From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/us/supreme-court-agrees-to-hear-two-cases-on-gay-marriage.html?hp
By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: December 7, 2012
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would enter the national debate over same-sex marriage, agreeing to hear a pair of cases challenging state and federal laws that define marriage to include only unions of a man and a woman.
One of the cases, from California, could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The justices could also rule on narrower grounds that would apply only to marriages in California.
The second case, from New York, challenges a federal law that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow such unions.
The court’s move comes against the backdrop of a rapid shift in public attitudes about same-sex marriage, with recent polls indicating that a majority of Americans support allowing such unions. After the elections last month, the number of states authorizing same-sex marriage increased by half, to nine.
The court’s docket is now crowded with cases about the meaning of equality, with the new cases joining ones on affirmative action in higher education and on the future of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Decisions in all of the cases are expected by June.
The new California case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144, was filed in 2009 by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, two lawyers who were on opposite sides in the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore, which settled the 2000 presidential election. The suit argued that California voters had violated the federal Constitution the previous year when they overrode a decision of the state’s Supreme Court allowing same-sex marriages.
A federal judge in San Francisco agreed, issuing a broad decision that said the Constitution required the state to allow same-sex couples to marry. The decision has been stayed.
A divided three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, also in San Francisco, affirmed the decision. But the majority relied on narrower grounds that seemed calculated to avoid Supreme Court review or, at least, attract the vote of the presumed swing member of that court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
by David Badash
on December 7, 2012
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today released the following statement in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Prop 8 and a DOMA marriage equality case:
“Today’s decision to hear these two cases on same-sex marriage in the nation’s highest court is truly historic. Already, first and second circuit federal appeals courts have deemed DOMA unconstitutional, and I am pleased the Supreme Court will soon have its voice heard on this important issue. Regardless of the Court’s ultimate decision, Congress will need to do its job too. It is well past time for the federal government to recognize the marriages of all loving and committed couples and finally put the discriminatory DOMA policy into the dustbin of history.”
BY Julie Bolcer
December 07 2012
The moment activists have long awaited arrived today as the Supreme Court announced it will hear a range of cases on same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court indicated that it will hear the challenge to the California marriage ban, called Proposition 8, and another by an elderly lesbian widow, Edith Windsor, against the Defense of Marriage Act.
The high court shared its plan in orders released Friday afternoon, SCOTUSblog reports. The Prop. 8 case challenges the California ballot initiative that overturned marriage equality in 2008, while the DOMA challenge concerns Windsor, an 83-year-old from New York who was forced to pay more than $360,000 in estate taxes because the federal government did not recognize her marriage to her late spouse, Thea Spyer.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals decided for Windsor in October, but she had already made an appeal to the Supreme Court asking for urgency while citing her advanced age and declining health.
“When Thea and I met nearly 50 years ago, we never could have dreamed that the story of our life together would be before the Supreme Court as an example of why gay married couples should be treated equally, and not like second-class citizens,” said Windsor in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing her. “While Thea is no longer alive, I know how proud she would have been to see this day. The truth is, I never expected any less from my country.”
The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in March and issue a decision by the end of its term in June 2013.
Word of the orders follows weeks of anticipation and two private conferences by the nine justices. The court had been asked to hear 11 petitions related to marriage equality, including cases about Proposition 8, same-sex domestic partnerships in Arizona, the Nevada constitutional ban, and eight challenges to DOMA. The cases challenge the constitutionality of section 3 of the 1996 law, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
By Alexis Kleinman
Around Christmas eyes turn to toys, and it’s hard to buck tradition: Boys get cars and tools and girls get dolls and cupcake stuff.
One precocious 13-year-old girl is trying to change all that, petitioning Hasbro to put an image of a boy on its Easy-Bake Oven box.
McKenna Pope of Garfield, N.J. has more than 17,000 signatures on on Change.org petition. Pope was inspired by her little brother’s love of cooking to start the petition, and writes: “I want my brother to know that it’s not ‘wrong’ for him to want to be a chef, that it’s okay to go against what society believes to be appropriate.” (She makes her case in this adorable video.)
