Tag Archives: Defense of Marriage Act

Veterans Day …


Vietnam_VeteransDo something for a Veteran …

As we move deeper into autumn and winter-like weather, most if not all Americans, recognize Veterans Day. I am not sure most or any employers in the Private Sector do.  Most of us have our minds on many things but the current news cycles have folks reeling. What with trump admin saying being an obstacle instead of reporting the wrongdoing by trump was a better option is insane! While all the BREAKING news sets gotta say there weren’t as many Veteran Day ads on Tv this year or maybe this era of trump means losing so much more than folks ever believed. It still brings back memories of my brother. My brother was, a Marine, a phenomenal artist and promising professional football athlete who could have gotten drafted after high school but, under the old laws of mandatory military service,  he was of an age with no option to say no contrary to some upper class mostly white men who begged while others received many deferments.  I know he accepted his situation was an exceptional soldier and we all hoped for the best, always prayed, knowing the end result of any war he and his fellow soldiers and friends were subjected to back then almost always meant injuries, mental health issues and possibly death. He and his fellow Soldiers served the best they could. In the end, my brother received a whole lot of medals but at the cost of having a pacemaker, his body was heavily grafted and his hand mangled from protecting his men when a land mine blew up. I will admit as proud as we are were, he made some terrible mistakes during and after his years in service;  like others he suffered from all that he endured in the Vietnam War in the name of “Military Service” which was forced upon so many young men unable to vote or drink, they die while others are still unable to get the help they so need. He was far from perfect, but our family loved and are very proud of him … peace and love bro. on Veterans day.

Thinking of all the Patriotic people who have chosen to serve and protect our country in some form we should all thank them for keeping us safe.

Nativegrl77

The Inspired Economist


Repeal This!


By  CAP Action War Room

Speaker Boehner’s Do-Nothing Congress

It’s simply an objective fact that this Congress is on track to be the least productive in modern history, owing largely to the inability or unwillingness of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to move almost even the most basic legislation through the House of Representatives. That’s right, the Senate is a font of bipartisan comity and productivity compared to the do-nothing House.

Asked about this yesterday on Face the Nation, Speaker Boehner offered up this thoroughly ridiculous defense of Congress’ historically unproductive session:

We should not be judged on how many new laws we create. We ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. We’ve got more laws than the administration could ever enforce.

Even by Boehner’s own bizarre standard, Congress has still been spectacularly ineffective. House Republicans have not successfully repealed Obamacare or Wall Street reform, but they have wasted millions of dollars and weeks of time trying — and failing — to do so. As MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted, “In other words, by Boehner’s own standards for evaluating Congress on the merits, he’s failing.”

All that said, we’ll take the Speaker at his word. With that in mind, here’s some things we’d love for him to get to repealing as soon as possible:

  1. The Defense of Marriage Act: While the Supreme Court threw out the part of DOMA that prohibited the federal government from recognizing legally valid same-sex marriages, the part that allows states to refuse to do so is still on the books. Congress should get rid of that part too.
  2. Giveaways to Big Oil: Oil prices are once again creeping up, which is a good reminder that oil companies don’t need billions of dollars a year in giveaways from taxpayers. Some of these giveaways have been on the books for a century, so they definitely seem ripe for repeal at a time of sky-high oil prices and Big Oil profits to go along with them.
  3. Restrictions on Abortion in the District of Columbia: Unable to impose their will on the nation, Republicans have used Congress’ enduring control over the affairs of the District of Columbia’s more than 600,000 disenfranchised residents to advance various pet causes. One of them has been to forbid the District from using funds generated by the taxpayers of the District themselves (i.e local, not federal funds) to pay for abortions for low-income women.
  4. Giveaways to Hedge Fund and Private Equity Managers: The so-called “carried interest” loophole is the one that allows hedge fund and private equity managers — and hedge fund and private equity managers alone — to avoid paying their fair share in taxes on billions in income by erroneously classifying ordinary income as investment income. It has no economic justification and allows people like Mitt Romney to get away with paying a lower tax rate than many middle class workers.
  5. Restrictions on Commonsense Gun Violence Prevention Measures: Similar to the aforementioned restrictions on abortion in Washington, D.C., Congress has also seen fit to put numerous restrictions on the ability of the federal government to take commonsense steps to reduce gun violence. These NRA-backed “riders”  in annual appropriations bills, including those preventing even basic public health research on gun violence and measures meant to reduce gun trafficking, should be repealed instead of being extended for yet another year.

We could go on. In fact, there’s nearly $1 TRILLION in wasteful and unnecessary giveaways in the tax code alone that Congress could repeal today. Boehner also said yesterday that his top priority is repairing the nation’s finances. If reducing the deficit and repealing things are his top priorities, these giveaways would seem to be a good place for Boehner to start.

BOTTOM LINE: Any way you slice it, Congress is historically unproductive and historically unpopular. Instead of finding up-is-down, black-is-white excuses, Speaker Boehner should start allowing the House of Representatives — the whole House, not just the Republican caucus — to work its will and accomplish something for the American people. If Speaker Boehner is unable or unwilling to lead on issues like immigration reform with a pathway to earned citizenship, he can at least get out of the way.

Will the Supreme Court Say I Do?


