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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

Respect for Marriage Act, DOMA, and Prop 8 update

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

The Respect for Marriage Act is trying to make its way through Congress. I don't expect it to be passed, but holding a vote would at least help hold leaders accountable before the upcoming election.

For federal purposes, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. A Senate panel has passed a repeal of DOMA. but I don't think there are enough votes for it to pass in Congress. Much like the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the courts will strike the law down if a Congressional repeal is not successful.

In July 2010, US District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional (Gill v. Office of Personnel Management). This will be the first DOMA case to reach the Courts of Appeals. On October 27th, the briefs were filed in the First Circuit court. If that ruling is not upheld, there are several other DOMA cases lined up behind it. Golansky v. Office of Personnel Management, and Windsor v. United States are two other interesting DOMA cases to watch.

In Perry v. Brown, the California Proposition 8 case is being considered by the Supreme Court. The case was Perry v. Schwarzenegger, but has now been updated to the current California Governor Brown. Proposition 8 prohibits same-sex marriage in California, but the state officials are no longer contesting the decision. The first Supreme Court decision will determine if the remaining parties have any standing to contest the constitutionality of the proposition. If they rule against the proponents, the lower court decision will stand. If the court rules in their favor, the case will remain on the court docket for a final decision.

Best regards,

-- Gary Wright II

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