The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

June 26, 2013
Editorial: An incomplete victory for equal rights

The U.S. Supreme Court bolstered the cause of same-sex marriage Wednesday, but sidestepped a chance to guarantee equal rights for all gay Americans.

Deciding on the narrowest of legal grounds, a 5-4 majority cleared the way for gay marriages to resume in California. The ruling did not, however, say anything about same-sex marriages in other states.

In a second highly anticipated ruling, a different 5-4 majority threw out a key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that prevents same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits available to other married couples, including income tax advantages, immigration status and veterans' benefits.

While these decisions represent a major victory for gay Americans that we welcome, we wish the court had taken the opportunity to go further.

Justice Anthony Kennedy of Sacramento, writing for the majority, said DOMA violated the Constitution's equal protection clause for the federal government to treat gay couples - legally married in states that allow them to do so - differently than other married couples. But the ruling did not declare a constitutionally protected right for gay Americans to marry.

June 20, 2013
Back to square one in Congress on major farm bill

On a 195-234 vote today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted down a proposed new five-year farm bill that would have changed eligibility so that 1.8 million lower-income Americans would lose benefits, 210,000 children would have lost their free school meals, and 850,000 families would have seen their benefits cut by an average of $90 a month.

The House bill called for $20.5 billion in draconian cuts to food stamps over 10 years -- compared to $3.9 billion in cuts in the Senate bill.

The Bee's editorial board urged the House to reject the food stamp cuts -- and, if the bill passed, for the president to veto it.

Sixty-two Republicans voted against the bill (wanting deeper cuts to food stamps) and 24 Democrats voted for it (for reasons other than food stamps).

Our local delegation split on the issue, and not along party lines:

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

October 2013

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