Today the Department of Justice requested that the Supreme Court hear Lambda Legal’s challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act as well as the Gill v. OPM case, a unanimous ruling challenging DOMA.
DOJ is asking for the Supreme Court to take the case before the appeals court, which is supposed to hear arguments in September, gets to make a decision. DOJ stopped supporting DOMA in February 2011 after a determination from President Obama. Here’s their reasoning for filing the request:
Although the Executive Branch agrees with the district court’s determination in this case that Section 3 is unconstitutional, we respectfully seek this Court’s review so that the question may be authoritatively decided by this Court. As explained above, to ensure that the Judiciary is the final arbiter of Section 3’s constitutionality, the President has instructed Executive departments and agencies to continue to enforce Section 3 until there is a definitive judicial ruling that Section 3 is unconstitutional.
Basically, DOMA is unconstitutional, and we want the Supreme Court to just hurry up and say so. Let’s do this.
Trying not to get my hopes up but I cant help it!
A bill took effect in Massachusetts yesterday that will protect transgender people in the state from discrimination.
Gov. Deval Patrick signed the Transgender Equal Rights Bill into law seven months ago. Now that it has taken effect, trans individuals cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their gender identity. More details from the AP via the SF Gate:
The law adds gender identity to the state’s existing anti-discrimination laws as a protected category. Now, transgender Massachusetts residents will be protected against discrimination from employment, housing, public education as well as credit and lending.
Gender identity will also be added to the protected categories under the state’s hate crimes law.
Attorney General Martha Coakley called the law a “much needed update,” saying it will help ensure that transgender individuals feel secure at home, work and in their communities.
Woo! Go Massachusetts!
Yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act was huge - for LGBT people, too. This article will tell you why.
LGBT Americans “disproportionately lack affordable care,” according to this piece from the Advocate. The health care law from 2010 made huge improvements in matters pertaining to health care for LGBT people, like non-discrimination policies and an end to denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions like HIV.
Here are some reactions from a couple of major LGBT organizations:
“This ruling is a victory for millions of people - including LGBT people and our families - who don’t have access to adequate, affordable health care,” said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force executive director Rea Carey. “Health care reform is about revamping a severely broken system to help everyone get a fair shake when it comes to keeping themselves and their families healthy and out of harm’s way. It is about making sure everyone has access to affordable health care when faced with injury and illness. It is based on the premise that no one get hung out to dry - to literally die in some cases - because they were denied affordable health care in one of the richest countries in the world.”
“The Supreme Court’s decision means millions of Americans – including many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families – will be better served by our nation’s healthcare system,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “The Affordable Care Act addresses a number of the barriers LGBT people face in obtaining health insurance, from financial barriers to obtaining affordable coverage to discrimination by insurance carriers and health care providers. While there is a great deal more that must be done to ensure that the health needs of all LGBT people are fully met throughout the healthcare system, today’s decision is an important victory in the fight for healthcare equality.”
This decision was incredibly important for people all across the country, LGBT people included. Make sure to read up about why this matters so much to us.