News / USA

US Supreme Court Considers Defense of Marriage Act

Gabriela Fore, 6, of Upper Darby Pa., holds a sign with her moms in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2013, as the court heard arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Gabriela Fore, 6, of Upper Darby Pa., holds a sign with her moms in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2013, as the court heard arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
VOA News
The U.S. Supreme Court held a second day of arguments for and against same sex marriage, this time considering the 1996 federal law defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
 
The Defense of Marriage Act denies same-sex couples certain federal benefits, such as Social Security survivor payments and tax deductions that heterosexual married couples enjoy.  The court is considering whether the law deprives homosexuals the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.
 
Same Sex Marriage Cases

Hollingsworth v Perry
  • Filed on behalf of two same-sex couples
  • Seeks to block California's Proposition 8, which states marriage is between a man and a woman
  • Proposition 8 was approved by California voters in 2008, overriding a state court decision that allowed same-sex marriage

United States v Windsor
  • Challenges the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
  • DOMA was passed by Congress in 1996
  • Under DOMA, same-sex marriages approved at the state level are not recognized by the federal government
During the Wednesday session, conservative justices Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and John Roberts said they were troubled by President Barack Obama's decision not to defend in court the law Congress had approved.  They said it called into question his willingness to defend other laws passed by Congress and challenged in court. 
 
The court heard arguments Tuesday on the constitutionality of California's ban on gay marriage.  The justices indicated a reluctance to rule broadly on the right to marry for gays and lesbians, suggesting the court may be similarly cautious about the federal ban.
 
Rulings in both cases are expected by the end of June.
 
Recent public opinion polls show a majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage.  It is legal in nine states and Washington, D.C.  Supporters call it a human and civil rights issue and are hoping for a decision similar to one in 1967 that struck down state laws banning interracial marriage.

Countries where gay marriage is legalCountries where gay marriage is legal
x
Countries where gay marriage is legal
Countries where gay marriage is legal
But 29 other states have passed amendments in their constitutions that outlaw gay marriage. Opponents insist the institution of marriage must be protected to ensure the family unit.

  • Plaintiff Edith Windsor looks to supporters in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, March 27, 2013.
  • A supporter of traditional marriage rallies in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, March 27, 2013.
  • Demonstrators chant outside the Supreme Court in Washington as the court heard arguments on California's Proposition 8, March 26, 2013.
  • A demonstrator holds a bible while marching outside the Supreme Court in Washington as the court heard arguments on California's Proposition 8, March 26, 2013.
  • Plaintiff attorneys Theodore Olson, right, and David Boies, meet with the media outside the Supreme Court in Washington after the court heard arguments on California's Proposition 8, March 26, 2013.
  • Anti-Proposition 8 protesters are shadowed by a rainbow banner in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, March 26, 2013.
  • Demonstrators stand outside the Supreme Court in Washington as the court hears arguments on California's Proposition 8, March 26, 2013.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down nearly three percent, while US market indexes were off around two percent in early trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs