Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-11-19
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Richard Simmons; Anderson Cooper pranked; Hot in Cleveland ending Richard Simmons; Anderson Cooper pranked; Hot in Cleveland ending
Richard Simmons' spokesperson that although the exercise guru is "sad" that a ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Massachusetts takes on DOMA
by Chuck Colbert
2010-06-09

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


It was the same courtroom, the same judge, and a similar legal offensive against the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ) . And once again, an openly gay woman argued that Section 3 of that 1996 law, which defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman, be struck down as unconstitutional.

But this time in Boston, at the John Joseph Moakley Court U.S. Courthouse, it was the state of Massachusetts—not the eight plaintiff couples who challenged the law three weeks earlier—that brought the suit.

The commonwealth's complaint contends that DOMA infringes on Massachusetts sovereignty, trespassing on the state's ability to determine eligibility for issuing marriage licenses.

As is his custom, the Honorable Joseph L. Tauro greeted reporters and spectators, along with the two lead attorneys, Maura T. Healey for the state, and Christopher Hall for the federal government, with a hearty "good afternoon."

In the same breath, Tauro quipped about a missing lectern, saying it "keeps me on my toes, literally and figuratively." When Healey offered to return the lectern she had repositioned, Tauro declined and remained standing, as he did three weeks ago, for the entire ninety-minute hearing.

Once again Courtroom 22 filled to capacity, although not as many people turned out May 26 for oral arguments in this case, Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Health and Human Services, as the onlookers who showed up on May 6 for proceedings in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, the lawsuit argued before Tauro by legal icon Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

Fewer people in attendance enabled the gracious court clerk Zita Lovett to invite members of the media to work from inside the jury box. Sitting within eight feet of the two sides legal teams, nearly a dozen journalists, listened intently, eyewitnesses to legal history in the making.

It was a full-court press lead by attorney Healey, chief of the Massachusetts attorney general's civil rights division. Using precise words and notably strong language, she told the U.S. District Court judge that DOMA "forces Massachusetts to engage in a kind of invidious discrimination."

How? By denying same-sex married couples of the same benefits received by opposite-sex couples—or risk losing federal aid.

What's worse, DOMA is "animus-based national marriage law," said Healey. She contended that the law infringes on Massachusetts sovereign authority and "forces the state to discriminate against its own citizens."

Joining Healey's team offensive at the table were Jonathan Miller and Jessica Lindemann, two lawyers from the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley, who sat in the public section, along with other spectators, including an associate justice of the state's appeals court. Years ago, he also had served the AG's office.

And yet, two courtroom observers—a married gay male couple—had perhaps the most at stake with the lawsuit. They are Army veteran Darrel Hopkins, 65, and spouse Tom Casey Hopkins, 58, of Westminster. After 20 years of decorated military service in intelligence operations, the retired chief warrant officer went on to a second, 25-year career in civil service.

At stake now are a total of 45 years of retirement. "All of my benefits are being squashed by DOMA, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars a year," Hopkins explained outside the courtroom, ticking off some examples, including pension, health insurance, federal employee retirement system, survivor benefits program, and Veterans Administration. "You name it, [ nearly ] every aspect of my life . . . is controlled" by that law.

The married gay couple's deprivations are no hypothetical—telling points that attorney Healey, a skillful legal playmaker, repeatedly compiled.

Before law school, Healey played women's basketball for Harvard College. There, as point guard, she captioned the school to an Ivy League championship. Afterwards, Healey went on to play professional ball in Europe. She is a 2006 inductee into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

In action before the judge, attorney Healey—much like a basketball point guard driving the ball down court—explained how Massachusetts could lose millions in funding if it allows Vietnam War veteran Hopkins to be buried, along with his husband, in a state veterans' cemetery located in Winchendon, a request the state Department of Veterans' Services has already approved.

The federal government has "told us clearly and explicitly,'' said Healey, that DOMA forbids it.

