Sometimes… well, sometimes, it’s just better to listen to what others have to say than to try and report on it. At 10:00am Eastern, the Supreme Court of the United States in effect, struck down DOMA. Excerpts of the official majority decision follow:
“By seeking to injure the very class New York seeks to protect, DOMA violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government. The Constitution’s guarantee of equality “must at the very least mean that a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group cannot” justify disparate treatment of that group. Department of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528, 534–535. DOMA cannot survive under these principles. Its unusual deviation from the tradition of recognizing and accepting state definitions of marriage operates to deprive same-sex couples of the benefits and responsibilities that come with federal recognition of their marriages…DOMA’s avowed purpose and practical effect are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.”
The decision means that those who are married in one of the twelve states—wait, thirteen states, now that we can include California– where gay marriage is legal (as well as the District of Columbia) have the same protections and benefits of marriage under federal law. This means that married same sex couples will receive the same tax, health, and retirement benefits as their heterosexual peers. It is a landmark decision, and brings us one step closer to quality under the law.
The decision on Proposition 8, the other case brought in front of the Supreme Court concerning marriage equality last spring, followed shortly after the DOMA decision and was dismissed by the Court. This means that the two prior rulings, by the Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals– on the basis Prop 8 violates our nation’s fundamental concepts of liberty and equal treatment under the law—stands. The case was dismissed because the Court decided ‘private parties’ do not have the right to stand in defense of the law.
All in all, this is a momentous day for supporters of marriage equality in California and throughout our entire nation.