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Gay marriage

DOMA ruling comes just in time for NYC’s Gay Pride Week

The  Supreme Court will take up gay marriage cases, including California’s ban on same-sex unions.

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TRENTON, N.J. (PIX11) – A New Jersey judge who ruled that the state must allow same-sex marriage has denied Governor Christie’s request to delay the ruling’s start date.

Currently, only civil unions are allowed in the state, but Judge Mary Jacobson ruled at the end of September that barring marriage rights to same sex couple was unconstitutional.  Jacobson chose Oct. 21 as the day the state must open marriage to gay couples.

Gov. Christie, who vetoed a similar bill last year, is expected to take his appeal to a higher court.

BRONX (PIX11) -  The NYPD’s hate crime unit is now investigating a possible hate crime caught on camera after Sunday’s Pride Parade.

After celebrating a landmark Supreme Court decision at NYC’s Pride festivities, a group of LGBT youth were allegedly harassed and two women physically assaulted in an altercation on a subway car.

According to the person that uploaded it, the altercation took place on a Queens-bound F train at 11:45 p.m.

While it is unclear what preceded cell-phone video of the incident, one of the men can be heard making sexual, aggressive comments to the group.  The comments escalate to physical violence after the men notice the woman filming.

The man in a light blue shirt with glasses can be seen trying to snatch the phone out of her hand.

Be advised the video below contains graphic language.

After arguing with a second woman on the train, the same man can be seen wrapping his hand around her neck.

Police told PIX11 that a formal complaint is on file and is being investigated by the Hate Crimes Task Force unit.

The following is her account of that night (see video below):

On Sunday, June 30th at around 11:45 PM, I was riding home on the Queens-bound F train following a day of LGBT Pride festivities. Two men were loudly making homophobic comments, such as “Today was a scary day for me. There were fags everywhere.” When a group of queer youth got on the train, the men proceeded to harass them, stating that the teens made them want to puke and that they would be killed if they were in Iran. The first assailant then threatened to rape them, at which point I took out my phone to document the incident.

Seeing that he was being recorded, the first assailant lunged at me, violently grabbing my arms while trying to steal away my phone. One of the youth took the phone from me temporarily to protect it and told the assailant he shouldn’t attack a woman. When the assailant threatened to punch me, I took the phone back and ran to the other side of the train to push the emergency button and alert the authorities. At this point the second assailant got up and came towards me, grabbing my body and hands to try and get the phone to destroy the evidence. I yelled and told him I was an attorney. An onlooker then got up and stood between the assailants and myself, and another person left to get the train conductor.

A group of people had gathered to stand up to the gay bashers. During this, the second assailant put his hand around the neck of a young queer woman. When the doors opened up at the Roosevelt Ave stop, both assailants fled. I followed them to the station exit while calling 911. One witness had overheard them saying they were on route to Jamaica; they’re likely commuters who regularly take this route.

I uploaded the video to YouTube to see if anyone can identify these men. I was left with bruises and scratches from both assailants which I also documented. If anyone sees them or knows them personally, please contact the authorities. This was a hate crime.

NEW YORKER (PIX11) - It’s only been three days since the U.S. Supreme Court reached a new milestone for gay rights, when the federal government announced that it would now recognize same-sex marriages in states where it has been legal.

Since then, there has been an outbreak of support and euphoria throughout the country.

The New Yorker encapsulated the feeling in their next cover, with a private moment between Bert and Ernie from the children’s show ‘Sesame Street’ — two best friends who live together and have long been the rumored to be a gay couple.

Bert and Ernie

The cover, created by Jack Hunter, depicts Bert and Ernie cuddling together on a sofa watching television. The image on the screen is none other than the Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of gay rights on Wednesday.

The Daily Beast reported, which some would be shocked to learn, “the cover was actually created last year for a competition, but with President Obama on the TV set instead of the Supreme Court and timed to the president’s statements on his evolving views on gay marriage.”

“It’s amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime,” said Hunter, who named the piece, “Moment of Joy.” This is great for our kids, a moment we can all celebrate.”

This may be the reason why the cover has become so powerful. Bert and Ernie have been around for a lifetime, and many of the activists fighting for gay rights have grown up with the two best friends, making the photo both sentimental and relatable. Many say that the New Yorker cover sums up their arguement perfectly, “love is love”.

While some find it comforting to pretend that the two puppets are romantically linked, some disagree, saying that the sexual orientation of the puppets has never been officially announced by Sesame Street.

