PWN: SCOTUS Rulings, First Thoughts

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RevKess shares his first thoughts on the SCOTUS rulings on DOMA Section 3 and California’s Proposition 8. (Our apologies for any format errors, this was originally submitted for publication or quote for another site.)

In a 5-4 decision, SCOTUS has overturned DOMA. This ruling’s immediate effect is that Ms. Windsor does not owe the IRS $300k in estate taxes. Long term effects are many. The Federal government must now recognize the legitimacy of same-sex marriage performed in any state that has legal same-sex marriage, and the District of Columbia. This recognition is for the purposes of taxes, spousal benefits for military personnel and Federal employees, property rights, etc. This does not mean that all states must now legalize same-sex marriage.

In another 5-4 decision, SCOTUS has tossed Prop8 back down to the lower court with instructions to dismiss the case. Sometime by August 1, 2013, hundred, perhaps thousands, of same-sex couples in California will be applying for marriage licenses and making their plans final and legal to be married.
Today marks an affirmation by SCOTUS that the United States is a country of freedoms and equal rights. This despite their ruling Tuesday on Voter Rights and the Federal government’s further attempts to restrict or take away other rights of US citizens. The five Justices that ruled against DOMA will go down in LGBT history as heroes. The five Justices who ruled against Prop8 will also go down in LGBT history as heroes.
As a gay man I am thrilled to hear these rulings. At the time of this writing I have not slogged through all the legalese of both opinions the dissenters, that will come after the initial euphoria has waned a bit. I can only hope that the DOMA decision will reflect well on the efforts of my state to over turn their own version of DOMA. The ban on same-sex marriage in Nebraska was a complete farce. The law was written by a woman with no legal background, the phrasing of the law was son confusing that a literal interpretation can prevent a father and son from owning a business together, let alone two men or two women getting married. After the election day that voted Nebraska’s ban of same-sex marriage into law, many voters were polled and it was learned that over 50% of those who voted for the ban thought they were voting for same-sex marriage. Such is the wonders of legalese and a lack of education. Since then, Nebraskans have been fighting for marriage equality with half-hearted attempts and full-hearted attempts. I do hope that after today those who are fighting for marriage equality in Nebraska will reaffirm their convictions and stick it to the government.
As a Pagan I am thrilled by both rulings. “All acts of love and pleasure” are the rituals of the Gods. I personally feel thatpagan marriage equality the government should have no say in whether legal consenting adults get married, regardless of their sex or sexual identity. Marriage in this context is a religious institution. How politicos view marriage is as a legal contract. If you are going to view marriage as a legal contract, then any two consenting adults should be able to enter into such a contract.
I am a legally ordained and recognized minister in the state of Nebraska, and many other states that recognize my ordination. I have been asked many times to do weddings and handfastings. I’ve not had the joy or the privilege to perform a same-sex ceremony. I have been asked, but things changed in the lives of the couples and the unions did not take place. If I were asked today to go to one of the 12 (soon to be 13) states that have legal same-sex marriage (and the District of Columbia) to perform such a glorious union, I would gladly do so. If I were asked today to do a same-sex handfasting or other such ceremony in any of the 50 states or anywhere else in the world, I would gladly do so.
I am now and always have been of the firm opinion that all adults have the right to love who they want and how they want as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others or place themselves or others at risk of undue harm.
There is still a long uphill battle in the United States for marriage equality. The provision of DOMA that allows states without same-sex marriage to ignore the validity of a same-sex marriage from a state that does still stands. SCOTUS declared Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional. The rest of DOMA still stands, which means that each state still has the right to define marriage according to its voters or law makers.
For further Pagan responses to the SCOTUS rulings, read the Wild Hunt.
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Launched in July 2009, the Pagan-Musings Podcast Channel has been growing and evolving to bring the Pagan community unique perspectives and views, interviews, music, and news from you average Pagans to well known Elders.

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