Sunday, September 21, 2014

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Buffalo

Supreme Court to Hold Hearing on Same Sex Marriage

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BUFFALO, N.Y.-It was an upbeat night for the Buffalo Gay Mens chorus...a celebration of the holidays.

But their annual Christmas concert came just a day after learning that the Supreme Court plans to review same sex marriage.

Across the U.S. there are an estimated 120,000 legally married same sex couples, including a few in the group.

"We have several people in the chorus that have gotten married. I’ve been happy to celebrate at least four marriages in the past year since New York State passed gay marriage," said Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus Board of Directors President Gregory Ciupak.

The court plans two review two cases involving same sex marriage.

The first centers around the Defense of marriage act, and focuses on two women who married in Canada in 2007. One of the partners died in New York two years later and her wife had to pay federal estate taxes due to current laws. Ciupak believes that national law should be adjusted.

"We do need federal protection as well because the state laws only protect so much for marriage. Federally though we can reap the benefits that heterosexual couples do," said Ciupak.

The highest court will also look at Proposition 8 which banned same sex couples from getting married in California.

The National Organization for Marriage, a group who says its mission is to protect traditional marriage released a statement Friday saying,

"We are pleased that the Supreme Court will review lower-court decisions that invalidate the judgment of the U.S. Congress to define marriage as one man and one woman," Eastman said. "It's not the job of federal judges to substitute their views for the policy judgments of the people's duly elected representatives. We believe the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn this exercise in judicial activism and stop federal judges from legislating from the bench on the definition of marriage. We're confident the Court will uphold DOMA," said National Organization for Marriage Chairman Jon Eastman.

Ciupak hopes that doesn’t happen.

"These are basic fundamental rights in the pursuit of happiness which is what our constitution is sort of built upon and so I hate to see us go backwards," said Ciupak.

The cases will likely be heard in March and a decision could be made in June.

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