New York City’s efforts to fire what it calls the “heroin teacher” received a setback this week that has Mayor Michael Bloomberg fuming.
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.
Christine Quinn, who is vying to become New York City’s first openly gay mayor, quickly summed up her feelings this morning in an MSNBC interview. She was reacting, of course, to the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. She quickly pivoted to the New York roots of the case that overturned DOMA, United States v. Windsor.
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.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which defined which jurisdictions needed federal clearance for voting law changes before implementation. Because three New York counties–Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx–fell under Section 4’s formula, today’s ruling effectively removes the pre-clearance standard from any voting changes that affect the city or state.
Put in simpler terms, changes to New York’s election law will no longer face the potential obstacle of automatic federal intervention. For example, any lawsuit against the recent decision to shift this year’s run-off election date back a week and allow the city to return to levered voting machines would be unlikely to succeed before Election Day on September 10, redistricting attorney Jeff Wice told Politicker this morning.
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.” Continue reading “Eric Schneiderman Predicts DOMA Will Be Ruled Unconstitutional”
While selling his book at Princeton University earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia defended moral opposition to gay marriage by asking, “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder?” According to the Associated Press, Mr. Scalia said he wasn’t equating murder and homosexuality but rather making a logical argument entitled “reduction to the absurd,” but Council Speaker Christine Quinn, an openly gay candidate for mayor next year, wasn’t remotely satisfied with his explanation.
“It’s offensive!” Ms. Quinn exclaimed on Hardball yesterday evening. “Sexual orientation is who we are as people, it’s how we’re created if we’re the LGBT [community]. To compare that–even in a way you want to say was some philosophical exercise–to a heinous, horrible crime of murder? It’s just wrong. He can say it’s a slip of the tongue and that’s fine and we all of them; God knows I have. Just apologize. But don’t compare me to a murderer because I’m a lesbian. Just don’t do it. It’s wrong.”