Supreme Court Delivers Gay Marriage Victory

BREAKING NEWS:  Supreme Court Delivers First Gay Marriage Victory

Profound Victory for basic human rights as the Supreme Court issues rulings on Gay Marriage.

In 5-4 ruling, U.S. Supreme Court justices overturn Defense of Marriage Act, saying it is unconstitutional. DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment. Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas issue Dissents. Chief Roberts and Scalia believe there is no jurisdiction. Opinion is by Justice Kennedy, joined by the four liberal Justices — Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Kennedy states, “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.”

In plain terms, same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law such benefits include income taxes, social security benefits and over a thousand other federal laws and programs. The Court explained that by denying recognition to same-sex couples who are legally married, federal law discriminates against them. This decision means that same-sex couples who are legally married must now be treated the same under federal law as married opposite-sex couples..

In Proposition 8 ruling, court dismisses based on standing. Gay Marriage Ban in California is struck down. From Chief Roberts “”The Court does not have before it, and the logic of its opinion does not decide, the distinct question whether the States . . . may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage.” The Ninth Circuit was without jurisdiction to consider the appeal. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

In plain English because the State of California would not defend the law, proponents of the ban filed the suit challenging the ninth circuit courts decision.  The supreme court has ruled that the suit had no standing as the proponents have no legal rights to bring the case.

At 10am the Supreme Court and it’s nine justices convened to issue rulings on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limits the definition of marriage to being specifically a male/female relationship for the purpose of federal benefits, and a California state law banning gay marriage AKA proposition 8.

Both cases, which were argued in March, could shape the debate profoundly on weather gay men and women have the right to marry their same-sex partners. The cases come before SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) at a time when opinion polls show growing support for gay marriage.  While only 12 (13 with California) states recognize gay marriage, there are still over 30 states that prohibit it with many more with laws that try to provide some rights to gay couples while not officially calling it “marriage”.

The DOMA case before the court was brought by Edith Windsor of New York who was married to a woman, Thea Spyer, legally at the state level in New York, but was unable to get the federal estate tax deduction available to heterosexuals when their spouses die due to the 1996 DOMA law.  When Spyer died in 2009, Edit Windsor was forced to pay federal estate taxes in the amount of $363,000.  Windsor case files suit against the federal government seeking a refund of the same amount.

While the Obama administration once defended the law, Attorney General Eric Holder said the law was unconstitutional in 2011. The administration asked the Supreme Court to strike the law down. making Obama the first sitting president to support gay marriage.

The California case, Proposition 8,  was a state ballot measure that was approved by voters in 2008 just months after the California’s supreme court ruled in favor of gay marriages. A federal judge struck the proposition 8 law down two years later in 2010 as a violation of the US Constitutions guarantee of equal protection.

2 thoughts on “Supreme Court Delivers Gay Marriage Victory

  • June 26, 2013 at 11:26 am

    victory for human rights today! When I was a teen, I couldn’t have
    even imagined this day would happen in my lifetime. Blessed to live in
    these exciting times of progress for the rights of others born like me.

  • June 26, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Great to see both of these rulings today and to see different justices on the majority opinions showing careful and thoughtful consideration of the actual laws.

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