The latest session of the Supreme Court may have ended several weeks ago, but there have still been some recent developments on cases of BBA interest, namely marriage equality and the use of affirmative-action measures in higher education.
The BBA has long been a supporter of marriage equality both in the Commonwealth and federally, filing amicus briefs in its defense in 2002, 2005,2011, and most recently in 2013 in the Supreme Court cases U.S. v. Windsor andHollingsworth v. Perry. Windsor challenged Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman, while Perry challenged California’s Proposition 8, a gay-marriage ban approved by a 2008 ballot initiative. Our brief for these two cases argued that sexual-orientation classifications warrant heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause. We were pleased that the Supreme Court’s ruling affirmed that all married couples deserve equal treatment from the federal government.
The Supreme Court’s opinion may be sought again, this time in a case from the Fourth Circuit striking down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage as well as a similar case from Utah. The Virginia case concerns both a state’s power to forbid same-sex marriage within its boundaries and its power to decide whether to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states. These are just two cases in what has been, by one count, a string of 35 consecutive state and federal rulings on the side of same-sex marriage in the 14 months following the Supreme Court ruling. Read the full story at Issue Spot.