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Thursday, March 28, 2013

  • "Skim-Milk Marriage": Justices Cast Doubt on DOMA in Case Brought by 83-Year-Old Lesbian Widow

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    Two days of historic Supreme Court arguments on the legality of same-sex marriage have concluded. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. DOMA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The lead plaintiff in the case is an 83-year-old lesbian named Edith Windsor. She sued the federal government after she was forced to pay additional estate taxes because it did not recognize her marriage to a woman. We air Windsor’s remarks outside the courtroom, along with excerpts of the oral arguments made before the court, and speak to Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry. [includes rush transcript]

  • Debate: Does Marriage Equality Reinforce a Conservative Institution or Support Social Change?

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    As the U.S. Supreme Court heard two major cases this week on marriage equality, we look at how the issue has divided some in the LGBT movement. Longtime activist and blogger Scot Nakagawa wrote a popular essay this week called "Why I Support Same Sex Marriage as a Civil Right, But Not as a Strategy to Achieve Structural Change." The article drew so much traffic that it crashed his server, twice. We speak to Nakagawa and Marc Solomon, national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, one of the leading campaigns to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. "The marriage issue, while very important and a step toward greater freedoms, is not the whole ball of wax, as there’s much more that we need to fight for. I think we recognize that most people in our society do not live in traditional nuclear family arrangements," Nakagawa says. "Most of us actually live outside of those arrangements and deserve to also have the protections of our government." Solomon, who attended Wednesday’s Supreme Court arguments, responds, "There’s a lot that you’re saying that I fully agree with, especially the idea that marriage for our LGBT community is not everything. And it’s an important milestone. ... I think the challenge is to use the power and the momentum that we’re building through the marriage fights to secure other gains." [includes rush transcript]

  • "Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement": Film Portrays Lesbian Couple Behind Defense of Marriage Case

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    The lead plaintiff in the Defense of Marriage Act case before the U.S. Supreme Court is an 83-year-old lesbian named Edith Windsor. She sued the federal government after she was forced to pay additional estate taxes because it did not recognize her marriage to a woman, Thea Spyer. Windsor and Spyer met in 1962, got engaged soon after, but did not marry until 2007, near the end of Spyer’s life. Their life story was captured in the award-winning documentary, "Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement," directed and produced by Susan Muska and Gréta Olafsdóttir. We air clips from the film. [includes rush transcript]

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