marry the person you love.

Marriages in California are expected to begin again soon. While a joyous milestone, these victories nonetheless throw into sharp relief the uneven progress for LGBT people around the country—a landscape where states like California are rapidly advancing toward equality, but progress in many other places remains stagnant.

"Today's historic decisions put two giant cracks in the dark wall of discrimination that separates committed gay and lesbian couples from full equality," said HRC president Chad Griffin, who brought together the bipartisan legal team of Ted Olson and David Boies that brought the Proposition 8 case to the Supreme Court. "While we celebrate the victory for Californians today, tomorrow we turn our attention to the millions of LGBT people who don't feel the reach of these decisions. From the Rocky Mountains to the heart of the South, it's time to push equality forward until every American can marry the person they love and all LGBT people are guaranteed equal protection under the law."

HRC is committed to accelerating the progress of marriage equality through ongoing financial and strategic assistance to efforts in states around the country, including New Jersey, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada and others. And with the Defense of Marriage Act gone, the organization is pushing hard to ensure that the Obama administration cuts through regulatory clutter and delivers the greatest number of benefits to the greatest amount of people.

"These decisions underscore the emergence of two Americas. In one, LGBT citizens are nearing full equality. In the other, our community lacks even the most basic protections," said Griffin. "Everywhere that injustice still prevails, we will fight for justice. And our message to those who cement their feet on the wrong side of history is that we will win."

Hollingsworth v. Perry, previously known as Perry v. Schwarzenegger and Perry v. Brown, was filed on behalf of two same-sex couples in federal district court in California in May 2009. Under the sponsorship of the American Foundation for Equality Rights — co-founded by HRC President Chad Griffin — and represented by conservative attorney Ted Olson and liberal attorney David Boies, the plaintiffs achieved victories in both district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, both of which ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

In Windsor v. U.S., Edie Windsor, represented by the ACLU and the law firm Paul Weiss, challenged section 3 of DOMA which required her to pay $363,000 in estate taxes after her partner and spouse of more than 40 years passed away. If Edie had been married to a man, instead of a woman, it is undisputed that her estate tax bill would have been zero.

Lawfully-married couples living in marriage equality states will soon have equal access to all the federal rights and benefits based on marital status. For married couples living in states without marriage equality, there is less clarity. Even with DOMA out of the way, different federal programs have different rules that determine where an agency looks to decide if a marriage is valid — either place of celebration or place of residence. Most of these rules are policies, regulations or simply practices that the Obama Administration can change through existing processes to ensure that married same-sex couples, wherever they may live, have access to the federal rights and benefits they deserve. Under the current rules and practices, a lawfully-married same-sex couple living in a state that does not recognize their marriage will have access to some federal rights and benefits, but may not have access to many others, depending on how the court rules. Working with a coalition of groups, HRC has raised these issues with the Administration and will be working tirelessly to see the necessary changes made so that the largest number of married same-sex couples have access to the largest number of rights and benefits under federal law.


PFLAG National—the nation's largest organization of families, friends and allies united with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people — celebrated today's victory at the United States Supreme Court, striking down both Section Three of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, and Proposition 8 on standing, which means the restoration of marriage equality to the state of California.

"Today, committed and loving LGBT couples and their families, friends and allies in California and across the country celebrate a huge step forward towards full acceptance and equality," said PFLAG National Executive Director Jody M. Huckaby. "The Supreme Court's dual rulings affirm what we at PFLAG have always known to be true: that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are fundamental rights for all Americans, and that denial of those rights seriously harms LGBT people and their families."

Joining in the celebration were PFLAG members and supporters from across the country who had worked tirelessly to ensure that their loved ones would receive equal treatment under the law.

Said PFLAG Los Angeles President Mariette Sawchuk, "When my son Stephen came out he said to me, 'Mom, all I have ever wanted is to have a family and to have a marriage like yours and Dad's.' Thanks to today's ruling, my twin sons—both of whom are gay—will have the opportunity to share in an enduring, loving, legally recognized and protected marriage."

Sawchuk was one of several PFLAG members who shared personal stories in an Amicus Brief submitted by PFLAG to the Supreme Court regarding Proposition 8.

Another PFLAGer who participated in the brief was Eric Brock, whose older brother Brandon is gay. While Eric, Brandon, and each of their spouses celebrated today's rulings, they acknowledged that there is still work to be done; Brandon and his spouse, Alexis Caloza, were married in New York and reside in San Francisco, where—thanks to today's ruling—their marriage is now legal again. But Eric still resides in Arkansas where the brothers were born and raised, a state whose constitution bans same-sex marriage and civil unions.

Said the younger Brock, "I am incredibly excited that my brother's New York State marriage will be recognized by the Federal government and in the state of California where he now lives. This was a big step forward, but there is still a long way to go to reach full equality. We need to keep working so that If Brandon and Alexis should ever choose to return to Arkansas, the federal government would provide them all the benefits of marriage within that state...even if the state itself didn't yet legally recognize their relationship."

PFLAG National ED Huckaby agreed with Brock, stating, "PFLAG National and its vast chapter network will continue to move hearts and change minds to win full marriage equality at the federal level and in more states, and to grow support among the majority of Americans throughout the country. Together, we will continue to affirm the message that, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, love is love, family is family, and marriage is marriage."

People For the American Way Foundation response

The Supreme Court today ruled Section Three of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional as a violation of the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection. At the same time the court ruled that the proponents of California's Proposition 8 did not have standing to appeal the pro-equality decision of District Court Judge Vaughn Walker. People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan issued the following statement:

"Today's DOMA ruling is a profound step forward for loving, committed same-sex couples across the country. The decision is premised on the plain fact that there is no good reason for the government to recognize some legally married couples while discriminating against others.

"While the outcome of Hollingsworth v. Perry reflects a missed opportunity to affirm the freedom to marry nationwide, it also serves a long-overdue restoration of justice to the thousands of loving couples in California who suddenly saw their marriages put up for a popular vote. This decision clears the way for same-sex couples in California to once again be treated equally under the law.

