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Gay Parents Press High Court on Adoption Rights

Womens eNews - Wed, 10 Aug 2011 23:45 GMT
Author: Womens eNews
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Potential Roadblock A potential roadblock is the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the federal law that defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. It can be used to block one state from recognizing a same-sex marriage from another state. President Barack Obama supports repealing DOMA. On July 20, the Senate held the first hearing on the Respect of Marriage Act, which would extend the same benefits and protections provided to heterosexual married couples to legally married same-sex couples. But that's on a parallel track for now. While the Lambda case concerns a same-sex couple's rights, its legal centerpiece--the full faith and credit constitutional argument--hasn't been used to press marriage equality on states that ban same-sex marriage. Lyle Denniston, advisor on constitutional literacy for the National Constitution Center based in Philadelphia, says that's partly because no one has yet tried. "The 40 states that have bans on gay marriage … are not likely to recognize another state's marriage law until someone brings a lawsuit claiming that the state is obligated under the full faith and credit law to honor that marriage," Denniston said in a phone interview. Denniston said gay rights advocates have not used the argument because it's high risk. A couple could easily lose if a state is being asked to accept a law that directly contradicts one of its own recently passed laws. "It's a question of whether a state should really be forced to," said Denniston. For now, same-sex advocates are focusing on September, when an appeal to Proposition 8, reaches the courts. That amendment, passed in the November 2008 state elections, overturned the California Supreme Court's ruling from June 2008 that same-sex couples had the constitutional right to marry. If sponsors succeed in their appeal, the case will go to the Ninth Circuit federal appeals court and potentially settle the issue of same-sex marriage on the national front. Would you like to Comment but not sure how? Visit our help page at Would you like to Send Along a Link of This Story? Krystie Lee Yandoli is a Women's eNews editorial intern. For more information: Lambda Legal: Background and Up-to-date Information on Prop 8: Marriage Equality USA Advocacy Group:

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