ICYMI: Audio from Supreme Court Prop8 oral arguments. DOMA recording posts 2pm.


Today is the second day of legal history in the making at the U.S. Supreme Court, which for the first time ever this week is hearing oral arguments on whether marriage rights for gay couples are protected under the U.S. Constitution. Today, the Court considers the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

The Court has granted extended time for DOMA arguments; total of 110 minutes in arguments before the court, 50 minutes devoted to jurisdictional issues, 60 minutes to the merits. I should be able to post a link to today's recording at 2pm, or shortly after. I hadn't realized the Court would be releasing same-day audio recordings. They usually don't; this is the first time in a year the Court's posted same-day recordings; the last time was oral arguments for Affordable Care Act's constitutionality.

Yesterday the Court heard argument in California's Prop8 case, for which Garden State Equality submitted an amicus curiae brief. Here is full audio & transcript of Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop8) oral argument.

Senator Bob Menendez has put his name behind a petition to overturn DOMA, a reflection of his own movement on this issue. Seventeen years ago, he voted for DOMA, and President Clinton signed it into law. Both now fully support marriage equality. And DOMA, still the law of the land is no longer defended by President Obama and his administration. Both our Senators and every Democrat in the NJ Congressional Delegation has signed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to strike down DOMA.

Trenton's own Associate Justice Antonin Scalia is the focus of some outrage after wondering aloud during the Prop8 arguments yesterday whether having same-sex parents may be "harmful" to children (for the record, it is not). Several petitions petitions like this one demand Scalia recuse himself. Not going to happen.

Scalia, who is already on record equating sodomy with murder in a talk in Princeton last year is the Court's most obvious vote against equality.  
Edith "Edie" Windsor is challenging DOMA as a violation of equal protection. The federal government taxed Edie more than $363,000 when her spouse, Thea Spyer, passed away in 2009. The couple first met in 1965 and married in 2007, after an engagement of more than 40 years. Yet, when Thea died, the federal government treated them as complete strangers because of DOMA, significantly reducing Edie's inheritance by denying her protections from the estate tax that other married couples receive. Edie is now 83.  

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