On Wednesday 26 June 2013, the US Supreme Court released two landmark decisions regarding same-sex marriage. The first, announced when the court convened at 10 AM EDT in Washington, DC, struck down the federal legislation known as DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 Clinton-era law barring same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits, even if married in states where such unions are legal. The court came down 5-4 in favor of the plaintiff, 83-year-old Edith Windsor, who sued the government for excess estate taxes paid when her wife died and she was not given legal status as a surviving spouse, with the inheritance protections that status ensures. The decision paves the way for federal recognition of same-sex unions and grants federal tax and entitlement benefits to gay couples across the country, even in states where their marriages are not recognized.
Less than half an hour later, the court ruled on Hollingsworth v Perry, a case bearing on California’s controversial Proposition 8 law, which had overturned state legislation establishing same-sex marriage. Prop 8, a 2008 ballot initiative, once again banned same-sex marriage in California, but was appealed, and the issue has made its way up through the courts for the past five years. Both California’s governor and Attorney General refused to defend the law in court, a legal void filled by the advocacy groups which had promoted Prop 8’s passage. The Supremes, while not ruling on the validity of the law itself, instead decided that the defendants had no standing in the case, thus remanding the law back to the original determination by the US District Court, which had ruled Prop 8 unconstitutional. It’s a confusing legal morass, but the net effect of the SCOTUS ruling is to reinstitute same-sex marriage in California, which Governor Jerry Brown duly did within hours.
The Supreme Court originally heard oral arguments in both cases on March 26 and 27, 2013, and the skies then and at the subsequent ruling well reflect the issues at hand.
Asteroid Sappho, named for an ancient Greek lesbian poet and representative of gay issues generally, and asteroid Hera, named for the Greek goddess of marriage, have been traveling in tandem for a very long time, since May of 2012 (and will remain so until February 2014), bringing extended focus to their combined issues. This period has coincided with President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, within days of these two beginning their conjunction, and a startling change in public opinion favoring same-sex unions, with more than half the nation now supportive in successive polls. When the Court heard the cases, Sappho at 2 Libra and Hera at 28 Virgo were joined broadly by asteroid Justitia, named for the Roman goddess of justice, at 7 Libra, itself tightly opposed the Sun of the oral arguments as it passed over 6 and 7 degrees of Aries on the two days of argument. Both asteroids were retrograde at the time, indicating a review, or going back into, the issues they represent.
Now three months later as the ruling is handed down, Hera and Sappho are even more closely bound, at 28 and 29 Virgo, and now in direct motion, indicating forward momentum for the issue of same-sex (Sappho) marriage (Hera). Justitia is still in the mix as well, now at 5 Libra, from where she exactly squares the transit Sun at 5 Cancer, itself now exactly conjoined the USA’s natal Jupiter, ruling the Supreme Court. The Sun conjoins transit Jupiter at 0 Cancer and is also involved in a Grand Trine of Neptune at 5 Pisces and Saturn at 4 Scorpio, combining formal legal recognition (Saturn) with energies of empathy and inclusion (Neptune).
Also with the Sun for the argument phase of the cases was Venus at 5/6 Aries, ruling love and partnerships, Uranus at 8 Aries, ruling innovation and change, and Mars at 11 Aries, ruling sexuality. Also in aspect was asteroid Ganymed, another gay-themed point, named for Zeus’ cupbearer and underage lover, falling at 20 Leo in sesquiquadrate to the Sun and Venus.
When the ruling came down, these points all had a part to play. Venus is now at 28 Cancer, with Mercury at 23 Cancer, denoting a decision (Mercury) impacting partnerships (Venus), with Mercury exactly opposed to asteroid America at 23 Capricorn, identifying the country in question. Also with Mercury is asteroid Themis, named for the Roman goddess of justice, at 18 Cancer, indicating the Justices’ decision (in the arguments chart, Themis appears at 14 Gemini, traveling with Jupiter at 10/11 Gemini, ruling the Supreme Court itself). Mars at 18 Gemini is now exactly trine to an exact pairing of the transit Moon (ruling domestic environments and cultural/familial norms) and asteroid Juno (Roman goddess of marriage) at 18 Aquarius, these also in exact inconjunct to Themis. Uranus now at 12 Aries is coming to exactly square the US Sun at 13 Cancer, suggesting a major shift or change in the country’s attitudes toward home and family (Cancer).
Opposing Hera/Sappho at the oral arguments was asteroid Eros at 23/24 Pisces, a point named for a god associated today with erotic passion generally, but in classical Greece noted as the patron of homosexual unions. At the ruling, Eros appears at 28 Taurus in square to Ganymed at 27 Leo, which is tightly conjunct the 26 Leo Ascendant for the DOMA ruling, the Ascendant being the point which defines the public face of an event or person, thus focusing attention on the gay themes Ganymed represents.
The litigants are also well represented, with asteroid Edith (for Edith Windsor, plaintiff in the DOMA case) at 4 Sagittarius, inconjunct Sun/Jupiter, semisextile Saturn, square Neptune and sextile Justitia. Asteroid Perry (for Prop 8 plaintiff Kristin Perry, denied a marriage license in California because she was in a same sex relationship) at 20 Cancer falls directly between Themis and Mercury.
