The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
Instagram

SMU OUTLaw discusses DOMA

On Monday, the SMU OUTlaw student organization held a “Post-DOMA Blue Ribbon Panel” to discuss the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling this past June in the United States v. Windsor case and what it means for the LGBT community.

In June, DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act — which barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage legalized by states — was ruled unconstitutional in what was finally a “step in the right direction,” said Dustin Delagarza, SMU law student and Secretary of OUTlaw.

With the law ruled unconstitutional, same-sex couples are now able to collect the thousands of benefits that they previously were not allowed to receive under the Defense of Marriage Act.

The panel, which was comprised of four top law speakers with backgrounds in the fight for equality, discussed everything from the Windsor ruling to what Texas has to do as a state to improve their own laws regarding same-sex marriage.

Lawyers Paul Castillo, staff attorney at Lambda Legal; Steve Rudner, board member of Equality Texas; Timothy Thomas, board member of Human Rights Campaign; and Nicholas Palmer, assistant city attorney in Dallas, were the speakers on the panel and all touched on certain aspects of the case.

Castillo gave a background on the case at hand before passing the torch to Rudner who then stated although this was a step in the right direction for the LGBT community, Texas still has a long way to go.

Rudner, whose own teenage son is gay, stated that laws like the anti-sodomy law, while considered unconstitutional by the federal government, is still “on the books” in Texas and still prevents same-sex couples from kissing in public.

“People often say that since the law was deemed unconstitutional, even though it is on the books, that [Texas law] shouldn’t matter,” Rudner explained. “Well, for a same-sex couple in El Paso who were kissing in front of a police officer and then arrested, it does matter.”

Thomas, who has been married to his partner for nearly a year now, is excited to finally reap the benefits that the federal government was withholding from him for so long.

“My husband and I were married last April and today I signed our [minute] return so we’ll be able to finally get a larger return,” Thomas said.

More to Discover