"Today isn't just a good day for the LGBT community. It's an important victory for all Americans who value the principle of equal justice under law and who believe that the long arc of the universe bends ultimately towards justice.

"I couldn't be happier that Section Three of DOMA and Prop 8 have been consigned to the dustbin of history. But we won't rest until couples in every state have an equal right to marry the under the law. There's plenty of work left to do. We can't wait to do it."

Task Force response

WASHINGTON, June 26 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is hailing today's Supreme Court rulings related to marriage equality as historic and far reaching.

"Today's historic decisions are a significant leap forward for freedom and justice for same-sex couples and their families, the LGBT community and for our nation — and a lot more work needs to be done to deliver marriage equality to the rest of our nation's same-sex couples and their families and full equality in every other respect for all LGBT people," said Rea Carey, Task Force Executive Director.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

On the Proposition 8 case, the lower federal court had ruled it to be unconstitutional — and the High Court today allowed this ruling to stand. Marriage equality is now reestablished in California. In all, the federal government will now recognize the marriages of same-sex couples and couples will be able to marry once again in California, our nation's most populous state.

"These rulings mean stronger families and communities across our nation: Millions of same-sex married couples will gain access to all of the benefits associated with marriage. These include: health care, Social Security, housing and income security — all key components of the American Dream," Carey said.

"However, those legally married same-sex couples (and widows or widowers) who have moved to — or now live in — a state that discriminates against their marriages, may face barriers to their federal marital protections. We will fight this."

Carey noted that while same-sex couples will now be able to get married in California if they choose:

"Now is not the time to be complacent on other LGBT-related issues. While we welcome marriage equality again in California, we know there are couples in 37 states who still lack the ability to get married in their own state and we still live in a world where a married LGBT person can go to work and get fired for who they are or who they love — and there are other issues that impact the lives of LGBT people that the ability to marry doesn't resolve."

For example, students won't feel any safer in school; seniors won't get more appropriate care; transgender people won't stop experiencing violence and discrimination. And these rulings do not address the fact that people of color — especially LGBT people of color — still experience discrimination at every level of society.

"We must intensify our efforts in other areas. We must pass employment non-discrimination legislation and comprehensive immigration reform," Carey urged.

Now that the Supreme Court has made its decision, implementation will be key.

"Today, history was made not only by the Supreme Court, but by the hundreds of thousands of people across the country who have worked for marriage equality in the states and federally. Now we have to work harder than ever to ensure that all same-sex couples have marriage equality across our nation — and all LGBT people have full equality in every other respect," Carey noted.

Metropolitan Community Church response

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson is the moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches, which has ministries in over 40 countries. Dr. Wilson was part of the first LGBT faith delegation to meet with a sitting president in 1979. She is currently a member of President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Global leaders of the historic Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) praised the decisions of the Supreme Court today as it ruled on California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

"Freedom and equality won today as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the US Constitution and every family," said the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson. "Children in California now know their families will be treated equally. Today, every American is free to live in the assurance that their loved ones will receive all benefits the US gives to any other family. As the head of MCC, a global church founded on the belief that all people are created equal before God and the law, I am thrilled that the Supreme Court decided that the US Constitution applies to all of us, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity."

"We are committed to full equality for all people, and we will work for the full implementation of today's Supreme Court rulings and for marriage equality around the world," said Rev. Dr. Jim Merritt, Marriage Equality Director for MCC's Public Policy Team.

Metropolitan Community Church's history of marriage equality began in 1968 when the Rev. Troy Perry, founder of MCC, conducted the first, public same-gender wedding ceremony in the US. In 1970, Rev. Perry brought a lawsuit for marriage equality in California. MCC worked for decades, sponsoring weddings at Pride marches, protesting on Valentine's Day in Justices of the Peace offices, and performing thousands of Holy Unions in their churches.

MCC will celebrate these decisions and move forward at its 25th General Conference in Chicago, Illinois, July 1-5, 2013. After 45 years of ministry and advocacy, the church continues to be on the cutting edge of ministry around the world. Known as "The Human Rights Church" in many countries, MCC will host U.S. Ambassador Daniel Baer and present the MCC human rights award to Bishop Christopher Senyonjo of Uganda, where he has fought the infamous "kill the gays" bill. MCC leaders will also celebrate the founding of their "Global Justice Institute," in partnership with The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. The Global Justice Institute is working with leaders in Asia, Africa and Latin America for equality for sexual minorities and all people who deserve justice.

Southern Poverty Law Center response

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The U.S. Supreme Court's decision Wednesday to strike down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a significant step forward for same-sex couples, one that will affect a lawsuit the Southern Poverty Law Center filed on behalf of a disabled U.S. veteran and her wife, the civil rights organization said.

The high court's ruling means the federal government must recognize legally married same-sex couples for the purpose of federal programs, giving them access to the same federal benefits as married heterosexual couples. This issue is at the center of an SPLC lawsuit filed on behalf of Tracey Cooper-Harris, a disabled veteran denied benefits for married veterans because she is in a same-sex marriage.

"Today's decision is a step in the right direction for same-sex couples who have made legal commitments to each other," said David Dinielli, SPLC deputy legal director. "The court's long-overdue decision affirms that Section 3 of DOMA constitutes an irrational and unjustified deprivation of the dignity and liberty interests of gay people and same-sex couples. It seems almost unthinkable that such a blatantly unfair law would exist today."

The Supreme Court ruled that the section is "unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution." The Court was troubled that DOMA singles out for discrimination "a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty." The court noted that "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." Finally, the Court held that "[DOMA] 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."

The Court also refused to rule on the merits of a separate case challenging a state law preventing marriage equality, Hollingsworth v. Perry. The case challenged a ballot initiative, Proposition 8, approved by California voters to strip from same-sex couples the right to marry after this constitutional right had been recognized by California courts. The trial court held that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Today, the Supreme Court held that petitioners—citizens who were the original proponents of Proposition 8—had no standing to appeal the trial court's order and defend the constitutionality of Proposition 8.

