Monday, October 1, 2012
I previously blogged about the Supreme Court addressing same-sex marriage. Today is a good day to provide an update on this discussion because the first Monday in October is traditionally the day the U.S. Supreme Court begins its new term. Gay rights advocates are hoping this is the term in which the High Court will consider whether same-sex spouses should receive the same federal rights as heterosexual spouses. Currently, under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), same-sex spouses are denied access to each other's Social Security benefits, can't sponsor each other for citizenship and are not covered by the law that protects a spouse's right to a company-sponsored retirement account. Furthermore, they are not entitled to the privileges for spouses who inherit IRAs.
Gay advocates argue that DOMA is unconstitutional. On May 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit agreed when it ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional. Now, both sides are urging the court to take the Gill case and the Supreme Court's focus is likely to be whether it is unconstitutional to treat same-sex marriage differently from heterosexual marriage. They are not likely to rule on the question of whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry.
See Deborah L. Jacobs, High Court May Decide Same-Sex Marriage Case This Term, Forbes, Oct. 1, 2012.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.