UPDATE: Local reaction to SCOTUS gay marriage rulings

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 --- 7:15 p.m.

Madison -- Wednesday, was a morning filled with anxiety for Patrick Farabaugh. He spent most of it awaiting the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality.

"That's really hard, especially when your immediate and direct future is attached to what these people say," said Farabaugh. A small group, with a lot of power, and one that ruled in favor of same-sex couples. Wednesday's ruling now gives legally married gay Americans over 1,000 federal benefits impacting taxes, health, and pensions.

"You have lots of issues around equal access to health care, equal access to being able to make health decisions, equal access to survivor rights," said Farabaugh.

While the ruling may seem like a home-run for nearby states like Iowa, and Minnesota, that have legalized same-sex marriage, Wisconsin is not one reaping the benefits. Currently, Wisconsin bans both gay marriage, and civil unions. Giving Wednesday's ruling a little overall effect. But for Farabaugh, he says it remains an important day for the future of equal rights.

"Gay or straight, seeing that kind of impact it has on somebody. You're going to be touched by it," said Farabaugh.

As of Wednesday, there's still no word if federal benefits will be granted to same-sex couples who married outside of the state legally and moved.


UPDATED Wednesday, June 26, 2013 --- 2:16 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Civil liberties advocates say a U.S. Supreme Court decision granting benefits to same-sex couples could bolster arguments supporting Wisconsin's domestic partner registry.

The conservative group Wisconsin Family Action is challenging the registry in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, saying it violates Wisconsin's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday legally married gay Americans are eligible for federal tax, health and pension benefits. It also let stand a lower court finding that California's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.

Larry Dupuis is an attorney for the Wisconsin American Civil Liberties Union. He says the California decision is tailored to that state but the benefits ruling strengthens arguments for Wisconsin's registry.

Republicans say the rulings reaffirmed states' ability to set gay marriage policy as they wish.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


UPDATED Wednesday, June 26, 2013 --- 10:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gay rights advocates say a pair of U.S. Supreme Court rulings supporting same-sex marriage will have little effect in Wisconsin.

The court on Wednesday ruled that legally married gay Americans are eligible for federal tax, health and pension benefits. The court also decided to leave stand a lower court ruling that California's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The court didn't address the merits of the ban.

Wisconsin has a similar constitutional ban on gay marriage.

Chris Ahmuty is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Wisconsin chapter. He says the same-sex couples here likely won't be eligible for the federal benefits because the state doesn't recognize gay marriage. He says the California decision clears the way for gay marriage in that state but has no impact on Wisconsin.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


UPDATED Wednesday, June 26, 2013 --- 9:40 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California's gay marriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban.

The court's 5-4 vote Wednesday leaves in place the initial trial court declaration that the ban is unconstitutional. California officials probably will rely on that ruling to allow the resumption of same-sex unions in about a month's time.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


UPDATED Wednesday, June 26, 2013 --- 9:31 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Chanting "DOMA is Dead," supporters of same-sex marriage burst into cheers Wednesday at news of the Supreme Court's decision invalidating part of a law denying gay marriage partners the same federal benefits heterosexual couples enjoy.

Sarah Prager, 26, cried when she heard the news standing outside the court. Prager married her wife in Massachusetts in 2011 and now lives in Maryland.

"I'm in shock. I didn't expect DOMA to be struck down," she said through tears and shaking. Prager was referring to the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which was aimed at preserving the legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

A large crowd had thronged to the high court's plaza earlier to await not only the decision on DOMA, but also a ruling on whether a constitutional amendment in California prohibiting gay marriage could stand the test of challenge.

Most of the crowd that spilled across the sidewalk in front of the court were gay marriage supporters. One person held a rainbow flag and another wore a rainbow shawl, and a number of people carried signs with messages including "2 moms make a right" and "`I Do' Support Marriage Equality." Others wore T-shirts including "Legalize gay" and "It's time for marriage equality." At several points the crowd began a call and response: "What do we want? Equality. When do we want it? Now."

Larry Cirignano, 57, was in the minority with a sign supporting marriage only between a man and a woman. He said he drove four hours from Far Hills, N.J., because he believed all views should be represented. He said he hopes the court follows the lead of 38 states that have defined marriage as between one man and one woman

George Washington University student Philip Anderson, 20, came to the court with a closet door that towered above his head. He had painted it with a message opposing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman and which the court is considering. His door read: "This used to oppress me. Repeal DOMA; Now. No more shut doors."

Thirty-four-year-old Ian Holloway of Los Angeles got to the court around 7 a.m. to try to get a seat inside the courtroom. Holloway said he and his partner had planned to get married in March but when the justices decided to hear the case involving California's ban on gay marriage they pushed back their date.

He said, "We have rings ready. We're ready to go as soon as the decision comes down." Holloway said he was optimistic the justices would strike down Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press


Posted Wednesday, June 26, 2013 --- 9:14 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court says legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act Wednesday that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

Copyright 2013: Associated Press

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