By: Lisa Keen/Keen News Service–
Perhaps the most historic U.S. Supreme Court session ever for the LGBT community gets underway officially October 1, with a record nine gay-related cases seeking review, all involving same-sex marriage.
Two of the nine cases include high-profile landmark decisions in federal appeals courts –one declaring the California’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the other holding the core section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional. Whether the court refuses to hear the appeals or takes them, the result will set up another landmark in the LGBT civil rights struggle.
Seven of the nine cases revolve around challenges to DOMA, one concerns Proposition 8, and the ninth is an attempt by the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to circumvent campaign reporting laws when it spends money to push anti-gay initiatives.
The DOMA seven
Of the seven petitions seeking appeal on DOMA-related challenges, four come from the New England states, two from western states, and one from New York.
The Massachusetts Cases – Three of the four petitions in New England arrive from Massachusetts and the First Circuit and involve two cases that have been winding their way through the courts since March 2009. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed one of the lawsuits, while the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office filed the other. Both sought to strike down the core provision of DOMA –Section 3—that bars the federal government to recognize same-sex spouses for any federal purpose. (More)