June is looking to be a great Pride Month in Illinois. Aside from the
first civil union ceremonies at the start of the month and the much
anticipated Pride Parade this coming weekend, there’s even more good news for
gay rights advocates.
The U.S. Bankruptcy court in Los Angeles sided with a gay couple from San Francisco seeking to file bankruptcy together as a married couple -- marking last week's decision as the 21st time a federal court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional.
In the San Francisco case, 20 of the 24 judges agreed to what has always been known: marriage is defined state to state. DOMA prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, but U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Donovan said in his ruling last week that there is "no valid governmental basis for DOMA." Equality Illinois’ CEO Bernard Cherkasov said the large number of judges signing on to Donovan’s ruling, along with the equally large number of similar rulings striking down DOMA means only this: “All the signs are pointing toward the fact that eventually DOMA is not gonna be the law of the land.”
In fact, the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R.1116 and S.598) has some of the strongest support of any piece of legislation in Washington right now. The House version has 115 co-sponsors, while the Senate version has 25. The same bill was introduced last year in the House but was stalled and Cherkasov said this session’s Republican leadership may again block a vote. The bill would repeal DOMA but not require states to recognize same-sex marriages.