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News Posted on June 27, 2013

King Hall Faculty Comment for National Media on Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Decisions

National and local media turned to King Hall faculty members including Dean Kevin R. Johnson, Associate Dean and Professor of Law Vikram Amar, and Professor Courtney Joslin for commentary and insight regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decisions involving the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8. Comments appeared in media outlets including The Guardian UK, Bloomberg News Service, Reuters, the Associated Press, television stations CNBC and KTXL, public radio stations KXJZ and KQED, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Orange County Register, Sacramento Bee, and others.

In a pair of June 26 rulings, the Court struck down portions of the DOMA and let stand a lower court decision invalidating California's same-sex marriage ban.

"It's a historic day," Professor Joslin said in an interview published on "Married same-sex couples will now be entitled to hundreds of federal benefits and protections and that will be a tremendous help to many families."

Such benefits include "things like the right to file taxes as a married couple, the right to access spousal social security benefits, the right to take medical leave to care for a sick spouse, and many things that are particularly important in times of death or disability of a spouse," Professor Joslin said in an interview broadcast on KXJZ's Insight program.

Dean Johnson commented on how the DOMA ruling may impact bi-national same-sex couples.  The issue of whether same-sex couples now enjoy the ability to sponsor a foreign-born spouse for an immigrant visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act remains unresolved, he said.

"It could be a long discussion and litigation before the courts start recognizing it," Dean Johnson commented for Southern California Public Radio station KPCC. "It would be far simpler for Congress to expressly recognize gay marriage in the [Immigration and Nationality Act]."

In an interview with National Public Radio Affiliate KQED, Amar addressed several issues related to the Court's ruling on Proposition 8, including the reasoning behind the Justices' decision that the initiative's sponsors lacked standing to bring the case.

"I think that the Court did not want to wade into this thicket any more than it had to," Amar said. "It wants to see how various states are going to evolve in this arena. Remember, this is a very fast-moving landscape." The Court may wish to "decide the ultimate question against a backdrop that's more stable than the one we have now."

Speaking with the Sacramento Bee, Amar said that same-sex marriage should resume in California shortly, but may face opposition from county clerks who feel that as elected officials they are not bound by the governor's directive to resume issuing same-sex marriage licenses. "It could get messy, and I don't know what's going to happen," he said.

Kevin R. Johnson is Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o studies at UC Davis School of Law. He is an internationally recognized scholar in the fields of immigration law and policy, refugee law, and civil rights. Vikram Amar, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law with the UC Davis School of Law, is a national authority in the fields of constitutional law, civil procedure, criminal procedure, and remedies. Professor Joslin is a scholar in the field of family and relationship recognition, with a particular focus on same-sex and non-marital couples.

KPCC: Dean Johnson interview

New York Times: Associate Dean Amar

CNBC: Associate Dean Amar interview

KQED: Associate Dean Amar interview

Sacramento Bee: Associate Dean Amar interview Amar column

Los Angeles Times: Associate Dean Amar interview (June 26)

Los Angeles Times: Associate Dean Amar interview (June 27)

KXJZ Insight: Associate Dean Amar interview

San Jose Mercury News: Associate Dean Amar interview

KTXL Fox40 News: Associate Dean Amar interview

The Guardian: Associate Dean Amar interview

Bloomberg News Service: Professor Joslin interview

KXJZ Insight: Professor Joslin interview

Equality Radio: Professor Joslin interview

KTXL Fox40 Morning News: Professor Joslin interview

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Professor Joslin interview


See also the King Hall Faculty Blog for an updated list of media appearances.