"We are overjoyed that today's decision recognizes our legal marriage — and the legal marriages of other same-sex couples — as equal under federal law," said Tracey Cooper-Harris. "Even though we have had to fight the federal government for equal veterans benefits, we are among the fortunate few who were able to marry before Proposition 8 went into effect in California. While this is a win for same-sex couples in legal marriages, there is still work to be done, and we remain dedicated to fighting for other couples who have been refused one of the most basic rights — marriage — by unfair laws such as California's Proposition 8."

The SPLC and co-counsel WilmerHale filed a federal lawsuit in February 2012 on behalf of Tracey and her wife, Maggie, who were married in California in November 2008. The case, Tracey Cooper-Harris v. the United States, is ongoing. In addition to challenging Section 3 of DOMA, it also challenges Title 38, a statute that governs veteran benefits, which also defines "spouse" as a person of the opposite sex.

Tracey receives disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a number of conditions. Because married veterans and their spouses are eligible to receive a number of benefits from the VA, including additional disability compensation, the couple challenged laws that require the VA to deny recognition of Maggie as Tracey's spouse. DOMA and Title 38 resulted in the Veterans Administration denying her application for additional compensation routinely provided to heterosexual married veterans. These benefits would provide Tracey additional disability compensation. It would also allow Maggie to be eligible for the benefits provided to spouses of veterans, such as monthly compensation if the veteran dies from a service-connected disease or disability.

A video detailing how unconstitutional laws such as DOMA and Title 38 harm veterans and their families can be viewed at .

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin's response

"The debate over marriage equality is about fairness — about whether gay and lesbian Americans deserve to be treated just like their family members, their friends, and their neighbors. It's about opportunity — about whether every American gets to dream the same dreams, chase the same ambitions, and have the same shot at success. And it's about freedom —the freedom to love, the freedom to commit, the freedom to build a family. Most of all, it's about whether the progress our country has made will be reflected in our laws.

One thing is clear; people's views on marriage equality are changing because they believe LGBT family members, friends, and neighbors deserve to be treated like everyone else in the United States.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions in two historic cases that reflect the progress we have all witnessed across our country. This progress is defined by the ideal that more and more Americans want to leave to the next generation a country that is more equal, not less.

The nation's highest court reaffirmed our founding belief that all Americans are created equal under the law. The Court made a strong statement for equality and freedom, overturning discrimination against gay and lesbian American citizens simply because of who they love.

While this is a huge step forward for our country, the fight to make America more equal does not end with a Supreme Court decision. There is more work to be done to fulfill the promise of freedom and equality for all — in which America becomes a place where every family's love and commitment can be recognized and respected under the law." .

The Civil Rights Agenda statement

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled the controversial Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional by a margin of 5 — 4. Their ruling states that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.

"This is one of the most important days in the history of our movement for LGBT civil rights," said Rick Garcia, Policy Director and Director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project for The Civil Rights Agenda, Illinois' largest LGBT civil rights organization. "Although we are thrilled with the ruling, we are painfully cognizant that in Illinois same-gender couples still cannot be married and we must change that immediately. The Illinois House of Representatives must act as soon as possible."

Illinois state Sen. Heather Steans response

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Heather Steans (D-7th) issued the following statement on two key U.S. Supreme Court rulings announced today:

Today, the nation's highest court declared the Defense of Marriage Act — which prohibits same-sex couples, even those who are married in the eyes of the states in which they reside, from accessing federal marriage benefits — to be contrary to the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. I couldn't agree more. Treating individuals differently, based on the gender of their chosen marriage partner, is discrimination, plain and simple.

A majority of the justices also allowed a ruling striking down California's ban on same-sex marriage to stand, paving the way for marriage equality in the nation's most populous state. I enthusiastically applaud both decisions.

The time is right for Illinois to join the 13 other states (counting California) with equal marriage. When the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act becomes law, the legal rights and responsibilities associated with marriage under both state and federal law will apply to committed, same-sex Illinois couples. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to finally pass this legislation.

The Supreme Court clarified today that discrimination by the federal government based on sexual orientation is not protected by the Constitution and is contrary to who we are as a nation. Now it's time for Illinois to take a stand for fairness.

American Federation of Teachers response

Washington—AFT President Randi Weingarten responds to the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8.

"Today, we took a giant leap forward in the march for equality and justice for all. The Supreme Court ruled definitively that DOMA violated the Equal Protection Clause in our Constitution and that loving married same-sex couples deserve the same rights and benefits as all other married couples. The court's decision on Prop 8, which leaves intact a district judge's ruling invalidating that measure, ensures that, at least for now, gay and lesbian couples have the freedom to marry in California.

"While we wish the court had acted to extend marriage equality for all Americans, make no mistake that the momentum for equality is building and there is no going back.

"We are a nation built on the belief of equality for all—that all Americans are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The court affirmed these basic values and recognized that laws such as DOMA deny gay and lesbian Americans these fundamental rights and betray our values as a nation.

"The AFT and the rest of the labor movement have a proud history of standing up for equality and justice and fighting discrimination in every part of our society—from the workplace to the ballot box to the individual rights and freedoms we cherish as a nation. We were proud to be a part of the amicus briefs filed challenging the constitutionality of both DOMA and Prop 8."

Illinois United for Marriage responds

Following historic Supreme Court decisions that struck down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and restored the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in California, Illinois Unites for Marriage released the following statements:

On U.S. v. Windsor:

Today, the highest court in the United States struck down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming that all committed, loving couples need the respect and dignity of marriage. Today's historic decision means that thousands of married lesbian and gay couples, in states where the freedom to marry is recognized, can better protect one another and their children. Now more than ever, it's time for Illinois to join those states on the right side of history and grant those families the federal safety net that marriage can now provide them. The Illinois House of Representatives must act quickly and address this inequity by passing Senate Bill 10 in the upcoming veto session. Illinois cannot stand idle while the momentum for marriage continues across the country, and Illinois Unites will continue to work on winning the freedom to marry for all Illinois families.