Oddly, this ruling also commemorates the tenth anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v Texas from June 26, 2003, when the court struck down sodomy laws nationwide. At the time, the Sun at 4 Cancer was involved in a stellium with Saturn (the law) at 2 Cancer, exactly conjoined Ganymed (gay themes), and Justitia at 9 Cancer, with Sun/Saturn/Ganymed squared Themis at 2 Libra. These Cancer points form a Grand Trine with Uranus (unconventional or controversial acts) and Mars (sexuality) at 2 and 3 Pisces, and Sappho (also gay issues) at 5 Scorpio. This pattern becomes a Kite with the opposition of asteroid Eros at 3 Virgo to Mars/Uranus. Asteroid Lawrence appears at 7 Sagittarius, T-Squared with Mars/Pisces and Eros, and inconjunct the Sun, while asteroid Texas appears at 23 Leo within orb of Jupiter at 17 Leo.
In a related story, the week before the SCOTUS ruling kicked off with the shocking announcement by Exodus International President Alan Chambers that the group, a pioneer in the field of “reparative therapy” for gay men and lesbians, was disbanding. Exodus’ “ex-gay” approach, claiming to offer a “cure” for homosexuality, focused on gays as aberrant, sinful, and able to make a conscious choice to change their orientation, which they claimed was learned, willful behavior, despite scientific consensus on sexuality as inherent.
On Wednesday, June 19, 2013, Chambers posted a formal apology:
Please know that I am deeply sorry. I am sorry for the pain and hurt many of you have experienced. I am sorry that some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt you felt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents. I am sorry that there were times I didn’t stand up to people publicly “on my side” who called you names like sodomite—or worse. I am sorry that I, knowing some of you so well, failed to share publicly that the gay and lesbian people I know were every bit as capable of being amazing parents as the straight people that I know. I am sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to Him that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart. I am sorry that I have communicated that you and your families are less than me and mine.
More than anything, I am sorry that so many have interpreted this religious rejection by Christians as God’s rejection. I am profoundly sorry that many have walked away from their faith and that some have chosen to end their lives. For the rest of my life I will proclaim nothing but the whole truth of the Gospel, one of grace, mercy and open invitation to all to enter into an inseverable relationship with almighty God.
Later that evening, the organization’s board of directors announced the decision to close after nearly four decades.
As always, the sky was remarkable for its portrayal of the story. An exact Sun/Jupiter conjunction at 28 Gemini was exactly squared asteroid Sappho at 28 Virgo, focusing attention (the Sun) on a religious/philosophical (Jupiter) issue relating to gays (Sappho). The Sun/Jupiter conjunction was also exactly trine to centaur Nessus at 28 Aquarius (itself exactly inconjunct Sappho), a point noted for sexually inappropriate or damaging acts, attitudes, and patterns. Sun/Jupiter is also sextile asteroid Ganymed, another gay-themed point, at 26 Leo, which opposes Nessus, and forms a T-Square with Eros, ancient patron of homosexual unions, at 23 Taurus.
Mars at 13 Gemini was exactly squared Chiron at 13 Pisces, ably depicting the pain and wounding regarding sexuality evoked by Exodus’ ministry, and apologized for by Chambers. Asteroid Chambers appears at 23 Cancer, part and parcel of the Mercury (decisions, announcements, news)/Venus (apologies, conciliation, peacemaking) conjunction then occurring at 20 and 21 Cancer.
Asteroid Alain (for Alan) at 1 Pisces conjoins Neptune at 5 Pisces, symbol of the religious zealotry which spurred Exodus’ mission, and is trine Saturn at 5 Scorpio, symbol of repression. Alain’s exact square to asteroid Allen (also for Alan) at 1 Sagittarius may represent the conflict Alan Chambers had within himself, admitting that he continued to feel same-sex attraction throughout his life despite his best efforts to combat it.
Alan Chambers’ natal Mercury (born 2/21/72) at 5 Pisces was receiving an exact hit from Neptune’s retrograde station when he made his dramatic (Neptune) announcement (Mercury), with his Sun close by at 2 Pisces having been transited by Neptune over the past year, a period coinciding with his growing disillusionment (Neptune) with the movement he headed. Transit Saturn opposing his natal Mars at 7 Taurus during the same timeframe evoked the self-assessment and critical reappraisal of his attitudes towards sexuality, further highlighted by the Lunar Eclipse at 5 Scorpio opposed Mars in late April.
Several factors typical of homosexual inclinations indicate Chambers’ innate conflict. Venus at 13 Aries opposes Uranus, suggesting an unconventional or unorthodox approach to romantic partners and intimate connections, made all the more tense by Venus’ conjunction with TNO Eris (contention, dispute, troublemaking) at 12 Aries and centaur Chiron (wounding, maverick behaviors) at 10 Aries, these last two central to the interactions of the Uranus/Pluto square in the last year, making a celestial trifecta of aspects urging Chambers’ renunciation. Natal Sappho at 15 Sagittarius is trine to Venus, indicating an ease of integration of homosexual desires with partnership issues.
A pairing of asteroids Eros and Chambers at 18 and 17 Capricorn, squared natal Venus, suggests a very personal connection for Chambers with homoerotic sensibilities. A triple conjunction of Jupiter, Pandora and Ganymed at 2, 4 and 6 Capricorn, in trine to natal Mars, opens the Pandora’s box of gay sexuality (Ganymed) intertwined with a religious perspective (Jupiter) that was traditionally-focused and repressive (Capricorn). A square from natal Pluto at 1 Libra to Jupiter et al prefigures the devastation (Pluto) Chambers’ guilt-based (also Pluto) philosophy (Jupiter) engendered, and the release of unintended consequences (Pandora) in the harm he caused to gay men struggling with their sexuality, as well as being suggestive of a taboo-oriented (Pluto) attitude toward the expression of gayness (Ganymed).