Tag Archives: scotus

Queens lawmakers celebrate Supreme Court same-sex marriage decision

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office


Updated 12:21 p.m.

Same-sex marriage is constitutional, according to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 5-4 decision issued Friday morning, the court overturned state-imposed bans on same-sex marriage. The court ruled that gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry under the 14th Amendment through the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses.

“The fundamental liberties” in the Due Process Clause “extend to certain personal choices central to individual dignity and autonomy, including intimate choices defining personal identity and beliefs,” according to the decision.

Queens lawmakers and gay rights advocates – including City Councilman Daniel Dromm – expressed delight in the decision in statements issued Friday morning.

“Marriage is finally equal,” said Dromm, who is one of Queens’ two openly gay City Council members. “No longer will there be gay marriage or heterosexual marriage – just marriage. As someone who has been in the gay rights movement for over 40 years, it is difficult to express my sentiments. I never thought I would live to see this day. God bless America.”

Dromm will join other Queens LGBTQ activists and supporters on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in front of the Jackson Heights Post Office, located at 78-02 37th Ave., to celebrate the Court’s decision.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who is the second openly gay Queens City Council member, released a statement Friday together with his husband, Dan Hendrick.

“Today’s Supreme Court Decision is a landmark ruling making marriage equality the law of the land. Make no mistake, this decision is historic and breathtaking in its recognition of the equality inherent in love,” Van Bramer said. “We have been moved to tears this morning, knowing that the pain and stigma of being unequal is lifted. Of knowing that our relationship and our love is recognized by our country and is just as valid, beautiful and equal as any other.”

“Thanks to today’s ruling, same-sex couples across the country will no longer be treated as second-class citizens when it comes to issues regarding the family,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said. “This is a great day for those who believe in the dignity of all people.”

“History will remember this day as a watershed moment, a day when ‘we the people’ took another major step toward justice in our enormous and enduring struggle to form a more perfect union,” said U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley.

“When we passed the Marriage Equality Act in 2011, New York sent a message to the nation that it was time to end one of society’s greatest inequities, and I am thrilled to see the court join us on the right side of history,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “Today, we are proud New Yorkers and proud Americans. Today, progress marches on.”

“One of my proudest moments as a legislator was my vote for marriage equality in New York State; today I am equally proud that the United States Supreme Court extended these rights to all Americans,” said Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas. “This ruling sends a strong message that bigotry and intolerance will not be the law of the land.”

“Our country will finally afford millions of Americans the rights they have always deserved, but until now were unable to exercise,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Today, this country is richer – filled with more equality, more acceptance, and more love than yesterday. And for the people of this city, where the movement for LGBT rights began in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn, we can be proud that we helped blaze the trail to this great victory.”

“From this moment on and for generations to come, marriage equality is a civil and human right for LGBTQ couples and no one – no matter where you live in this country or who you love – will be denied that right,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“As has been said, ‘the arc of history is long and it bends in the direction of justice,” said Sen. Charles Schumer. “Thank you to five Supreme Court heroes for helping bend it a little sooner.”

The court was ideologically split in its decision, as Justice Anthony Kennedy – regarded as its most moderate member – sided in the majority with the court’s four liberal justices: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer. The conservative wing – Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito – voted in the minority.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Supreme Court

Photo courtesy of U.S. Supreme Court


Queens politicians react to Affordable Care Act

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Just after 10 a.m. the Supreme Court handed down its ruling upholding President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

The court ruled 5-4 that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.

Shortly after the decision, Queens politicians took to Twitter to comment on the ruling. Here’s a collection the pol’s reactions:

Congressmember Gregory Meeks: “ACA ensures children and young adults will stay on their parent insurance until age 26. ACA means that seniors are paying less for their prescription medication. With this decision, Americans will continue to benefit from the expanded access to quality, affordable health insurance.”

Congressmember Carolyn Maloney: “Today’s SCOTUS decision is one of the most historic in our lifetimes and a huge win for the American people. Proud to have helped pass ACA.”

Congressmember Joe Crowley: “Thrilled SCOTUS upheld health care law! Great victory for the American people!”

Congressmember Steve Israel: “By upholding the ACA, the Supreme Court has ensured that millions of Americans will benefit from critical consumer protections.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: “Very pleased SCOTUS upheld Obamacare. Middle class needs access to affordable care and deserve the important benefits this law provides.”

Congressmember BobTurner: “Today’s SCOTUS ruling is a shame for Americans, small businesses and all in need of care.”

Congressmember Nydia Velazquez: “SCOTUS’ health care ruling ends health discrimination against women and means children with preexisting conditions are not denied coverage.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo: “The Affordable Care Act will provide access to health care to millions of Americans nationwide ans more than 1 million New Yorkers.”

Council Speaker Christine Quinn: “The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is great news for our city, state and nation.”

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio: “Hear that? It’s 43 million Americans breathing a sigh of relief, Affordable Care Act upheld.”

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman: “SCOTUS decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is an historic victory for the 32 million Americans who will gain health care coverage.”

Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries, who is running for Congress in the 8th District which includes parts of Queens, issued a statement on the ruling.

“The Supreme Court has spoken and President Obama’s historic health care reform is now the law of the land. As I said during my campaign, I plan to go to Washington to work with the president, and one of my priorities is making sure that this new law is implemented fairly and effectively. I am also hopeful that Congressional Republicans will end their single-minded attempts to overturn or weaken this landmark law. With so many other challenges facing us, Congress needs to start its work on issues that will move our great nation forward.”