The U.S. Supreme Court took no action Friday on the pending LGBTQ cases now on the docket. The next opportunity for the Court to make a decision on the cases is Monday, December 3.
With the recent historic victories in marriage equality across our nation, we want to keep you—our Pride Foundation community—as informed as possible on how these laws and rulings affect you and your loved ones. We will be following the Court’s announcements in the coming days closely and live posting all updates via our Facebook and Twitter.
The majority of these cases address Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That section defines marriage for all federal purposes as between a man and a woman. The Court will be asked to determine if it is unconstitutional as applied to legally married, same-sex couples.
Another LGBTQ case up for consideration is Hollingsworth v. Perry. Proponents of California’s Proposition 8, which still prohibits same-sex couples from marrying in that state, have asked for review after Prop. 8 was ruled unconstitutional—twice.
Here’s a snapshot of these cases:
Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives (BLAG) v. Gill—Nancy Gill has been a United States postal worker for 25 years. She was refused the opportunity to apply for benefits for her partner of 24 years.
United States Dept. of Health & Human Services v. Massachusetts and Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services—Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed suit claiming that Congress “overstepped its authority, undermined states’ efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people.”
U.S. v. Windsor and Windsor v. U.S.—After a 44-year life together, the federal government refused to recognize Edith Windsor’s marriage, and after her spouse Thea Spyer died, taxed Windsor’s inheritance as though the couple were strangers. Under federal tax law, a spouse who dies can leave her assets, including the family home, to the other spouse without incurring estate taxes.
Office of Personnel Management (OPM) v. Golinski and OPM v. Pedersen—Karen Golinski, a federal court employee, sought to add her spouse to her employer-provided health benefits plan after they were married in California in 2008. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM), refused to allow Golinski to enroll her spouse for health coverage, arguing that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevented OPM from recognizing Golinski’s marriage.
Joanne Pedersen is a federal retiree who cannot cover her partner, on her health insurance plan—as other federal employees and retirees can.
Brewer v. Diaz—Arizona state provides health care benefits to its employees and their dependents. In 2008, a state regulation expanded the definition of “eligible dependent” to include a “domestic partner,” defined as a “person of the same or opposite gender” who had lived with the employee for at least a year before applying for benefits, was financially interdependent with the employee and met other qualifications. It also amended the definition of “child” to include a domestic partner’s child. In 2009, the legislature passed a law redefining which state employees’ dependents could receive benefits and limiting them to spouses and children. The law was challenged as discriminating against gay and lesbian employees.
Hollingsworth v. Perry—The appeal by proponents of California’s Proposition 8, which prohibits same-sex couples from marrying in that state. The Ninth Circuit ruled that Prop. 8 violated the Constitution because once the right to marry had been given to same-sex couples, as it had been given, the right could not be withdrawn.