Belo Debate Topic (10/2): Supreme Court may rule on Defense of Marriage Act

The Belo Debate: October 2, 2012

Belo Debate Topic (10/2): Supreme Court may rule on Defense of Marriage Act

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by MATT GOODMAN

WFAA

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 2 at 6:37 PM

DALLAS – At least one Supreme Court justice is anticipating revisiting the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars married same-sex couples from receiving the same benefits as a married man and woman.

Speaking in Colorado last month, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told the Associated Press, “I think it’s most likely that we will have that issue before the court toward the end of the current term.” The term began on October 1 and lasts until the end of June 2013. 

Signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act prohibits same-sex couples from receiving the same federal benefits as legally wedded heterosexual couples by defining the union as one specifically between a man and a woman. 

This prevents gay couples from partaking in each other’s Social Security benefits and company-granted retirement accounts. Nor can one same-sex spouse sponsor the other for American citizenship if he or she is an immigrant. 

In February, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder ordered the Justice Department to halt its support of the law in court, calling it “unconstitutional.” 

One month later, House Speaker John Boehner formed an advisory group featuring two Republicans and a Democrat to decide whether federal lawyers should follow President Obama’s urging. 

A petition for certiorari for the Supreme Court to consider the issue was filed on June 29. The case is the United States House of Representatives v. Nancy Gill, in which an appellate court found the act to be unconstitutional. 

Both Democrats and Republicans have lobbied the high court to consider the issue during this term.

Culled from third-party sources:

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