Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Gay Lawyers Make DOMA History (Audio)

Produced by Charlotte Robinson

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson discusses with Lee Swislow, Executive Director of GLAD, the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the status of the lawsuit GLAD filed in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA. The suit was filed in March 2009 at the Massachusetts Federal District Court. According to Swislow, GLAD has had its first taste of victory against DOMA. One aspect of the original lawsuit was suing the State Department for refusing to allow Massachusetts legally married gay couples to change their name and marital status on their U.S. passports. This has been resolved and the State Department will now recognize gay marriages in states where they are legal when issuing passports as they do with heterosexual marriages. GLAD’s lawsuit will be amended to reflect this breakthrough placing more emphasis on how legally married gay couples are denied federal income tax credits, employment & retirement benefits, health insurance coverage & Social Security payments.
Recently Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government to seek federal marriage benefits for over 16,000 gay and lesbian couples who have legally married in Massachusetts since 2004. When asked how this will effect GLAD’s case Swislow said "it will make their case stronger." Both cases are being heard before the same federal judge and there's a possibility that these cases may be consolidated. When asked if the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will go before the Supreme Court Swislow said, “I certainly expect that ultimately this case will wind up in front of the Supreme Court. It’s a case of significant national importance.”
GLAD has been instrumental in bringing gay marriage to America, first in Massachusetts in 2004 and now totaling 5 New England States including Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Join them for their Summer Party in Provincetown, MA on July 25th.
For More Info & Tix: glad.org

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