Marriage is on the minds of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices these days. Last week, the court heard arguments in two high-profile cases that could change how states and the federal government define marriage. While the decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry will not directly affect same-sex couples in Illinois, the court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor could. Much, of course, depends on the state's recognition of same-sex marriage, a matter that is still pending in the General Assembly.
The First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has entered the ever-escalating battle that same-sex marriage has become. The court ruled this week that the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act does in fact discriminate against same-sex married couples. However, same-sex couples hoping for nationwide acceptance of their right to marry, to have children and even to divorce will have to wait a little bit longer: The court said DOMA will remain in full effect until the U.S. Supreme Court has reviewed the law.
We are continuing our discussion of the U.S. Supreme Court and same-sex marriage. The Illinois General Assembly is just one of many state legislatures grappling with the issue; several states are preparing for votes to approve constitutional amendments the define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Congressman Joe Walsh is again a source of controversy. Walsh is the freshman U.S. Representative from Illinois' 8th District who made headlines over the summer for failing to pay child support to his ex-wife. The 8th District includes parts of Lake, McHenry and Cook counties.
As Illinois nears the two-month mark under the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, other states have taken up the same-sex union debate. The argument has long simmered at the federal level, too, and a recently proposed Senate bill challenges the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) from a slightly different angle.