The road ahead for gay marriage, House Democrats work to fix Voting Rights Act, Sen. Hagan supports immigration reform, NC Dem lawmakers push McCrory on unemployment benefits
Politico: What DOMA ruling means for gay marriage
The Supreme Court just set a series of big changes in motion for same-sex couples in its decision Wednesday. They’ve won new rights that come with marriage, like inheritance rights and Social Security benefits. And they might be able to get health coverage through the workplace more easily. But they might have a bigger tax bite on the way, too — just like other married couples get to pay.
WRAL: High court ruling could affect NC same-sex marriage ban
Because state constitutions cannot allow something deemed unconstitutional at the federal level, Maxine Eichner said, gay marriage bans in North Carolina and elsewhere could be challenged. In the short run, Eichner said, the DOMA ruling allows same-sex couples in North Carolina who were receiving Social Security benefits in a state that recognized their marriage to once again receive them. Also, she said, a North Carolina resident can sponsor a same-sex spouse for citizenship if they were married in a state that recognized their union.
RealClearPolitics: Supreme Court Tips the Gay Marriage Scale
What will be the effects of the Supreme Court’s twin rulings on gay marriage? My first-blush take is that the rulings will have a modest effect on legal doctrine but a major effect on cultural momentum. The Supreme Court did two things today. First, it overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The federal government will now have to recognize states’ same-sex marriages–mine among them–as valid for federal purposes. But, second, the court declined to make same-sex marriage a federal constitutional right. It punted on that issue. As a result, gay marriage will go back into effect in California (after a four-year hiatus), but nothing will change in other states.
The Hill: Supreme Court decision triggers massive overhaul of regulations
Within hours of the ruling, President Obama directed Attorney General Eric Holder and other members of his Cabinet to begin poring over relevant federal statutes and regulations that might need to be adjusted in light of the 5-4 decision to strike down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). For gay-rights advocates, the ruling marks the beginning of an effort to pressure agencies to interpret the ruling broadly and incorporate new language into the hundreds of regulations that currently define marriage as between a man and woman.
Politico: Gay marriage may shrink deficit
The good news for the federal government: Same-sex marriage might actually be good for the deficit. The Supreme Court has made it easier for some same-sex couples to get Social Security benefits, but its spending won’t go up a lot. And everything else that happens to social programs cuts the other way — so the bottom line is that the deficit could actually go down a bit.
Wall Street Journal: Both Sides Gear Up for Further Battles at State Level
The Supreme Court’s decisions Wednesday offered neither side in the debate over same-sex marriage a sweeping resolution. With the justices’ ruling on the Proposition 8 gay-marriage ban concerning only California, the path forward nationally on the issue remains winding—and may eventually lead back to the Supreme Court.
TPM Livewire: Pelosi On Bachmann’s Reaction To DOMA Ruling: ‘Who Cares?’ (VIDEO)
After the ruling on the 1996 law, Bachmann responded by saying that no court "can undo what a holy God has instituted." But when asked about the statement at a press briefing, Pelosi threw her hands up, shook her head and made it clear that she didn’t much care about the Minnesota tea partier’s opinion. "Who cares?" Pelosi said, drawing laughter from her Democratic colleagues.
New York Times: The Long Road to Marriage Equality
Marriage equality was neither inevitable nor, until recently, even conceivable. And the struggle for it was not, as is commonly believed, a natural consequence of the gay liberation movement that gained steam in the late 1960s. It was the ’80s that changed things. The AIDS epidemic and what came to be known as the “lesbian baby boom” compelled even those couples whose friends and family fully embraced them to deal with powerful institutions — family and probate courts, hospitals, adoption agencies and funeral homes — that treated them as legal strangers.
The Atlantic: The Best Year Ever for Gay Rights in America
The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and declined to reinstate California’s Proposition 8. As a result, gay marriage will be legal in America’s most populous state, and gay couples legally married in their states will enjoy federal benefits such as joint tax filing and inheritance rights. "Our country’s movement on this issue has been nothing short of breathtaking," said Lanae Erickson Hatalsky of the center-left think tank Third Way, who compiled these statistics. "The country has come to realize that we should not stand in the way of couples who want to make that commitment [of marriage], and today’s decisions ensure that our laws reflect that principle."
VOTING RIGHTS ACT
The Hill: Lawmakers likely to push voting rights
House Democrats are eyeing legislation to overturn the court’s decision. The entire caucus met Wednesday afternoon with Department of Justice officials to discuss their options. Exiting that meeting, the lawmakers seemed to agree that the issue would be a party priority in the weeks and months to come. “It’s really a step backward, and it’s not a reflection of what’s really happening in our country in some of these places,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday of the ruling.
Huffington Post: John Boehner, Republicans Show No Signs Of Fixing Voting Rights Act
The Supreme Court left the fate of a key part of the Voting Rights Act in the hands of Congress on Tuesday, but GOP leaders on up to the most powerful Republican in the nation, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), don’t seem in much of a rush to take up that responsibility. The Republican diffidence was a stark contrast to the other side of the aisle in the House, where black leaders and others immediately called for a renewal of the standards. They pledged that they would force Congress to act.
