Today was a momentous day, so I’m not doing anything fancy. I’m just dressed like I normally dress in real life (and in SL), and I’m just sitting in my own little skybox. And I’m going to get a little serious.
Today, a lot of important things happened. First, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Congress informing them that President Obama has determined that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Therefore, the Department of Justice will no longer be defending the constitutionality of DOMA (but the DoJ will still enforce DOMA while it is still law).
What does this mean? There are currently two cases challenging DOMA. The DoJ will still remain a party to those lawsuits, and it will still defend them . . . it just won’t argue the constitutional issue. And, at the very least, this means that DOMA is on its way out through the judicial process.
Why is this happening now? Good question. The DoJ has defended DOMA since Obama was elected, sometimes to the point of being offensive. However, in the past, it was defending DOMA in jurisdictions where courts had already decided on a level of scrutiny for classifications based on sexual orientation. These two lawsuits that now challenge DOMA are in jurisdictions that had not yet made that determination. It would have been up to the DoJ to argue that sexual orientation should receive rational basis scrutiny . . . and when the chips came down, Attorney General Holder and President Obama agreed that no, it should get heightened scrutiny (the difference between rational basis scrutiny and heightened scrutiny is probably more than I should go into on a Second Life blog — suffice it to say that laws that discriminate on the basis of profession get rational basis; laws that discriminate on the basis of race get heightened scrutiny. Heightened scrutiny is way better).
Subsequently, Senator Dianne Feinstein announced her intention to introduce a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Now that the DoJ has stopped defending the constitutionality of DOMA, repealing it will actually be fairly easy. On the one hand, I want to cheer: ding dong, the witch is dead! Goodbye, DOMA! On the other hand, I am disgusted. There is no reason why anyone had to wait for the DoJ’s decision to try to repeal DOMA. We could have gotten rid of this blight years ago. Regardless, DOMA may be on its way out through legislative repeal . . . finally.
Finally, Ted Olsen and David Boies sent a motion to the Ninth Circuit today asking it to vacate the stay it placed on same-sex marriage in California. Last year, the Northern District of California ruled that Prop 8 was unconstitutional and held that same-sex couples had the same rights as opposite-sex couples. Proponents of Prop 8 appealed to the Ninth Circuit, and the Ninth Circuit expedited the case and issued a stay pending appeal — in other words, the Ninth Circuit put a hold on the Northern District’s ruling until it could look at the case, but promised to resolve it quickly. Then the Ninth Circuit got all tangled up in questions of standing, and now we won’t have a resolution for at least another year. Because of the unreasonable delay, the lawyers leading the charge against Prop 8 have asked the Ninth Circuit to lift the stay and allow people to get married.
So . . . that was today. We’re seeing the end of DOMA, whether it will be through the judicial process or through legislative repeal. We will probably see marriages resume in California, and I really believe we’re well on the way to seeing marriage in all of the Ninth Circuit. And once DOMA is gone, marriages performed in any state must be recognized in all states.
Today was a good day.
Hair: UncleWeb Studio by Din Raymaker
Sweater: Young Urban by Trevor Turner
Jeans: mon tissu by Anouk Spot
Feet: SLink by Siddean Munro
Pose: Olive Juice by IsabellaGrace Baroque