In fact, in 2011 the Sesame Street Workshop posted on their facebook page:

“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

Sesame Street has not yet commented on the New Yorker cover.

“I think it’s going to be good,” said Edie Windsor.

83-year-old Edie Windsor of New York City is suing the United States. Windsor is challenging the Defense of Marriage Act that prevents same-sex married couples from receiving federal financial benefits. A case that is helping to re-ignite a movement for same sex marriage. Edie was billed for estate taxes when her wife Thea Spyer passed away.

In court, justices seemed skeptical of the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA.

On the same day, here in New York City, Bronx Borough President Reuben Diaz, Jr. decided to come out in support of same sex marriage. He voted against it in 2007.

Doma

83 year-old Edie Windsor of New York City is suing the United States. Windsor is challenging the Defense of Marriage Act that prevents same-sex married couples from receiving federal financial benefits.

His father State Senator Reuben Diaz voted against same sex marriage in New York on the day it became legal.

On NBC’s “The Today Show”, anchor Jenna Wolf announced she’s expecting a baby with fiance NBC’s Stephanie Gosk.
The couple also gave an interview to People Magazine.

Supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act said in court that it protects the institution of marriage.

Windsor admitted that just a few years ago, she never would have spoken about her sexuality, now she’s standing on the steps of the Supreme Court.

The decisions on the Same Sex marriage cases may not come down for several months. The Court heard challenges to Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

At a seder in Brooklyn,  on the minds of at least one dinner group, the same sex marriage debate heating up down in Washington. For Jay Michaelson and his husband Paul Daken it means everything.

Jay and Paul married when same sex marriage became legal in New York State, but their marriage isn’t recognized federally meaning they don’t receive federal benefits. A challenge to that law, the defense of marriage act, or DOMA is one of the two cases going before the Supreme Court.

The shouts are growing louder in Washington D.C. on both sides of the debate as the Supreme Court hears both  cases on same sex marriage.

The first arguments for Proposition 8, a law that bans same sex marriage in California  were heard Tuesday morning.

Michelson is an author, and the executive director of a national LGBT Jewish Community, Nehirim. 

He and his husband are watching and hoping the court rules in favor of change. 

KANSAS (PIX11) - A controversial child support case involving a lesbian couple, their sperm donor and the state of Kansas is making global headlines.

The state is demanding the biological father pay child support.

But the mother says she never wanted this to happen to the sperm donor — and she believes this wouldn’t be an issue if same-sex couples had the same rights as heterosexual couples.

ktla

The Supreme Court will likely hear the cases next year. (Photo via KTLA)

(LOS ANGELES TIMES) The Supreme Court announced Friday it will rule for the first time on same-sex marriage by deciding the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, the voter initiative that limited marriage to a man and a woman.

The justices also said they would decide whether legally married gay couples have a right to equal benefits under federal law.

The California case raises the broad question of whether gays and lesbians have an equal right to marry.

If the justices had turned down the appeal from the defenders of Prop. 8, it would have allowed gay marriages to resume in California, but without setting a national precedent.

Now, the high court has agreed to decide whether a state’s ban on same-sex marriages violates the U.S. Constitution. The court’s intervention came just one month after voters in three states—Maine, Maryland and Washington—approved gay marriages. This brought the total to nine states having legalized same-sex marriages.

But the justices also left themselves a way out. They said they would consider whether the defenders of Prop. 8 had legal standing to bring their appeal.

The justices made the announcement after meeting behind closed doors. They did not say which justices voted to hear the appeals.

Last year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Prop. 8, but it did so on a narrow basis. Judge Stephen Reinhardt reasoned that the voter initiative was unconstitutional because it took away from gays and lesbians a right to marry that they won before the state supreme court.

The justices now will have at least three options before them. First, they could reverse the 9th Circuit and uphold Prop. 8, thereby making clear that the definition of marriage will be left to the discretion of each state and its voters.

They could rule broadly that denying gays and lesbians the fundamental right to marry violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws. Such a decision would open the door to gay marriages nationwide.

Or as a third option, they could follow the approach set by the 9th Circuit and strike down Prop. 8 in a way that limits the ruling to California only.

In the other gay-marriage cases, the court will decide the constitutionality of part of the Defense of Marriage Act which denies federal benefits to legally married couples. Judges in New England, New York and California have ruled this provision unconstitutional.

The justices are expected to hear arguments in the two sets of gay marriage cases in March and issue decisions by late June.

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