Supreme Court Hands Down Marriage Decision
Faculty and students weigh in on the Supreme Court's decisions and same-sex marriage
The Supreme Court ruled that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples in a 5-4 vote on Wednesday, June 26. The court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married same-sex couples from receiving the range of tax, health and retirement benefits available to opposite-sex couples. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. "Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways," Kennedy said.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented, saying the court did not have jurisdiction. Chief Justice Roberts' dissent also remarked: "The Court does not have before it, and the logic of its opinion does not decide, the distinct question whether the States . . . may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage."
In Perry vs. Hollingsworth, the court ruled that the petitioners did not have standing to appeal the district court order. This vacates the Ninth Circuit's decision, presumably meaning that same-sex marriage can resume in California. Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion, saying, "We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend a state statute when state officials have chosen not to."
What does this mean? See BU Today's Q&A with Professor Linda McClain.
>Defending Marriage for All: Family Law Professor’s Work Contributes to Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages
Widely recognized for her work on gender, family care and household labor, Family Law Professor Katharine B. Silbaugh also is a pioneer in the legal debate about same-sex marriage. Engaging in the issue both in the classroom and in the courts, she’s been advocating the legal recognition of same-sex marriages for more than a decade. >>Full story
>Professor Voices: Linda McClain Discusses the SCOTUS Hearings and Contrasting Models of Parenthood
Family law and policy expert Professor Linda McClain weighs in on California’s ban on gay marriage and the recent Supreme Court hearing on the Professor Voices blog. >>More
FamilyScholars.org hosts an online symposium engaging the themes in Linda McClain's book What is Parenthood?, in which she discusses the evolving boundaries of the family. >>More
>BU Law Viewfinder: Same-Sex Marriage
In this edition of Viewfinder, we asked BU Law students for their opinion: Should same-sex marriage be legalized? >>Video
>Brian Bulduzzi ('13) Brings Perry vs. Schwarzenegger-Based Play to BU Law
in the fall, BU Law student Brian Bulduzzi ('13) organized a reading of 8 the Play, a drama based off of the transcripts of the federal court case Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which struck down California’s Proposition 8, declaring unconstitutional an amendment to restrict marriage to opposite-sex couples. Professors, students and members of the community made up the cast, and local attorneys and BU Law professors hosted a talk-back after the performance. >>Full story
>Faculty Brown Bag Lunch Talk: The Final Round: DOMA and Prop 8 at the Supreme Court
Featuring: Professors Linda McClain, Katharine Silbaugh, James Fleming and Robert Volk
>From the Faculty Bookshelf
The battle over same-sex marriage is one of many current controversies authors James Fleming and Linda McClain use to defend their understanding of the relationship among rights, responsibilities and virtues. Against accusations that same-sex marriage severs the rights of marriage from responsible sexuality, procreation and parenthood, they argue that same-sex couples seek the same rights, responsibilities and goods of civil marriage that opposite-sex couples pursue. Securing their right to marry respects individual autonomy while also promoting moral goods and virtues. Other issues to which they apply their idea of civic liberalism include reproductive freedom, the proper roles and regulation of civil society and the family, the education of children, and clashes between First Amendment freedoms (of association and religion) and antidiscrimination law. Articulating common ground between liberalism and its critics, Fleming and McClain develop an account of responsibilities and virtues that appreciates the value of diversity in our morally pluralistic constitutional democracy.
What is Parenthood? Contemporary Debates about the Family
Edited by Linda McClain (with Daniel Cere)
New York: New York University Press, 2013
Extraordinary changes in patterns of family life—and family law—have dramatically altered the boundaries of parenthood and opened up numerous questions and debates. What is parenthood and why does it matter? How should society define, regulate and support it? Is parenthood separable from marriage—or couplehood—when society seeks to foster children’s well-being? What is the better model of parenthood from the perspective of child outcomes? Intense disagreements over the definition and future of marriage often rest upon conflicting convictions about parenthood. What Is Parenthood? asks bold and direct questions about parenthood in contemporary society, and it brings together a stellar interdisciplinary group of scholars with widely varying perspectives to investigate them. Editors Linda C. McClain and Daniel Cere facilitate a dynamic conversation between scholars from several disciplines about competing models of parenthood and a sweeping array of topics, including single parenthood, adoption, donor-created families, gay and lesbian parents, transnational parenthood, parent-child attachment, and gender difference and parenthood.
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