Share this story...
Latest News

Red equal signs and state support for marriage equality

Wednesday the Supreme Court hears arguments in a case where the IRS denied Edith Windsor a refund on federal estate taxes when her same-sex spouse died. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman)

Red equal signs popped up on Twitter and Facebook feeds, without much explanation, as the U.S. Supreme Court hears marriage equality issues.

The Human Rights Campaign, an organization in support of gay marriage is running a social media campaign as the high court considers arguments. Supporters are also asked to “paint the town red,” wearing red clothing and changing their profile pictures to the logo of the HRC.

As the idea catches on, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sent a more formal show of support from our state.

Washington joined more than a dozen other states in two “friend-of-the-court briefs” in these cases.

“I am proud of the active role Washington played in developing the states’ arguments supporting marriage equality for couples in Washington and across the country,” Ferguson said in a statement.

“Our state has an important interest in supporting marriage equality and in encouraging the Court to ensure the federal government respects marriages that are valid under Washington law.”

In arguments Tuesday, the court heard arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, a case determining whether or not to strike down California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage in that state.

Wednesday, the court will hear oral arguments in U.S. v. Windsor, a case challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In that case, the IRS denied Edith Windsor a refund on federal estate taxes when her same-sex spouse died. That’s a refund she would have received had her spouse been of the opposite sex.

While the state of New York recognized the couple’s marriage, the IRS denied the refund under section 3 of DOMA. Section 3 declares that any time “marriage” or “spouse” appears in any federal law, it only applies to a marriage of a man and a woman.

The U.S. Supreme Court typically issues a decision by late June when it adjourns for a summer recess.

Listen to oral arguments from Tuesday’s case


Most Popular