On Hollingsworth v. Perry:

Illinois Unites is extremely happy for California, a state that now re-joins the momentum for marriage that is happening across the country. Today's ruling now places a full 30% of the American public in jurisdictions that grants same-sex couples the freedom to marry. We urge the Illinois House of Representatives to add the Land of Lincoln to the growing roster of states that grant same-sex couples the dignity and respect of marriage. The House should act quickly to pass Senate Bill 10 and make Illinois the next state to extend the freedom to marry to our gay and lesbian friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members.

An independent group is organizing a March on Springfield the first day of the veto session, Oct. 22; see .

Statement by Obama on the Supreme Court DOMA ruling

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.

Gay Liberation Network Chicago marriage rally tonight

CHICAGO, June 26, 2013 — While many are applauding today's 5-4 victory over Section 3 of the federal "Defense of Marriage Act," the big picture story is that by refusing to rule on the substance of California's anti-gay Proposition 8, the Court has allowed same-sex couples in 37 states to continue experiencing legal discrimination not just in marriage, but in most states, also housing, employment and access to public accommodations.

Hiding behind a technical 'legal standing' argument that the anti-gay plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 case were not entitled to bring their suit to uphold Prop 8 when the State of California declined to enforce it, the Court treaded into some pretty reactionary waters. For one thing, the Court allowed state governments to nullify their own referendum process, something that could turn around to allow statehouse destruction of progressive referenda in future years.

More fundamentally, like with their gutting of the Voting Rights Act yesterday, the Court implicitly embraced the reactionary notion of "state's rights" trumping civil rights. Privileging state's rights over individual rights means that equal marriage, let alone equal employment, housing, and access to public accommodations in many southern "Bible Belt" states might be put on the back-burner for a generation or more. It was for similar reasons that all leading figures of the mid-20th Century African American Civil Rights Movement firmly rejected the privileging of "state's rights."

By declining to give a 50-state equality ruling on Prop 8 today, the Court shows that it still doesn't "get it" with regards to treating LGBTs as equal human beings who should have the same rights as other adults.

Another disturbing aspect of today's half-way decisions is that they threatened to bifurcate the LGBT movement between the 13 states that now have equal marriage rights plus the handful more that are likely to get it soon, versus the majority of states where LGBTs have no rights. We have seen a similar process at work in the Senate's immigration rights legislation, where a minority of the undocumented are offered much greater access to citizenship, while the majority are thrown underneath the bus. The result is not pretty from the standpoint of those of us who insist on equal rights for all.

Tonight's rally and march at 7 PM, at the 7-11 parking lot on the corner of Halsted and Roscoe, Chicago, will feature a broad spectrum of LGBT opinions on today's Court rulings. The march will begin after a short rally, and will proceed south on Halsted Street to Belmont Avenue, west on Belmont to Clark Street, north on Clark to Addison Avenue, east on Addison to Halsted, then south on Halsted back to the Halsted & Roscoe.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.

(San Francisco, CA, June 26, 2013)—Today, the United States Supreme Court struck down section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that prohibited the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples for purposes of federal programs and benefits such as Social Security and immigration. In a separate decision today, the Court also ruled that the supporters of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that stripped same-sex couples of the freedom to marry in California, did not have the legal right to appeal a 2010 decision by federal District Judge Vaughn Walker striking down that proposition as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court's decision means that Judge Walker's decision will be the final ruling in the case, clearing the way for same-sex couples to marry again in California in the near future.

In the DOMA case, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that DOMA violates the constitutional guarantees of liberty and equal protection of the laws. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that "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."

In the Proposition 8 case, the Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the supporters of Proposition 8 lacked legal standing to appeal Judge Walker's decision striking down the initiative. The Court ruled that because the Governor and Attorney General of California—the officials responsible for defending state laws in court—decided not to appeal Judge Walker's decision, the supporters of Proposition 8 could not appeal that decision on their own because they could not show that allowing same-sex couples to marry would personally affect them in any way.

NCLR filed friend-of-the-court briefs in both cases urging the Supreme Court to strike down DOMA and Proposition 8. Along with the law firms of Fulbright & Jaworski LLP and McCarter & English, NCLR was counsel on a brief filed on behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and dozens of other leading civil rights organizations and bar associations, including the NAACP, the National Organization for Women Foundation, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Council of La Raza, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.stated: "Today's decisions are monumental. Not only has the Supreme Court erased two of the most viciously anti-LGBT laws in our nation's history, it has said in the clearest possible terms that no law designed to denigrate us and our families can ever be upheld under our Constitution. The Court's decisions today have laid the foundation for full legal equality for LGBT people and our relationships, including the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in every state. We know how this story ends, and we will continue to fight until we see that day."

Illinois State Sen. Raoul response

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder to invalidate the formula that determines which jurisdictions were required under the federal Voting Rights Act to obtain preclearance of proposed changes to voting procedures:

Yesterday's decision, with which I am extremely disappointed, highlights the ongoing need for strong, state-level voting protections such as those found in Illinois law. I'm proud to live in a progressive state that values full participation by all citizens in the democratic process. Historically, African-Americans in many parts of the country faced discrimination and outright intimidation when they tried to make their voices heard at the polls; today, voting is made more difficult not only for racial minorities but also for senior citizens, students and low-income individuals when procedural hurdles such as ID requirements are put in their path.

Prior to the latest round of legislative and congressional redistricting, I introduced the Illinois Voting Rights Act to protect language and racial minorities from having their electoral influence diluted in the redistricting process. I also worked this year to make voting more accessible through online voter registration, early voting on college campuses, later in-person early voting hours on Sundays and protections for provisional voters.

Congress should take action to restore a strong federal Voting Rights Act that addresses the barriers to minority electoral participation still in existence today. Meanwhile, I believe Illinoisans can be proud of this state's voting laws. I pledge to continue working to make them stronger and fairer.

U.S. Rep. Quigley response

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) issued the following statement after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):

"Today's ruling is a tremendous victory for our LGBT community and for everyone who believes in America's founding principles of liberty and justice for all. By ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, legally married gay and lesbian couples and their families will finally have equal access to the rights and benefits guaranteed to them by federal law.

