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The big national story of the week is the Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and it’s on all the front pages of newspapers and magazines. But The New Yorker took a different approach: they put Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street on the cover of next week’s issue, and made them look like a gay couple watching the decision.

Bert & Ernie’s relationship has been kind of a joke for years now, even though Sesame Street has said in the past “Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”

Now that the federal government is okay with same-sex marriage, it’s up to states to decide whether to legalize it.

One of the arguments against gay marriage is it destroys the institution of marriage. So the NBC station in Chicago wanted to know if divorce rates were higher in states that allowed same-sex marriage.

Turns out, they’re not. States where same-sex marriage is legal have a 20% lower divorce rate.


Landmark Decisions’ Impact on Gay Rights In Louisiana

Crowds gather on Jackson Square to celebrate the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions. They are two victories for same sex couples, yet here in Louisiana it’s bittersweet.

rallyShannon Powers has been married 37 years. She says, “We still don’t have equality here in Louisiana and it would be wonderful if we did. That would make it a fantastic day, but right now it’s bittersweet.”

Deb Guidry, Powers’ partner explains, “If I die tomorrow my social security benefits do not go to her. We put everything we had in our savings, in our 401k into our home to rebuild after Katrina so this city and this state could still move forward, and if I die tomorrow she will lose that house.”

Charlotte Klasson, President of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association, says gay couples will receive benefits as any married couple would, but not in Louisiana. As of now, the benefits would only be recognized in states that sanction same sex marriages.

“I think there’s a lot of grey areas they are going to have to work out,” says Klasson.

Despite the uncertainty same sex couples and supporters still cheer anticipating a trickledown effect eventually changing the lives those here.

“It’s a step in the right direction. A step forward!”

“We think this is one of the final steps in the house of cards to fall.”

“We can’t stop here, especially in the state of Louisiana. There’s more work to be done, a lot more work to be done.”

“I just never would have imagined ten years ago that we’d be at this point.”

Gregory Aymond, the Archbishop of the Catholic Church in New Orleans, says the Supreme Court’s decisions today are disappointing, but not surprising; he also says young people are “genuinely confused” about what marriage means and that parents should take a more active role in teaching their children.

There’s still a lot of debate over what will happen next in states that do not allow gays to marry. We asked some people in New Orleans what they thought about today’s marriage equality rulings.


Louisiana Effects: Defense of Marriage Act & Prop 8 decisions

Louisiana’s constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage will not be affected by the Supreme Court’s decisions about DOMA and Prop 8, at least, not for now, but many gay couples in Louisiana will now be able to get federal benefits that were previously given only to heterosexual married couples.

Vatican Lokey, who lives in Metairie with his same-sex partner of 21 years, gave a triumphant fist-pump when the decision was announced Wednesday morning.

The landmark Supreme Court ruling ends DOMA (the federal law that says gay couples that marry in states where it’s legal still cannot get official recognition).

Now, even those in the New Orleans gay community who go to another state to get married will still be able to file joint tax returns and have privileges like hospital visitation rights with their partners when they come back to Louisiana.

“I’m ecstatic that DOMA has finally been repealed,” Lokey said. “And the language that the justices used that DOMA was originally put in place to demean gay people and to reduce their equality in the eyes of so many people. It’s a strong ruling.”

But a second decision by the high court is more of a mixed bag.  In effect, the Supreme Court said it had no legal standing to decide the fate of California’s Prop 8, which bans gay marriage in that state.  That decision will have no real, immediate effect in Louisiana.

“It’s going to make it much more difficult for lawmakers who want to continue to enforce this type of discrimination,” Lokey believes. “It’s going to make it more difficult for them to push that type of legislation through.”

Some gay rights leaders expect a rush of Louisiana gay couples travelling to states that permit gay marriage, now that the high court has struck down the Defense Of Marriage Act.

News with a Twist

Busy week of historic rulings for the U.S. Supreme Court

It’s been a busy and historic week for the Supreme Court.  3 major decisions came down and all apparently in the name of equality.

First, the court ruled that the use of Affirmative Action in the admissions process at colleges and universities was legal, but made it harder for institutions to use such policies to achieve diversity.

Next, the Supreme Court effectively struck down the voting rights act of 1965, essentially saying that states – mainly in the south – no longer have to get approval from the Feds to change local election laws.  Texas for example, which was restricted from implementing a voter identification law, now has one.

And finally DOMA, or the Defense Of Marriage Act, was ruled unconstitutional.  This means the Supreme Court does not recognize that a marriage in the United States is strictly between a man and a woman.  It clearly opens the door for gay marriage.

These 3 rulings seemingly are working towards the same result: that all people are created equal.  The most qualified get into school no matter what color you might be.  It’s not the 1960′s anymore and blacks can and do vote and hold public office.  And gay folks can marry just like straight ones can.  It’s clearly been a busy and historic week for the Supreme Court.

(CNN) — The Supreme Court has dismissed a closely-watched appeal over same-sex marriage on jurisdictional grounds, ruling Wednesday private parties do not have “standing” to defend California’s voter-approved ballot measure barring gay and lesbians couples from state-sanctioned wedlock.

The ruling permits same-sex couples in California to legally marry.

You can read the Supreme Court’s full text of their decision on the Defense of Marriage Act: