Recent challenges to DOMA – the end is near?

In the words of President Obama, addressing the LGBT community in June 2011, “I told you I was against the Defense — so-called Defense of Marriage Act. I’ve long supported efforts to pass a repeal through Congress. And until we reach that day, my administration is no longer defending DOMA in the courts. The law is discriminatory. It violates the Constitution. It’s time for us to bring it to an end.”

While our President took a firm stance on constitutionality of DOMA, the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group soon announced that the House would defend the Defense of Marriage Act.… <Read More>


Equality for Marriage, but Not Financial Aid

Since New York state legalized marriage for gay unions, many homosexual partners have enjoyed the legal and social matrimonial benefits that have previously been reserved for straight couples. Unfortunately the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“Fafsa”) is not up to date with changing composition of families partly because the federal agency that issues it, is obligated to to abide by the Defense of Marriage Act. Better known as DOMA, this statute only recognizes marriages between men and women. As these students cannot fully portray their family’s finances, the amount of aid they receive may not fairly reflect their needs. It has been calculated that the approximate 220,000 children under age 18 that are being raised by same-sex parents may be affected.

According to a New York Times article written by Tara Siegel Bernard, officials from the Department of Education, which issues Fafsa, applicants with married parents from the same gender must fill out the Fafsa as if their parents are divorced. “There is the stigma and indignity of having to list them as divorced, when they are, in fact, not,” said Emily Hecht-McGowan, director of public policy at the Family Equality Council, “It creates confusion and this extra step that children raised by L.G.B.T. parents have to go through.”  In addition, when filling out the form, applicants are required to indicate the parent who provides more financial support which means that the other parent’s income and assets are often ignored. This may have a positive consequence, (that the student is provided with the appropriate or supplementary aid) or a negative one, (that he or she may be given less aid than a student from an identical family headed by heterosexual parents.)… <Read More>


New York Divorce Lawyers Preparing for Same-Sex Divorce

A City Room Blog Postby Clyde Haberman raises an interesting question: Same-Sex MarriageShould New Yorkers be expecting a wave of Same-Sex Divorce in the coming months, now that Same-Sex Marriage is legalized in the state?  While lawyers disagree on how many such divorces can be expected, they all agree that same-sex divorce will differ greatly from heterosexual divorce in some key ways. … <Read More>


Not So Equal…

 

This summer we witnessed history in the making as on June 24, 2011 the New York State Legislature passed the Marriage Equality Act, legalizing same-sex marriage in the state of NY. The new law provides same-sex married couples with the same benefits as opposite-sex couples, such as eligibility for health insurance coverage, hospital visitations, inheritance laws, children having two legal parents, and etc.   Without a doubt, for the New York LGBT community, the new law is one more victory in a fight for equality.  However, since the laws nationwide provide a very disparate treatment when it comes to things such as, for instance, adoption, the fight for equality is far from over.… <Read More>


Will the U.S. Supreme Court History Repeat Itself Again?

A look back into the history of this country illustrates that the fight over whether same-sex marriage should be allowed is yet another hotly debated issue that has divided this country and challenged our long-standing notions of morality and tradition.  Less than a century ago the thought of women having a right to vote was deemed unconscionable.  Today women cannot even fathom the fact that they could have ever been denied such a fundamental right as citizens.   About fifty years ago African-Americans fought to have the same rights as white Americans to vote, to frequent public establishments, and to utilize public transportation; whether black children should be allowed to attend the same schools as white children was hotly disputed; blacks were denied admittance into graduate schools, and interracial marriages were prohibited.   Today our country is being led by a black (or to be more accurate – interracial) president who attended an Ivy League law school.  The contested list of constitutional rights is long.   And if an old adage that “history tends to repeat itself” is true, then it is just a matter of time before the right to a same-sex marriage becomes the supreme law of the land, and protests and debates are featured on the History channel.  Until then, we just have to wait and watch as this fight plays out in the courts, in the Congress, in the upcoming presidential elections, and in our streets.… <Read More>