For all his efforts, attorney Hall, arguing the government's case, just could not quite come up with a compelling rationale for the law—or for banning the burial.

Seeming perplexed, Tauro wondered out loud whether "perpetuating heterosexuality in graveyard" was a valid interest in defense of DOMA. The line drew a round of laughter from nearly everyone.

But at the end of oral arguments, DOMA remained laughing matter for Hopkins. "The hypocrisy of the federal government is appalling," said Darrel who voiced optimism about the outcome.

So did local gay-rights activist Jeff Ross. "I came because I care about the future of our community," he said. "I look forward one day to being a full citizen, equally enfranchised under the law."


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

U.S. Supreme Court clears way for SC same-sex marriage 2014-11-20
Federal judge: Montana's anti-equal marriage rule unconstitutional 2014-11-19
Marriage begins Thursday at noon in South Carolina 2014-11-19
Veteran killed; Perry disrupted; Collins honored 2014-11-19
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Veterans' marriage benefits 2014-11-18
Michigan says gay marriages void after appellate decision 2014-11-16
Court denies South Dakota's motion to dismiss marriage suit 2014-11-14
Lambda, ACLU ask Supreme Court to review Ohio marriage cases 2014-11-14
Federal Judge Strikes Down South Carolina Marriage Ban 2014-11-12
Marriage now allowed in Kansas; Elton's foundation's grants 2014-11-12
6th Circuit upholds marriage bans: Tenn., Ohio, Mich. and Ky. 2014-11-06
Lambda sues Social Security on behalf of gay Chicago widower 2014-11-06
Missouri marriage ban ruled unconstitutional 2014-11-06
Marriage Equality USA releases updated map 2014-11-05
Crafty Broads makes weddings manageable 2014-11-05
BOOK REVIEW The Marriage Act: The Risk I Took... 2014-11-05
Photo book documents 1980s same-sex couples 2014-11-05
Celebrations: Weddings 2014-11-05
Hazing conviction; Barney lauds Cruz; Windsor's request 2014-11-04
Federal judge affirms the freedom to marry in Kansas 2014-11-04
ELECTIONS 2014 Marriage equality: How they voted 2014-10-29
Melissa Etheridge: On marriage, performing 2014-10-29
Anti-gay group's Glenn Stanton talks bigotry, marriage 2014-10-29
Egalite Chicago forum on LGBT activism post marriage equality 2014-10-28
Fed govt to recognize same-sex married couples in six new states 2014-10-25
Oberweis: Would support federal marriage equality law 2014-10-23
Laramie Project; Boy George; Library exhibit on marriage 2014-10-22
District Court dismisses suit seeking marriage in Puerto Rico 2014-10-21
President Obama: Constitution guarantees right to marry 2014-10-21
Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton talks bigotry, marriage 2014-10-18
Federal judge rules for marriage equality in Wyoming 2014-10-17
Federal judge strikes down Arizona marriage ban 2014-10-17
Library exhibit: Gay cartoonist's view of same-sex marriage 2014-10-16
Task Force changes name; marriage news; Notre Dame 2014-10-14
HRC scores 113th Congress; Alaska marries; WH looks at AIDS, violence 2014-10-13
New studies estimate LGBT population, married couples 2014-10-13
Supreme Court: Stunning progress 2014-10-12
Federal judge affirms the freedom to marry in Alaska 2014-10-12
Federal district court in North Carolina strikes down ban 2014-10-09
West Va. AG concedes marriage ban unconstitutional 2014-10-09





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Federal judge: Montana's anti-equal marriage rule unconstitutional
 
TRAVEL Eureka Springs, Ark.: Living on mountain time
 
National Women's Hall of Fame hosts forum in Chicago
 
DISH: SAVOR Old Crow Smokehouse; Kokopelli
 
Leaving a legacy: Danny Kopelson reflects on Hall of Fame life
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.