Dancing after DOMA
Days after the dismantlement of the Defense of Marriage Act in a landmark Supreme Court ruling, the celebration is still going strong in the streets of New York City.
Thousands of people flooded Fifth Avenue this afternoon, decked out in every imaginable shade, waving rainbow flags in varying amounts of clothing for the city’s annual gay pride parade. Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case which ultimately led to the dismantlement of DOMA, was among three Grand Marshals who oversaw the proceedings.
Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner, who was also on hand, sent the crowd into a fervor as he approached the historic site of the Stonewall Inn at the end of the route. Carrying a megaphone and a massive rainbow flag, Mr. Weiner exuberantly rushed down the street engaging the crowd with his energy and championing gay rights.
After the Supreme Court struck down The Defense of Marriage Act this morning, Edith Windsor, the 5-foot-tall, 84-year-old woman whose lawsuit led to the national gay rights victory, finally had something to celebrate.
And, despite her trust in the legal team defending her, Ms. Windsor, standing before a packed LGBT Center room in Greenwich village, said she was unsure about the outcome of the 5-4 ruling before today.
“I prepared three speeches, one was total win, one was as applied, which was a possibility and one was total loss,” Ms. Windsor said. But when she heard the news, Ms. Windsor said her first reaction was tears.
doma in a coma
When word arrived that the Supreme Court had struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, Democratic politicians from around the Empire State rejoiced with a flurry of celebratory statements. But former Congressman Anthony Weiner, knowing the press would come to him, simply updated his public schedule to show that he’d be addressing DOMA after an afternoon press conference in the Bronx.
Needless to say, Mr. Weiner was happy.
Law & Order
In a major victory for gay rights, the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act this morning, ruling the 1996 law unconstitutional. Same-sex married couples are now entitled to the same federal status as other married couples, such as in regard to income taxes and Social Security.
The case, United States v. Windsor, is based on a New York woman, Eddie Windsor, who married her spouse, Thea Clara Spyer in Canada. Upon Ms. Spyer’s death in 2009, Ms. Windsor inherited her estate and was taxed as if they were unmarried. In their decision today, the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA created a separate and unequal class of citizens in cases such as this.
doma in a coma
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took to the airwaves today to denounce the Defense of Marriage Act on legal grounds, arguing that it will be ruled unconstitutional because it “discriminates” against New York State’s recognition of same-sex marriages. The high-profile case is set to go before the Supreme Court later this week.
“This is something that, without getting too far into the merits of the case, I think the Supreme Court will strike down,” Mr. Schneiderman said this morning on The Brian Lehrer Show. “This is an overreach by the federal government, this is inconsistent with our federalist system and I think this one will definitely fall.”
This afternoon, a New York federal appeals court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, commonly known as DOMA, which excluded federal benefits from same-sex couples in states recognizing such marriages. And Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn, both loud advocates in favor of gay marriage, blasted out a rare joint statement approving the legal decision.
“Today’s decision affirms that DOMA deprives same sex couples of equal protection under the law,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand emerged from the fight to abolish Don’t Ask Don’t Tell as arguably the upper chamber’s most ardent spokesperson for gay rights.
It also helped her get out from under the large shadow of the state’s ubiquitous senior senator, Chuck Schumer (who also supports the repeal but has focused more of his attention on the economy and the fiscal woes of the middle class).
At a LGBT-themed forum in Manhattan last night — her umpteenth event that day — Gillibrand quickly knocked down a question about Michele Bachmann’s plans to undo some recent gay rights victories on the federal level.