The legislative assistant offices at the RAC have a strange feel to them today—all of the zany pictures and decorations adorning our desks have been removed, the usual desktop clutter has vanished and there is a strong scent of cleaning solution flowing through the air. After 50 weeks at the RAC, it’s our last day, and an opportunity for us to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve witnessed during our time here. Read more…
On Wednesday night at the ESPY Awards, Caitlyn Jenner accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, named after the African American tennis star who died of AIDS in 1993. In her moving speech, Caitlyn described the struggles trans people face, including bullying, suicide and even murder, and the importance of education and accepting trans people and their identities. Caitlyn’s speech highlighted several of the many issues that the LGBT community and their allies now have to address following the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.
The Supreme Court term that just came to an end was extremely significant, and not just because of the historic healthcare and marriage equality rulings. Throughout the term, we saw a number of important criminal justice cases argued and decided, and though some of them did not go the way we would have hoped, important questions were raised about the way that “justice” is carried out in our criminal justice system. Read more…
Today, the Supreme Court issued an historic 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in favor of marriage equality. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion strongly advocated for expanding freedom as the need arises.
The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning. When new insight reveals discord between the Constitution’s central protections and a received legal stricture, a claim to liberty must be addressed.
Earlier today, the Supreme Court issued a historic ruling in favor of marriage equality, which establishes marriage equality in all fifty states. As we celebrate this victory for equality and as LGBT Pride month comes to an end, here’s a look back at some of the LGBT milestones that occurred this month:
On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in King v. Burwell that the premium tax credits established by the Affordable Care Act should be available in all fifty states, regardless of whether the state established their own health care exchange or if it had been established by the federal government. The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer Sotomayor and Kagan; Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito dissented.
By the end of the month, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a historic ruling on marriage equality. The joint suit – known by the first listed case of the group Obergefell v. Hodges – could establish marriage equality in all fifty states and addresses two questions:
- Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples? And;
- Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed out of state?
The right to vote is the cornerstone of American democracy and our most basic civil right. As Reform Jews and American citizens who care about a variety of social justice issues, we must recognize that all of these issues are inextricably linked to the right to vote. This year is an especially important year to talk about voting rights: this past March marked 50 years since the voting rights marches in Selma, AL and this coming August will mark 50 years since the Voting Rights Act was signed into law. Read more…