What Happens Now: 7 ways the SCOTUS rulings are seeing immediate impacts
June 27, 2013
The Respect for Marriage Act looks to finish the job on DOMA
Department of Justice looks to quickly implement DOMA ruling for federal programs
Yesterday, President Barack Obama told Attorney General Eric Holder that the DOMA ruling must be quickly implemented. The president asked Holder to "work with other cabinet members to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly." These statutes include tax and benefit programs - including Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, income taxes, federal pension benefits, and welfare programs. The Civil Division and Office of Legal Counsel will lead the charge in updated agencies and working to ensure that same-sex couples are protected.
Resources on navigating many of these programs can be found HERE.
Department of Defense moves to protect gay and lesbian servicemembers
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel applauded the Supreme Court ruling yesterday and explained some of the plans for its implementation with regard to U.S. servicemembers with same-sex spouses and military veterans.
He said, "Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment. All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country and their qualifications to do so. Today's ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve. ... The Department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court's decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses - regardless of sexual orientation - as soon as possible. That is now the law, and it is the right thing to do."
The Department of Defense has also issued a statement specifically on the process, discussing policies governing burial at Arlington National Cemetery, the issuance of military ID cards, and medical benefits. Read it HERE.
The protections and benefits that service members will begin receiving after implementation of the DOMA ruling are somewhat unclear - but they likely include additional allowances for family members and spouses, the ability to share health care, and access to military installations and facilities. Learn more about these protections and who will likely be eligible HERE.
Married binational same-sex couples see immediate effects of DOMA ruling
Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, pledged to ensure that the DOMA ruling is implemented so that all married couples - including same-sex couples - are treated fairly in immigration proceedings. Napolitano said, "This discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits. I am pleased the Court agreed with the administration's position that DOMA's restrictions violate the Constitution. Working with our federal partners, we will implement today's decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws."
Yesterday, we saw some more immediate impacts of the ruling. Just hours after the ruling came down, an immigration judge in New York City stopped the deportation proceedings of a Colombian man, Steven, legally married to an American man, Sean. For years, American citizens could not sponsor their same-sex spouses for a green card. The sole basis for denial by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was DOMA's Section 3.
Lavi Soloway, an attorney and co-founder of The DOMA Project, which works to stop the deporations of married binational same-sex couples, said, "The Supreme Court's ruling is the culmination of years of the tireless efforts of courageous and determined couples who stood up for the right to be together, and fought back against a government that sought to tear apart their families. We expect the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to begin approving green card petitions for married lesbian and gay couples immediately." (Photo by Joanna Chau)
Medical organizations work toward extending medical protections to married same-sex couples
Yesterday, many prominent medical organizations in the United States - including the American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) - celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling in the DOMA case and explained how it would positively impact the health of married same-sex couples. "The U.S. Supreme Court's rulings today will help eliminate health disparities in same-sex households by ensuring all households are afforded the same health care rights," AMA President Dr. Ardis D. Hoven told CBSNews.com. "Same-sex households will now be eligible to share the benefits of employer-based health insurance and the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of a spouse. This is a welcome step for improving health care access and delivery."
Now that DOMA has been struck down, non-federal employees and their same-sex spouses should also expect to be eligible for benefits from the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a spouse with a serious medical condition, or 26 weeks to care for an eligible servicemember spouse with a serious injury or illness. The Act also covers employees who need to take leave for the birth of a child or to care for a child with a serious health condition. Learn more about that HERE.
California prepares for the freedom to marry to be restored
In addition to seeing the beginning stages of the DOMA ruling being implemented, we're also seeing the first stages of the freedom to marry being restored for same-sex couples in California, the 13th state to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. California Governor Edmund Brown commented on the decision yesterday, saying, "After years of struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California. In light of the decision, I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state's counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted.
The governor has indicated that the California Department of Public Health will advise county clerks and county registrars that the decision applies statewide and must be followed. Couples will be able to marry when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirms that the stay of the injunction is lifted.
The ruling officially takes effect 25 days from yesterday, but it remains to be seen whether some counties will begin issuing marriage licenses before then.
37 states without the freedom to marry renew and strengthen marriage campaigns
Yesterday's ruling was historic and monumental - but it wasn't a sweeping decision to bring the freedom to marry to all fifty states in the country. In 37 states, same-sex couples cannot marry, and in 29 of them, the state constitutions include amendments that specifically restrict marriage - or, in the case of 20 states, any form of family status - to different-sex couples.
The next step is beginning to remove these constitutional amendments banning marriage and replacing it with the freedom to marry for all couples. In some states - New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii - we have the ability to win marriage for same-sex couples through the legislature, and attempts are underway in each state. We've already seen steps forward in Nevada - where the legislature took the first step toward repealing an anti-marriage amendment and replacing it with marriage - and Oregon - where advocates are working on a public education campaign in the lead-up to the November 2014 election, when they hope to pass marriage by a popular vote. Learn more about some of these steps ahead HERE.