Defense of Marriage Act Ruled ‘Unconstitutional’ by the Supreme Court

Millions of people all over the country exhaled in a sigh of relief earlier this week as news of the United States Supreme Court striking down The Defense of Marriage Act was delivered. Those people cried, and embraced one another, and danced in the streets, in celebration of another small victory in a larger movement for equality of all United States citizens.

DOMA Struck Down - CNN

 

Photo from CNN

 

Before it was ruled unconstitutional, DOMA, which was enacted in 1996, allowed states to deny recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states. This often equated to a barring of privileges, benefits, and basic rights for couples who were married in a state where same-sex marriage was legalized. Rights that are often taken for granted by heterosexual couples such as the ability to visit your spouse in the hospital, or being able to file joint tax returns, were not granted to same-sex couples, regardless of their legitimate union sanctioned by whichever state they were married in.

Gay rights activists, allies, same-sex couples, and pro marriage equality politicians have long urged the public to see the unconstitutionality in The Defense of Marriage Act. Because of the rights that DOMA denies same-sex couples, the federal law is in direct violation of the Fifth Amendment, in that it denies life, liberty, and property, as well as due process for same-sex couples.

The United States Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the majority opinion, which appears to be just as influenced by the constitution as by contemporary ethics. Kennedy explained how DOMA not only denies due process to same-sex couples, but also “humiliates the children of same-sex spouses,” and makes same-sex married couples feel “less worthy” as citizens deserving of equal rights.

DOMA being overturned by the Supreme Court is a momentous marker of progress in the gay rights movement. Though there is still much work that needs to be done to achieve equal rights for all people in this country regardless of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation, this ruling sparks hope for many advocates of universal equality for all.

For more quotations from Justice Kennedy’s delivery of the majority decision, take a look at this article.

Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! On this day, thousand of events are held around the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements.

This year, women in the U.S. won the right to serve on the front lines in combat. President Obama inched closer to pushing equal pay for men and women.

While many achievements have been made, there are still many more sad truths that women face around the world. Such as genital mutilation, child brides, human trafficking and many more. And then there were anti-women’s health politicians in Congress who made a series of  gaffes about women’s bodies and rape.

Advocates from around the world gather at UN headquarters for the annual Commission on the Status of Women meeting. Millions recognize the advancements made in human rights and the struggles and challenges women continue to face in politics, education, employment and other areas of life.

International Women’s Day can be traced back to March 8, 1857, when garment workers in New York City protested against inhumane working conditions and low wages. That’s according to the United Nations. In that incident, police attacked the protestors and dispersed them, but the movement let the creation of the first women’s labor union.

On March 8, 1908, 15,000 women marched in New York City for shorter work house, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labor. The slogan “Bread and Roses” was created. Bread symbolized economic security and roses for better living standards.

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Today, there’s a Google Doodle and a White House proclamation.

On this day a new slogan is in circulation, “a modern progressive world needs equality.”