While Pope is definitely right that young girls are encouraged to cook much more than boys, women are seriously outnumbered by men in the cooking world and female chefs make around 24 percent less than male chefs.
In her video, Pope says: “We continue to force this stereotype that men don’t cook, they work. Please, sign this petition and join me in my fight to create gender equality in our products and in our youth.”
My little brother has always loved cooking. Being in the kitchen is his favorite out of school activity, and he yearns to have the opportunity to cook on his own, or at least with limited help.
Imagine my surprise when I walked into his room to find him “cooking” tortillas by placing them on top of his lamp’s light bulb! Obviously, this is not a very safe way for him to be a chef, so when he asked Santa for his very own Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, produced by the Hasbro company, for me to help him be the cook he’s always wanted to be, my parents and I were immediately convinced it was the truly perfect present.
However, we soon found it quite appalling that boys are not featured in packaging or promotional materials for Easy Bake Ovens — this toy my brother’s always dreamed about. And the oven comes in gender-specific hues: purple and pink.
I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work.
I have always been adamantly against anything that promotes specific roles in society for men and women, and having grown up with toys produced by the Hasbro corporation, it truly saddens me that such a successful business would resort to conforming to society’s views on what boys do and what girls do.
I want my brother to know that it’s not “wrong” for him to want to be a chef, that it’s okay to go against what society believes to be appropriate. There are, as a matter of fact, a multitude of very talented and successful male culinary geniuses, i.e. Emeril, Gordon Ramsey, etc. Unfortunately, Hasbro has made going against the societal norm that girls are the ones in the kitchen even more difficult.
Please join me to ask Hasbro to feature males on the packaging and in promotional materials for the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, as well as offering the product in different, non gender specific colors, i.e. primary colors. Please, sign this petition, help me in creating gender equality, and help the children of today become what they’re destined to be tomorrow.
Abbie E. Goldberg
In today’s society, parents and educators are increasingly realizing the benefits of playing with all kinds of toys. That is, a preschool-aged boy who happily investigates a toy kitchen is less likely to be chastised by his teacher or parents than in decades past. Likewise, a preschool-aged girl who plays intently with a toy truck is less likely to be scolded or redirected to playing with a doll. Of course, some parents still feel uncomfortable with their children’s gender nonconformity — particularly their sons’. A boy snuggling with a doll is not universally accepted as a sign of healthy development, and may create anxiety for some parents.
Yet, still, gender norms and roles for boys and girls, and for men and women, have become increasingly less rigid. Related to this, there is an increasing understanding that restricting the types of toys that children play with may limit their ability to develop skills and interests, and also to develop into well-rounded human beings.
In a recent investigation of preschool-aged children of first-time adoptive parents (44 lesbian- parent families, 34 gay-parent families, and 48 heterosexual-parent families), my colleagues and I found that the children of same-gender parents were less gender stereotyped (more flexible) in their play behavior than the children of heterosexual parents. So, the play behavior of boys and girls raised by lesbian parents and gay male parents was less gender-typed than the play behavior of boys and girls raised by heterosexual parents: they played with a more even “mix” or balance of “feminine-typed” toys and activities (dolls, dress up) and “masculine-typed” toys and activities (trucks, sports). Further, I found that the sons of lesbian mothers engaged in slightly less stereotypically masculine play behavior (e.g., trucks, sports, guns) than sons of gay fathers and heterosexual parents.
What does this mean, and why does it matter? First, it suggests that same-sex parents may facilitate their children’s exploration of a wider range of toys and activities, by creating an environment where their sons and daughters have greater access to, and are unlikely to be chastised for playing with, toys that are stereotypically “girl toys” and “boy toys” respectively. Heterosexual parents, in contrast, may tend to create an environment that is somewhat more discouraging of gender-atypical behavior and interests, possibly because such behavior — particularly among boys — is sometimes seen as a precursor or indication of homosexuality. Such concerns, though, may keep them from embracing their children’s full range of interests, or supporting their children in developing a wide range of skills and abilities.