By  ThinkProgress War Room

Supreme Court to Take Up Historic Marriage Equality Cases

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the first of two historic cases dealing with marriage equality. Here’s what you need to know about these two cases and how the High Court could come down.

Case #1 (Tuesday): Hollingsworth v. Perry

At issue: California’s Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban approved by California voters in 2008.

Legal Questions:

  • Is it unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause for California to prohibit marriage equality?
  • California’s governor and attorney general stopped defending the measure several years ago, so a group of cities and Prop. 8 proponents stepped in to defend the law in their place. The Supreme Court must decide if it was even proper for this group to have been allowed to do so in the first place.

Possible Outcomes:

  • Marriage equality for everyone, everywhere
  • Marriage equality in some places now, everywhere else later. One route proposed by the Obama administration would result in marriage equality right now in California and other states that have civil union laws that are essentially marriage in everything but name. Legally speaking, if California’s ban is deemed unconstitutional, bans in other states would then also be difficult to defend. As the president said recently, he can’t think of any reason why any state’s ban should be valid.
  • Marriage equality just in California. The Court could tailor a narrow opinion that invalidates Prop. 8, but doesn’t really advance jurisprudence in a way that is particularly useful anywhere else.
  • Marriage equality in California, probably. The Court could use the second question about legal standing to dodge making a decision on the merits, which would leave the district court decision invalidating Prop. 8 in place. There are some unresolved questions about how this particular approach would play out.
  • No marriage equality in California, at least for now. The Court could reverse the lower courts and leave Prop. 8 in place. The only way it could then be undone is by voters through yet another ballot measure or in a future Supreme Court case heard by a more progressive Court. A poll out last week found that 61 percent of California’s now support marriage equality, making this route likely to succeed if also costly, time-consuming, and limited only to California.

For more details on how the Court could strike down Prop. 8, check out ThinkProgress’ legal analysis HERE.

Case #2 (Wednesday): United States v. Windsor

At Issue: The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Legal Questions:

  • Whether Section 3 of DOMA, the part of the law that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples for purposes of taxation, federal benefits, and more than 1,000 other rights or responsibilities, violates the legal married same couples’ guarantees of equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.
  • As with the Prop. 8 case, there are technical legal questions about whether the Supreme Court is even allowed to hear the case. First, can the Court hear the case since the executive branch already agrees with lower courts that the law is unconstitutional? After the Department of Justice stopped defending the law, House Republicans took up the cause of defending discrimination and have spent millions of taxpayer dollars doing so. The Court must decide if House Republicans are allowed, legally speaking, to stand in for the executive branch.

Possible Outcomes:

  • Marriage equality for everyone. The Court could simply rule that DOMA is unconstitutional because everyone has a constitutional right to marry the partner of their choice.
  • Marriage equality in some places. The Court could strike down DOMA and allow legally married same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits as straight couples, but not rule on whether there is a broader constitutional right to marriage equality. Depending on how strongly worded such a decision is, it could make it difficult to defend other anti-gay laws and state marriage bans. Another version of this outcome could be decided on the basis of the Tenth Amendment, but this would establish a highly unfortunate precedent that could be dangerous for the social safety net.
  • Muddled mess. If the Court decides that it lacks jurisdiction for either or both of the reasons mentioned above, nobody is quite sure what exactly will happen. It’s possible that DOMA could remain valid everywhere but New York and New England (the federal circuit courts where the challenges were initiated). Another theory says the Obama administration could refuse to enforce the law, but then that still leaves open the possibility that a future anti-gay President Rubio could revive the law.
  • No change. The Court could disagree with the various lower courts that invalidated DOMA and find it to be constitutional. In this case, the only ways to get rid of DOMA would be a future case before a less conservative Supreme Court or Congressional repeal of DOMA. Senators and members of the House have already introduced a bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, to accomplish the latter.

For more details on how the Court could dump DOMA, check out ThinkProgress’ legal analysis HERE.

Stay tuned: ThinkProgress reporters will be both inside and outside the Supreme Court tomorrow and we’ll be bringing you live updates.

Get Involved: Sign Our Brief Telling the Supreme Court to Dump DOMA

Our partners at the Center for American Progress signed onto a legal brief against DOMA. Will you support their brief by signing on, and say that you won’t stand for the unconstitutional discrimination against LGBT people?

Sign HERE to tell the Supreme Court that DOMA must go.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

Former Bush administration official slams top social conservative over opposition to marriage equality.

Virginia Democratic senator backs marriage equality.

Watch: the most compelling case for marriage equality in under a minute.

Another NFL player speaks out for marriage equality.

Thirteen offensive things Justice Scalia has compared homosexuality to.

Majority of Ohioans back marriage equality, want to overturn state’s 2004 ban on marriage equality.

Missouri Democratic senator backs marriage equality.

Puff pieces profiling paid marriage equality opponents plague the mainstream media.

The NRA is flooding Newtown with robocalls opposing gun violence prevention measures.

Americans Like Equality


By  ThinkProgress War Room

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

Leading conservative commentator says DOMA is unconstitutional.

GOP Congressman: “The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out.”

Starbucks CEO: If you don’t like marriage equality then feel free to sell your Starbucks stock.