Friday, September 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Gay married couples have rights to federal benefits

By
From page A12 | June 30, 2013 |

The issue: Progress isn’t always marked by trumpets and flowers

It is probably quintessentially American that a landmark Supreme Court ruling on a question of morality originated in a dispute over federal taxes.

PERHAPS Edith Windsor didn’t intend to upset a cultural and religious tradition that had stood largely unquestioned for hundreds of years. Maybe she only wanted her $363,035 back.

Instead she gave her name, “United States v. Windsor,” to a case that, while it won’t make same-sex marriage legal everywhere, goes a long way toward making such marriages common and unremarked upon.

Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, who married in 2007 in Toronto, where gay marriage was legal, lived in New York. When Speyer died shortly thereafter, she left her estate to her partner, who applied for the spousal exemption from estate taxes. The federal government, which did not recognize same-sex unions, denied Windsor her refund.

In 1996, a conservative Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, better known by its acronym DOMA, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The act denied to homosexual couples who had been married in states where such unions were legal something like 1,000 federal benefits available to traditionally married couples: joint tax returns, Social Security, health insurance, pension rights, benefits for military couples and immigration protections among them.

THE FIVE JUSTICES who voted to overturn the law spanned the court’s ideological divide. They were stinging in their opinion, writing, “DOMA writes inequality into the entire U.S. Code.”

Swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said, “DOMA’s avowed purpose and practical effect are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.”

In essence, it violated the Equal Protection Clause, but what the court did not do, a point seemingly lost in the excitement following the decision, was legalize same-sex marriage nationally. Same-sex marriage is legal in 12 states (soon to be 13 with the addition of California) and the District of Columbia. And while most other states may legalize it over time, some states likely never will. But the law is now such that they cannot legally hinder such couples.

The court also threw out California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8, a ballot initiative amendment to the state constitution, on a technicality. A California court nullified the proposition and the state refused to defend it on appeal.

Attorneys for backers of Proposition 8 attempted to continue the appeal, but the high court ruled that they had no standing to do so, having suffered no harm or wrong. The court said a “generalized grievance — no matter how sincere — is insufficient to confer standing.”

IF A TAX DISPUTE seems an unlikely turning point for the gay rights movement, consider that the movement got its start in even more mundane circumstances: a 1969 riot outside the Stonewall Inn, a seedy New York gay bar. Progress is not always marked by trumpets and flowers.

Comments

comments

.

News

Grant means new push for moving tracks out of town

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Some say council needs to reconsider MRAP

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

UC to create $250 million venture capital fund

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

 
School district may redevelop downtown site

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

 
Master Gardeners share their wisdom at free workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Scots vote to stay in UK

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
France strikes Islamic State group’s depot in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Man faces arson charge in huge California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
DUI suspected in crash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Woodland Healthcare offering flu shots

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Storyteller will draw on music, dance

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Putah Creek Bike Path to close temporarily

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Little Free Libraries open at Montgomery

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Rabid bat found at Holmes Junior High

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Students invited to apply for Blue & White grants

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Telling tales, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Register to vote by Oct. 20

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free workout class set at library

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Explorit: Lots of ways to be a volunteer

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Sierra Club remembers longtime walker

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

DHS Classes of 1954 and 1955 will hold 60th reunion

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Nonprofits can get DCN’s help

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis maps available at Chamber office

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Reception benefits endangered gorillas

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Downtown history tour planned in October

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Wolk applauds approval of stronger rules for olive oil

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Davis hosts its own climate change rally

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Sutter Farmers Market offers local goods

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Qigong classes available for heart health

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

Sick of being the bad guy

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Cheers and Jeers: Not the end of the rainbow

By Our View | From Page: A6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

 
Return to previous plan

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Save the ‘pine cone place’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Affirm our community values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Project has safety risks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Learn more about Paso Fino

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Educate homeless with dogs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Aggies’ new energy could be scary for Big West

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
No rest for the weary: Aggie TE Martindale busy on and off the field

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils hope the light bulb turns on at Edison

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
River Cats and Giants sign two-year deal

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Blue Devil volleyballers hold off Herd

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Take Zona and Bama this week

By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

Mustangs are no match for DHS boys in water polo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
A’s slide continues as Rangers sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

Name Droppers: Awards keep coming for UC Davis retiree

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

Redesigned 2015 Escalade remains breed all its own

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, September 19, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A10

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Taylor Morrison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Norcal Land

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Robin Garland

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Dana Hawkins

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Martha Bernauer

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Remax

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Melrina A Maggiora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Julie Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Jamie Madison & Associates

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Marcelo Campos

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Bob Bockwinkel

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Juan Ramirez

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

James Hanna

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Raul Zamora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Susan von Geldern

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Lisa Haass

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

First Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24