08 July 2010

equal rights - DOMA ruled unconstitutional

Three news items today:
  •  Federal District Judge Joseph Tauro rules that the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" is unconstitutional. Two separate cases ruled upon the same day. Reason one [from Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Health + Human Services] is that by enacting DOMA Congress violated the Tenth Amendment and States' sovereignty by treating some couples with Massachusetts’ marriage licenses differently than others.
     In the second case, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, he ruled DOMA violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
     Maura Healey, chief of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division, called DOMA an “animus-based national marriage law” that intrudes on core state authority and “forces the state to discriminate against its own citizens.”
  •  Legal analysts Celeste Lavin and Jennifer Vanasco provide an explanation of the rulings and how these decisions may affect future marriage rights cases for gay couples.
  •  The third item is what corporate behemoth Google is doing for it's gay employees to lessen the impact of the economic discrimination foisted by the Federal Government when they tax us for "income" that non-gay married couples do not have to pay to the IRS.
     For example, because my male spouse is on my health insurance plan I am taxed by the IRS as if I make 8 to 10 thousand more per year than I actually do. This does not happen to my non-gay co-workers who are married. They get the second person on their insurance at no extra taxation.
     and that's just one example that I know of...
     This is a Federal Insurance Penalty, imposed in 1996 by the "Defense of Marriage" Act. Provisions of the act single out gay and lesbian families for inequitable treatment under law. Because federal law denies any recognition of gay and lesbian families, the federal tax code denies those families cash saving breaks and imposes monetary penalties that straight marrieds do not have to shell out for.
     So it is encouraging to hear that Google employees who are gay shall receive compensation for this inequity.

IMAGE CREDITS: 1- "Gay married couple" by Ian Grey Photography, used with permission; 2- taken by someone who was at our wedding; 3- Jackson Events

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