"With more to celebrate than ever this Pride Month, we must not forget that the fight for equality is far from over. We must strengthen our resolve and continue our fight for justice, until the day when all loving and committed couples have the fundamental right to marry the person they hold closest in their hearts."

As a member of the Congressional Equality Caucus, Rep. Quigley has been a tireless advocate for the LGBT community and has called on Illinois to pass a law in support of same-sex marriage. He has called for LGBT protections within the comprehensive immigration reform, highlighting the story of Chicago constituents facing discrimination. In 2011, Rep. Quigley hosted a DOMA field forum to investigate the negative impacts of the Defense of Marriage Act on individuals and families in Chicago and brought the testimony of his constituents to Congress.

SAGE Celebrates Supreme Court Decision to Overturn DOMA

(New York, NY) Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) congratulates Edie Windsor and joins her in celebrating the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), paving the way for the federal government to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that loving and committed couples of all ages who marry deserve equal legal respect and treatment.

"This is a joyous moment in our country's history, thanks in large part to Edie Windsor, who fought many hard-won battles along the way to this victory," said Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. "Older lesbian and gay couples were especially hard hit by DOMA, and their health, well-being and quality of life will now be vastly improved. Congratulations to Edie, a longtime SAGE hero, on breaking down another barrier to full equality for LGBT elders!"

Today's ruling is a tremendous victory that means that thousands of older lesbian and gay couples will be able to better protect their families because they will finally have equal access to federal benefits, programs and protections that provide safety and support for older Americans.

Windsor's case highlighted the real harms that DOMA causes legally married older same-sex couples. LGBT elders are less financially secure and in poorer health than American elders as a whole. Many LGBT elders, like their heterosexual peers, rely on federally provided benefits, programs and protections to help ease their financial burdens. Many of these federal benefits, from Social Security to Medicare, are founded on the presumption of marriage, yet DOMA denied access to these benefits even to legally married same-sex couples.

In another victory for marriage equality, the Supreme Court also ruled today in Hollingsworth v. Perry that the proponents of Proposition 8 do not possess legal standing to appeal the lower court rulings that invalidated Prop. 8. The decision makes permanent the landmark Federal District Court ruling that found Prop. 8 unconstitutional, and means the swift restoration of marriage equality in California. Now, same-sex couples can legally marry in 13 states and the District of Columbia.

With these decisions adding to the momentum for marriage, SAGE will continue to stand with the majority of Americans who support marriage equality, looking toward the day when DOMA is overturned completely, same-sex couples of all ages can marry in any state, and LGBT elders have access to the same protection and support as all older Americans.

SEIU's Henry on SCOTUS DOMA & Proposition 8 Decisions:

WASHINGTON, DC — After the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions relating to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in U.S v. Windsor and California's Proposition 8 in Hollingsworth v. Perry, Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement:

"The Supreme Court's historic 5-4 decision finding DOMA unconstitutional is a huge cause for celebration for gay and lesbian couples and for all Americans who care about equal justice under the law. This ruling means that gay and lesbian couples will have access to federal benefits and protections that they have been denied for too long, such as the right to access healthcare, pension and Social Security survivor benefits.

"The Court's decision to dismiss California's Proposition 8 for lack of standing is another major victory for gay and lesbian couples and for equal rights. By affirming the lower court's ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, now all Californians will have the right to marry whomever they choose.

"Despite this historic day for LGBT rights, we must remember that there is more work to do to ensure equality for all Americans. In 29 states a person can still be fired simply because of who he or she loves. Passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is the next fight we must take on if we are truly going to ensure equality on the job for all Americans and we look forward to joining with our allies to end discrimination in the workplace."

National Minority AIDS Council Director of Legislative and Public Affairs Kali Lindsey statement:

Washington, DC — "Today's Supreme Court decisions regarding California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are a historic victory for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and another important step in the inevitable road to full equality for same-sex couples," said National Minority AIDS Council Director of Legislative & Public Affairs Kali Lindsey. "They are also a breath of fresh air following the Court's disappointing ruling yesterday on the Voting Rights Act. Gay and lesbian couples have the same capacity for love and commitment as their heterosexual counterparts and seek nothing more than to share in the same rights and privileges that straight couples enjoy, and to which they should be legally entitled.

"Today's decisions allow same-sex marriages to go forward in the nation's most populous state, and ensure that all couples legally married in their states will receive full recognition, protection and benefits from the federal government. While these historic rulings will do much to advance equality for LGBT Americans, the battle is far from over. Constitutional bans on same-sex marriage remain in place in 29 states. Congress has yet to pass the Employment and Student Non-Discrimination Acts. LGBT individuals in the United States, especially those of color, face higher rates of homelessness and poverty than their heterosexual counterparts, while experiencing poorer overall health. In particular, gay and bisexual men continue to bear the heaviest burden of HIV in the nation.

"NMAC celebrates today's rulings, which come on the 10 year anniversary of the historic Lawrence v. Texasdecision, and the incredible strides that the LGBT community has made in the struggle for full equality. With more than half of all Americans now supporting marriage equality — including more than 80 percent of those under 30 — momentum is on our side. But while we rejoice in this victory, we must be steadfast in our commitment to continue the fight. Marriage is just one of many critical issues facing the LGBT community and our nation. We must build on today's success and work to advance the rights of all individuals, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or country of origin. In particular, we must repair the damage done by yesterday's decision to voting rights for communities of color. NMAC is committed to fighting discrimination and stigma wherever they exist and ensuring that our nation lives up to its founding principles of equality and justice for all."

Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen's statement on the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act:

"We are ecstatic with today's ruling and consider it a monumental step in our fight for fairness. It respects our relationships and legitimizes our love in the eyes of the law. With the fall of DOMA, our state-sanctioned marriages are transformed from largely symbolic to substantive by granting the same federal legal protections afforded heterosexual couples. This is a cause for celebration and we applaud the Supreme Court for making a wise decision that places it on the right side of history."

Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen's statement on the Prop 8 decision:

"This is a golden ruling for same-sex couples in the Golden State. This is a huge step forward, with national implications, because it nearly doubles the number of people who live in states where marriage equality is the law of the land. Today's rulings are a huge shot of momentum and foreshadow a future of full equality. Today we celebrate. Tomorrow, we get back to work because there are many battles ahead."

Attorney General Eric Holder statement

"Today's historic decision in the case of United States v. Windsor, declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, is an enormous triumph for equal protection under the law for all Americans. The Court's ruling gives real meaning to the Constitution's promise of equal protection to all members of our society, regardless of sexual orientation. This decision impacts a broad array of federal laws. At the President's direction, the Department of Justice will work expeditiously with other Executive Branch agencies to implement the Court's decision. Despite this momentous victory, our nation's journey — towards equality, opportunity, and justice for everyone in this country — is far from over. Important, life-changing work remains before us. And, as we move forward in a manner consistent with the Court's ruling, the Department of Justice is committed to continuing this work, and using every tool and legal authority available to us to combat discrimination and to safeguard the rights of all Americans."

Calif. Gov. Jerry brown issues statement

SACRAMENTO — Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement on the United States Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8 (Hollingsworth v. Perry):

"After years of struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California. In light of the decision, I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state's counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted," said Governor Brown.

The effect of today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling is that the 2010 federal district court's decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional is left intact and the law cannot be enforced.

In response, the Governor has directed the California Department of Public Health to advise county officials today that the district court's injunction against Proposition 8 applies statewide and that all county clerks and county registrar/recorders must comply with it. However, same-sex Californians will not be able to marry until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirms the stay of the injunction, which has been in place throughout the appeals process, is lifted.

In preparation for this outcome, Governor Brown sought an opinion from California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris on whether the state, through the California Department of Public Health, can advise county clerks and registrar/recorders that they are bound by the federal district court's ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

The Attorney General concluded that the California Department of Public Health "can and should" instruct county officials that they "must resume issuing marriage licenses to and recording the marriages of same-sex" couples. The Department will issue another letter to county officials as soon as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirms the stay is lifted.

The Department of Public Health letter to county officials can be found here. .

The Attorney General's letter to Governor Brown can be found here. .

ReconcilingWorks Rejoices at Supreme Court Decisions on Same-Gender Marriage

ReconcilingWorks applauds the court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and the court's majority opinion that affirmed state marriage laws seeking to protect people "in personhood and dignity." The opinion also noted that the law had treated some "as living in marriages less respected than others."

The organization also rejoices in the freedom to marry that same-gender couples in California have been granted again in the court's ruling on Proposition 8 in that state.

"We as Christians consider people of all sexual orientations and gender identities worthy of dignity and respect," said Emily Eastwood, Executive Director of ReconcilingWorks. "As people of faith, we believe that with dignity and respect should come the freedom to marry and equal protection under the law. We celebrate today's decisions."

Eastwood declared this a landmark day for legal and civil protections of LGBT people and recalled another landmark in 2009 when members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) changed its policy to allow gay and lesbian people to marry in ELCA churches in states where legal.

ReconcilingWorks is an independent organization but is closely associated with the ELCA and has been advocating for fuller inclusion and participation of LGBT people in the denomination since its founding in 1974.

"We dreamed of a church and society where the freedoms and benefits of marriage are ensured for same-gender couples and their families," said Eastwood. "Our dream is becoming real and at a pace we could not have imagined in 2009."

Just last month, Lutherans in southern California elected a bishop, the Rev. Dr. Guy Erwin, who is openly gay and Native American, both firsts for the denomination. The newly elected bishop also has a life-partner, Rob Flynn. Same-gender relationships were forbidden for clergy in the ELCA prior to 2009.

"For those of us in California and other marriage states, the celebration is on, as tears mix with laughter and dancing," said Eastwood.

ReconcilingWorks pledged to continue working in states where the issue of same-gender marriage will be decided in the future.

"Do not lose heart," she said to residents of states where marriage and equal protection under the law remains a dream delayed. "We commit ourselves as people of faith to that mission for as long as it takes, one heart, one mind at a time."

"Marriage is the one place in our society where church and state meet for the protection and blessing of couples and families," said Eastwood. "Our path and progress are inexorable, the outcome assured. Only the time is in question."

NOW President Terry O'Neill statement

The National Organization for Women is elated for the many same-sex couples whose loving, committed relationships will now be recognized in law a result of today's Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8. While we still have not achieved a full constitutional right for same-sex marriage, we are buoyed by the court's decisions to strike down the discriminatory DOMA and to allow the federal trial court's overruling of Proposition 8 to stand. A longtime supporter of marriage equality, NOW has opposed DOMA and Proposition 8 from the start and has sought to advance the rights of those treated as second-class in our society.

Today's DOMA decision represents an enormous victory and a joyous day for married same-sex couples and their families — and for the promise of equal justice under the law. Put simply, the court will impose a "careful consideration" standard of review on laws that treat couples differently based on sexual orientation. For thousands of same-sex couples, today's ruling means that they can better protect one another and their children by ensuring equitable access to the federal safety net.

In advocating to overturn Proposition 8, NOW has staunchly maintained that state constitutions are meant to defend the rights of minorities, even (or especially) when the majority threatens to eradicate them. Discriminatory legislation such as Proposition 8 has no place in a nation dedicated to equal rights for all people. With Proposition 8 now a thing of the past and same-sex marriage soon to be fully recognized in California, equal marriage rights cover over 30% of the country's population. Obviously, our struggle is far from over.

With these decisions adding to the momentum for marriage, NOW and our allies will continue working to win the freedom to marry throughout the United States.

Statement of Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry

The Supreme Court's decisions today that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and that marriage equality should be revived in California feel like "justice rolling down like a river," in the words of the prophet Amos. While Catholic bishops will not welcome these decisions, the people in the pews of Catholic parishes across the country are ecstatic that these major injustices against their lesbian and gay friends and family members are now dissolved. We thank the Court for these decisions, and we give thanks to God for answering our many prayers seeking justice.

