Gay marriage gets big boost in two Supreme Court rulings

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a landmark victory for gay rights on Wednesday by forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where it is legal and paving the way for it in California, the most populous state.

As expected, however, the court fell short of a broader ruling endorsing a fundamental right for gay people to marry, meaning that there will be no impact in the more than 30 states that do not recognize gay marriage.

The two cases, both decided on 5-4 votes, concerned the constitutionality of a key part of a federal law, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), that denied benefits to same-sex married couples, and a voter-approved California state law enacted in 2008, called Proposition 8, that banned gay marriage.

The court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, which limited the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal benefits, as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Written by Lawrence Hurley. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website


Gay weddings resume in California

SAN FRANCISCO — Same-sex marriages in California resumed Friday when a federal appeals court lifted a hold on a 2010 injunction, sparking jubilation among gays and accusations of lawlessness from the supporters of Proposition 8.

In a surprise action, a federal appeals court cleared the way, bypassing a normal waiting period and lifting a hold on a trial judge’s order that declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

The news came in a single, legalistic sentence Friday afternoon from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“The stay in the above matter is dissolved immediately,” a three-judge panel wrote.

Gov. Jerry Brown told county clerks they could begin marrying same-sex couples immediately, launching plans for ceremonies up and down the state. The two same-sex couples who filed the federal lawsuit against Proposition 8 headed to the city halls in Los Angeles and San Francisco to tie the knot, ending their long fight to become legal spouses.

The first wedding, in San Francisco, began at 4:45 p.m. At 4:10 p.m., a cheer went up in the San Francisco City Hall rotunda. Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, made their way from the city clerk’s office, where they got their marriage license, to the marble steps of City Hall, stopping for photographs.

Written by Maura Dolan, Anthony York and Maria L. La Ganga. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Rob Reiner, gay marriage activist, ‘elated’ by Prop. 8 ruling

Actor-director and political activist Rob Reiner, who cofounded the group that led the court battle against Proposition 8, said he was “elated” when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that defenders of the same sex-marriage ban had no legal standing in court, clearing the way for gay marriage to resume in California.

Speaking in a phone interview from a Connecticut set Friday, Reiner discussed the future of same-sex marriage in the United States, saying his group –– American Foundation for Equal Rights — would look for ways to continue its effort nationwide.

“To me, the concern at this point is how do we take these two landmark rulings on DOMA and Prop. 8 and fold that into ultimately a real try to find a way to use those two rulings and move ahead to allow marriage for gays and lesbians throughout the country,” Reiner said. “Right now we’ve got 13 states and D.C. and we have to find ways to make this available to everybody in America.”

Reiner said AFER would potentially look at bringing another gay marriage-related case to the courts that would address the constitutionality of the issue, in order to avoid a prolonged state-by-state fight.

Written by Kate Mather. To read the full article, click here.

Gay marriage rulings: California businesses await economic boom

On the day the Supreme Court handed two major victories to the gay rights movement, Rossmoor Pastries in Signal Hill put the finishing touches on a wedding cake celebrating gay marriage.

The cake — creamy white topped with two same-sex couples kissing — is the first of many that owner Charles Feder anticipates baking as gay weddings resume in the Golden State. He expects gay wedding celebrations, along with future anniversary fetes and baby showers, to be a boon to his business.
“When gay marriage was allowed previously in California, we did three or four [cakes] a week, about 20 a month,” Feder said. “I am expecting that to come back with a fury.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and denied an appeal to a ruling that struck down Proposition 8, which in 2008 banned gay marriages in California. Economists say those twin decisions could be a boon to both state and federal coffers, and grant new financial benefits to married gay couples.

In California alone, the state’s budget could see a gain of $40 million in wedding-related tax revenue over the next three years, according to the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA Law. The federal government could gain $500 million to $700 million annually in taxes with the influx of newly recognized marriages, the Congressional Budget Office said.

Written by Shan Li, Adolfo Flores and Ricardo Lopez. To read the full article, click here.