A playlist for celebrating Sen. Wendy Davis & the end of DOMA

Today brings the kind of news headlines that make a progressive heart happy. Historical rulings and an unwavering demonstration in Texas have made the nation buzz with hope.

So as you soak up all the emotion of this day – perhaps after shedding some tears of joy (goodness knows there were some from us) – we have created a playlist with songs to keep you in the feel-good mood that this day deserves.

First, some songs in honor of the amazing, inspiring Texas Senator Wendy Davis who stood and spoke against SB 5 – a bill that would have effectively close most of the clinics in Texas – for over ten hours yesterday. Obviously, she deserves some mad respect.

Because she was going to be on her feet – continuously – all day, Sen. Davis wore bright pink running sneakers for the filibuster. The shoes quickly became a symbol for her stand against the bill and her fight for women. Indeed, her sneaks (boots) were made for standing (walking) – and that’s just what she did.

Granted, we can’t be fully excited that the media jumped at the chance to focus on the Senator’s appearance above all else, but I digress.

While it appeared for awhile last night that the Texas Senate might have snuck in a vote at the last moment, this morning it was clear that Sen. Davis’ epic filibuster had succeeded in halting the passage of the anti-choice SB 5. She triumphed in protecting choice in Texas – at least until the next session.

An overwhelming crowd of pro-choice supporters in the Capitol building cheered and stayed late into the night to support the efforts of the filibuster. It was heartwarming to see those in the pro-choice movement refuse to back down.

Next we are dedicating songs to the historical Supreme Court decision that we’ve been waiting for. This morning, the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, paving the way for marriage equality in the states. The Court also refused to take up Proposition 8 – allowing gay marriage to be legal again in California. Can you feel the love, or what?

DOMA was ruled unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote, with Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion. You could say that Justice Kennedy is the best thing that (ever) happened to us (today).

The Supreme Court definitely made progress for the nation, taking a big step toward recognizing that it’s all the same love – and marriage is a right of every citizen.

Is it disappointing that marriage equality – equal rights – are still up for debate in this century? Yes.

Is it heartbreaking that Sen. Davis had to forgo food, drink, and even merely sitting, as a final defense against a terrible bill aimed at taking basic bodily autonomy from women? Yes.

But progress is progress. And we will take it and celebrate it.

Song List: Respect – Aretha Franklin I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ – Nancy Sinatra Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac I Will Wait – Mumford and Sons You are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne Same Love – Macklemore Can you Feel the Love Tonight? – Elton John You Don’t Own Me – Leslie Gore

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Marriage equality reaches the Supreme Court

NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota are proud to have an official position in support of marriage equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard almost two hours worth of oral arguments regarding the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law that denies federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples. DOMA affects more than 1,000 federal laws and programs with rules whose application depends in part on a person’s marital status. DOMA defines marriage, under federal law, as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” The question is whether the law violates constitutional law via federalism or equal protection.

This week the Supreme Court also heard arguments on Tuesday regarding a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in the state.

Currently, same-sex marriage is legal only in nine states: Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Hew Hampshire, New York, Washington and Vermont (plus Washington D.C.). New Mexico and Rhode Island legally recognize out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples. Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island allow civil union, while California, Oregon, Nevada and Wisconsin offer domestic partnerships.

The bad news is that marriage equality activists are unlikely to get the sweeping victory that they might have hoped for. The Supreme Court appears reluctant to declare a broad ruling that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry in the United States. In short, the court is moving forward cautiously rather than boldly supporting gay rights.

Considered a crucial swing vote on the issue, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy voiced concerns that DOMA is a violation of equal protection rights, and it also undermines states’ rights and federalism. This case ruling will ultimately determine if the federal government has the authority to regulate marriage.

Two of the justifications Congress cited for passing DOMA in 1996 include defending traditional notions of both morality and marriage. The Obama Administration has urged the court to find these two justifications unconstitutional.

If the court strikes down DOMA, then the federal government will have to recognize same-sex marriages in states where they are legal, but the states will still have the freedom to decide separately whether or not to allow gay marriage.

Rulings on both DOMA and Proposition 8 are expected by the end of June.