Catholic lay people across the U.S. and in California have worked hard to support their deeply-held Catholic belief that equal treatment by our government's laws should be extended to lesbian and gay couples who want to marry. Catholics hold this belief because of their faith, not in spite of it. Our Catholic social justice tradition motivates us to work for strong families and expansive social protections, and these can only be achieved when all families are treated fairly and equally under the law. We are proud that Catholic Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Anthony Kennedy voted in the majority on both of these cases.

These Supreme Court decisions are definitely not the final word on marriage equality in our nation. Much work remains to be done. And Catholics will be part of that work in state and national campaigns to facilitate marriage equality and to end other injustices against LGBT people such as discriminatory immigration policies. Catholics will stand with those of other faiths to show that religious people do not support discrimination.

Catholics also have work to do within our own church. We are ashamed and dismayed that our bishops are often the most vocal opponents of marriage equality. Their statements often reveal a stunning ignorance of lesbian and gay lives and a lack of compassion that is unbecoming of faith leaders. Catholics pray that today's Supreme Court decisions will open our bishops' eyes so that they will at least meet and dialogue with lesbian and gay Catholics and their families. If the bishops do this, they will witness firsthand how the Gospel of justice and love which they preach is practiced by those they consider the least in their flocks.

NAACP Applauds SCOTUS Decisions on Marriage Equality

(WASHINGTON, DC) —The NAACP released the following statements in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and dismiss the challenge to Prop. 8 for lack of standing.

From Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman, NAACP National Board of Directors:

"This is an historic day for all Americans," said Roslyn Brock, Chairman, NAACP Board of Directors. "The federal government can no longer discriminate against some couples and cause pain, uncertainty, and financial harm to some families. Today, the Supreme Court acknowledged and affirmed that all loving and committed couples who are legally married deserve equal rights and protection under the law."

From Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO, NAACP:

"Less than five decades ago, my parent's interracial marriage was deemed illegal until Mildred & Richard Loving and the NAACP stood before the Supreme Court to demand that they be treated equally," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "Today, the principles that led to the victory for the Lovings and my parents are reaffirmed by the Court's historic decision. These decisions bring our nation closer to achieving the equality under the law that the NAACP has fought for since our founding. "

From Marvin Randolph, Sr. Director for Voting Rights, NAACP:

"Today's rulings are a result of organized and powerful coalitions determined to protect the rights and livelihoods of our American families," said Marvin Randolph. "The rulings on DOMA and Prop 8 are not the end of the road. We will have to continue working state by state to win majority support for marriage equality."

From Kim Keenan, General Counsel, NAACP:

"Equality does not have a gender," stated NAACP General Counsel Kim Keenan. "Today, the Supreme Court recognized that the Defense of Marriage Act effectively coded unconstitutional discrimination into federal law. The NAACP has strongly advocated for marriage equality because it is a necessary step in the fight for civil rights for all."

On May 19, 2012, the NAACP National Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting marriage equality. At a meeting of the 103-year old civil rights group's board of directors, the organization voted to support marriage equality as a continuation of its historic commitment to equal protection under the law.

A message from Give A Damn Campaign co-founder Cyndi Lauper

History has been made today and justice has prevailed. To all of you who have been waiting on the sidelines for years, for lifetimes, it's a huge day. I am so, so happy for you.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of loving and committed gay couples and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act has been ruled unconstitutional. Not only that, but California's Proposition 8 was struck down, restoring marriage equality to the state of California.

Both of these decisions not only impact the lives of gay couples, but of gay and transgender youth who struggle to find acceptance from their family and friends. Every step closer we get to equality ensures that these kids have the futures that they deserve and are entitled to.

Thank you so much to the inspiring plaintiffs, attorneys, and everyone across the country who have worked so hard for so many years. Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we keep working for full equality for all and to bring the freedom to marry for gay couples to the 37 states that still remain.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan statement

"The Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act is a victory for couples who have been fighting to build their lives together and raise their families with all of the rights and dignity of marriage. In striking down DOMA, the Supreme Court has given added strength to our court fight to overturn Illinois' ban on same sex marriage. Today's decision also intensifies the need to pass a marriage equality bill in our state and ensure that all Illinois couples have access to the full rights and benefits of civil marriage."

Williams Institute comments

LOS ANGELES— The Supreme Court's rulings regarding the federal Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor and regarding California's Proposition 8 in Hollingsworth v. Perry have important social, economic and legal consequences for the nation's approximately 650,000 same-sex couples living in shared households, of which an estimated 114,100 are legally married. Federal recognition of same-sex couples' marriages may affect how same-sex couples are treated in relation to a range of federal policies, including immigration, taxation and benefits. Further, the Williams Institute estimates that, over the next three years, 37,000 California same-sex couples are likely to marry and the state economy will gain approximately $492 million in new business revenue from same-sex couples' weddings.

"In striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court recognized that DOMA 'writes inequality into the entire U.S. Code'," said Brad Sears, Executive Director of the Williams Institute and Roberta A. Conroy Scholar of Law and Policy. "It acknowledged that DOMA materially harms same-sex couples and their children by depriving them of over 1,000 protections and benefits under federal law and by relegating these families to a 'second-class' status."

"By lifting the legal, economic and social burdens previously imposed on same-sex couples by DOMA, the Court's ruling provides same-sex couples with access to the federal benefits that are designed to strengthen families," said M.V. Lee Badgett, Williams Institute Research Director and Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

For couples who have entered into legal marriages that are recognized by the federal government, the Windsor ruling could have important consequences across a range of issues:

— IMMIGRATION: An estimated 24,700 same-sex couples are bi-national (one US citizen and one non-citizen) along with 11,700 same-sex couples comprised of two non-citizens. The Windsor DOMA ruling has opened the door for a citizen to obtain permanent residence for a non-citizen, same-sex spouse, and expedited citizenship for a resident, same-sex spouse.

— SOCIAL SECURITY: Surviving spouses of same-sex couples could gain access to spousal social security benefits, which could add up to more than $5,700 to the monthly income of the surviving spouse.

— HEALTH CARE: Same-sex couples working in the private sector pay, on average, $1,000 more than different-sex couples in taxes for employer-sponsored healthcare. Same-sex spouses in federally recognized marriages might no longer be subject to this additional tax burden.

— FEDERAL EMPLOYEES: Same-sex spouses of federal employees could be eligible for employee benefits that are currently provided to employees with different-sex spouses.

ESTATE TAX: In situations similar to that of plaintiff Edith Windsor in the DOMA case, same-sex spouses who are affected by the estate tax would no longer be subject to a greater federal estate tax burden upon the death of a spouse than similarly-situated different-sex married couples face.

"The Court's rulings establish the unconstitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and ensure that same-sex couples can marry in California, but do not clarify how courts should address other laws that discriminate against LGBT persons," said David Codell, Visiting Legal Director of the Williams Institute. "The rulings thus continue to leave open the fate of many federal and state laws and policies that discriminate against LGBT persons in relationship recognition, employment, adoption and foster care, health care, housing, and other areas."

The ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry will open marriage to a same-sex spouse for California's estimated 1.1 million LGBT adults and nearly 200,000 individuals who are already part of a same-sex couple, but leave 5.5 million LGBT Americans, including more than 800,000 who are part of a same-sex couple, living in states without marriage equality.

"As a result of the court's ruling, more people are living in states where same-sex couples can marry than ever before," said Gary Gates, Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar.

Prior to today's ruling, 18 percent of the entire U.S. population and 22 percent of same-sex couples lived in the 12 states, and the District of Columbia, where same-sex couples can legally marry. By adding California, 30 percent of the entire U.S. population and 37 percent of same-sex couples will now live in states that extend marriage to same-sex couples.

As has been true in other states, allowing same-sex couples to marry will also have positive economic consequences for California. Institute research suggests that California will gain approximately $46 million in tax and fee revenue from the weddings of same-sex couples, and the state's economy will gain $492 million in business revenue over the next three years.

The Williams Institute is a research center at the UCLA School of Law dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. Williams Institute scholars provided expert testimony at trial in the Proposition 8 case and submitted three friend-of-the-court briefs in both the DOMA and Proposition 8 cases in the Supreme Court. In addition, more than fifty other briefs submitted to the Supreme Court in the two cases cited Williams Institute research and analysis.

Also see DOMA done, Prop 8-undone here: .

This article shared 5584 times since Wed Jun 26, 2013
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

NATIONAL Panic defense, VP Kamala Harris, Black LGBTQ app, crime items
Four states and the nation's capital have taken action to ban the so-called LGBTQ "panic defense," which is a legal strategy used by defendants to cite a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity as an excuse ...

Gay News

WORLD India court, trans death, Guatemalan LGBTQs, Gay Games
A court in India ordered state and federal officials to draw up plans for sweeping reforms to respect LGBTQ rights, in a ruling that went far beyond the terms of a case brought by a lesbian couple who said they had ...

Gay News

Congress makes Pulse Nightclub a national memorial
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation designating the site of the Pulse Nightclub a national memorial, NBC News reported. The House passed its version of the bill May 12. The measure now goes to President Joe ...

Gay News

When crime goes viral
Activists say Illinois's law that makes it illegal to expose others to HIV is racist and homophobic. Now they're close to changing it.
In early 2016, Jimmy Amutavi had what he considered a happy life. More ...

Gay News

WORLD: Domestic violence, activist dies, Jerusalem Pride, Olympics
On May 28, the LGBTQ Domestic Violence Foundation launched its #SeenAndBelieved campaign to shine a light on the prevalence of DFV (domestic and family violence) in LGBTQ communities, aiming to break down the barriers to victims ...

Gay News

Harold J. Phillips appointed director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy
--From a press release - Statement from Jeffrey S. Crowley, distinguished scholar and director of the Infectious Disease Initiatives at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center: I applaud President Biden's appointment of ...

Gay News

Trans-affirming election legislation passed by Illinois General Assembly, Equality Illinois responds
--From a press release - Statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, on passage of Senate Bill 825, the trans-affirming election omnibus legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly on Monday, May 31, 2021: "During Pride Month and at ...

Gay News

Incarceration for HIV crimes in Georgia cost the state $9 million
--From a press release - Between 1999-2020, as many as 133 people were incarcerated in Georgia prisons for HIV-related crimes New analysis from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that as many as 133 people have been incarcerated ...

Gay News

Wisconsin Governor blocks use of federal money for conversion therapy for minors
--From a press release - MADISON, WI — Today, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers signed an Executive Order directing the Department of Health Services (DHS), the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Department of ...

Gay News

GLAAD at Pride: Protect the most vulnerable among us
--From a press release - New York, NY - Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today released a statement to honor the start of Pride Month, highlighting the ...

Gay News

WORLD Twitch, AIDS activist dies, Europe and LGBTQ laws, India hearing
COMPILED BY WCT STAFF The world's largest game streaming service, Twitch, said that players will be able to add a transgender label to their videos—a move the company said would aid inclusion among its 30 million ...

Gay News

LGBTQ advocates celebrate passage of Illinois marriage certificate name change legislation
--From a press release - LGBTQ advocates are celebrating passage of state legislation that will provide certainty for individuals requesting that their Illinois marriage certificates reflect a legal name change. HB 2590 is an initiative of Equality Illinois and Chicago House ...

Gay News

Villa Park police fatally shoot transgender man
On May 24, Villa Park police shot and killed Haven A. Bailey, a 25-year-old Lombard resident, after calling 911 to report that someone was walking around outside with a gun, The Daily Herald noted. According to ...

Gay News

ACLU sues Arkansas over ban on health care for transgender youth
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a lawsuit on behalf of four transgender youth and their families as well as two doctors challenging an Arkansas law that prohibits health care professionals ...

Gay News

Pfleger reinstated at South Side church after investigation
Cardinal Blase Cupich told parishioners that the Rev. Michael Pfleger will return to the pulpit at his South Side parish after a Chicago archdiocese panel found "insufficient reason to suspect" that he is guilty of sexual-abuse ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.