November 26, 2009
Proposed Republican litmus test: support for DOMA is one of 10 most important policy priorities
Politico reports that the Republican National Committee is considering a list of 10 “key public policy positions for the 2010 election cycle that . . . some of the more orthodox conservative members of the committee believe candidates should adhere to in order to receive the RNC’s support." Among them is continued support for the "Defense of Marriage" Act.
November 23, 2009
Thanks to federal discrimination under DOMA, same-sex couples pay millions more in estate tax
Same-sex couples who are subject to the estate tax are assessed an average of $3.3 million more in taxes upon the death of a spouse than similarly-situated different-sexed married couples, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA Law School.
Because the federal "Defense of Marriage" Act prohibits the federal government from recognizing any same-sex marriages, even those lawfully performed by states such as Massachusetts and Iowa, lesbians and gay men are disadvantaged in their ability to pass on their wealth to their partners and children after their death, the study observes.
Balancing marriage equality and religious freedom in the nation's capital
Anticipating a vote soon in the Washington, DC, city council, a NYT editorial addresses the balance between marriage equality for same-sex couples and the concerns of the Catholic Church:
The pending bill appropriately exempts religious institutions from having to marry same-sex couples, promote same-sex marriage or rent church property to them for receptions or other affairs. But this bill rightly requires that employers providing spousal benefits to employees extend those same benefits to same-sex partners who marry.
This law, which deals in the civic institution of marriage and not religious doctrine, would cover Catholic Charities, an organization that receives public funds and that does extraordinary work feeding and housing the poor in Washington and elsewhere in the country.
The editorial goes on to criticize the archbishop of Washington for seeking additional special concessions for Catholic Charities and implicitly threatening to end "the decades-old partnership between the church and the city in the mission of caring for the needy." In a column in Sunday's Washington Post, the archbishop places the blame for the problem on the city itself: "Since Catholic Charities cannot comply with city mandates to recognize and promote same-sex marriages, the city would withhold contracts and licenses."
November 22, 2009
Fact checking a pastor's lies as marriage fight heats up in DC
In every state or community where same-sex marriage is on a legislative agenda, conservative religious leaders seek to poison the dialogue by spreading false information and appealing to ignorance, racial politics, and anti-gay resentment. It's happening now in Washington, DC. Jeff Krehely of the Center for American Progress debunks the campaign of disinformation being led by "Bishop" Harry Jackson, pastor of a church that is not actually located in DC, against a measure that would extend marriage equality in the nation's capital.