The Hill: Rep. Jackson Lee looks to limit state redistricting after voting rights ruling
The bill would prevent any immediate redistricting decisions, and would only allow states to redistrict after the 10-year Census. The language would only apply to federal elections, not state and local elections. The prohibition on mid-decade redistricting, however, could be overturned by a court decision.
http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/307969-dems-look-to-limit-state-redistricting-after-supreme-court-ruling – ixzz2XLeTWflA
NBC: Congress not ‘mature enough’ to deal with Voting Rights Act decision
“This is not a welcome decision, by any means,” a senior White House official said in reaction to the decision. “But there is a theoretical path for Congress to update the statute in ways that would make it constitutional.” “As a practical matter, that may be difficult to do given political dynamics,” the official told NBC News.
Miami Herald: Sen. Hagan says immigration bill will help N.C. economy and she’ll vote for it
“I’m ready to support a common-sense bill that’s going to fix our broken immigration system so that everybody plays by the same rules today,” the first-term Democrat said. “After listening to a wide variety of stakeholders throughout North Carolina, it’s clear to me supporting bill is the right decision for North Carolina.”
RealClearPolitics: Senate Expected to Pass Immigration Bill as Early as Thursday
The Senate is on the cusp of approving historic immigration legislation offering citizenship to millions in the U.S. illegally and spending billions of dollars to secure the border. The vote on final passage of the White House-backed bill was expected as early as Thursday, after a series of test votes so far this week demonstrated supporters command a bipartisan majority well over the 60 votes needed to secure passage and send the bill to the House. First must come two more procedural tests set for Thursday.
The Daily Beast: Tea Party Patriots Vows Retaliation for Immigration-Reform Votes
The nation’s largest Tea Party group announced Tuesday morning that any Republican who votes in favor of immigration reform is in danger of facing a primary challenge in 2014. But the big question as the 2014 primary season approaches is whether the Tea Party still has the old firepower. Although the movement has sent a host of conservative Republicans to Congress, it did so mostly by defeating establishment Republicans for open seats in primaries, and in the process, handed a handful of victories to Democrats in seats that should have stayed in Republican hands.
National Journal: Senate Supermajority on Immigration Means Nothing in the House
The Senate is poised to pass comprehensive immigration reform this week with upwards of 70 votes, an impressive majority that sponsors of the legislation have long hoped will compel the GOP-controlled House to follow suit. Don’t count on it. This set of House Republicans has ignored supermajorities before, and is ready to do so again now.
The Hill: Senate group gets deal on student loans
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said the emerging deal would have undergraduates pay a loan rate equal to 1.85 percent above the 10-year Treasury rate, an agreement that would reflect a proposal included in President Obama’s budget plan. Burr negotiated the deal with Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Angus King (I-Maine), and said other Democrats could soon sign on.
News & Record: NC Dem lawmakers: keep jobless benefits for 170K
Some lawmakers in North Carolina’s General Assembly are criticizing decisions by the Republican-led legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory that will cut off federal unemployment benefits to about 70,000 people in a few days. State Democratic Party leaders said Wednesday they’re working to force a vote on legislation to postpone cuts to state unemployment benefits.
Winston-Salem Journal: NC House tentatively OK’s abortion education bill
A bill requiring North Carolina educators to teach that several risk factors, including abortions, can cause later premature births passed the first of two votes in the state House on Wednesday over lockstep Democratic opposition. Democrats and other opponents have argued that major health groups such as the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics have found no clear evidence linking abortion to later premature births. That’s led some to suggest the motive for the bill is political.
News & Record: Charlotte airport legislation delayed
Republican Rep. Bill Brawley of Matthews told The Charlotte Observer that his bill could be headed to a study committee, rather than final action on the House floor. Lawmakers are expected to end the legislative session next month, likely before a study committee could review the plan.
WRAL: McCrory won’t act to save jobless checks
"It doesn’t add to our debt under the unemployment trust fund. It doesn’t add to the amount we have to repay. It gives our economy some stimulus right now when it needs it. And it takes care of these families," said Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt. "It’s mothers and dads and children out here that, due to the economy that they did not create, they cannot get a job right now, and I’m calling on the governor to step in and do something about this." Democrats point out the benefits are 100 percent federally funded, and cutting them off will mean the loss of more than $500 million, most of it flowing into the state’s worst-hit economic areas.
Dome: McCrory dismisses concerns about event, says he’s doing everything right
The Republican executive said he is not concerned about the perception about paying for access or the timing of the event, which comes at the crux of the legislative session. The event is hosted by the Renew North Carolina Foundation, an organization created after his election and led by top McCrory allies whose mission is to boost the governor’s agenda.
Dome: State treasurer warns lawmakers pension fund needs more flexibility, or else
State Treasurer Janet Cowell is urging lawmakers to give her more flexibility to invest the state’s pension money, warning that it is “very unlikely” returns will meet projections without the change. In a recent letter to legislative leaders, Cowell said returns on the state’s $80 billion pension fund are in jeopardy because global stock markets are hitting an all-time high and bond returns are expected to fall. If the state doesn’t meet the 7.25 percent return rate, Cowell said the taxpayers may be on the hook to buttress the promised retirement benefits.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party