US Supreme Court rules Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional
Thursday, June 27, 2013
In a ruling released yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5–4 that portions of Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are unconstitutional and married same-sex partners should not be prevented from receiving federal benefits including tax and social security benefits, and recognition for the purpose of immigration.
In the majority decision, Justicewrote: "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity." Kennedy said DOMA "writes inequality into the entire ".
The case was brought by 84-year-old Edith Windsor, who was married to Thea Speyer. The State of New York recognised their marriage, but following Speyer's death, Windsor had to pay more than 300,000 in .
In addition to a decision on the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court also ruled on a case brought by supporters ofin California, a ballot measure which made same-sex marriage illegal in 2008. The resulting same-sex marriage ban was challenged in the court and a lower court held that the measure was incompatible with the US Constitution. The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by supporters of Proposition 8, arguing they do not have standing to defend in court a law the State of California is unwilling to defend. Therefore the lower court decision holds. California Governor said: "I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state's counties they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted".
President Barack Obama welcomed the decisions: "When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free." Obama instructed , the US attorney general, to ensure the ruling is implemented in federal law.
Anthony Romero from the American Civil Liberties Union said the fight for same-sex marriage rights would now return to the states. Chad Griffin from the , an LGBT rights organization, pledged: "Within five years, we will bring marriage equality to all 50 states."
A number of opponents of same-sex marriage have voiced their opinions on the Supreme Court decision. Michele Bachmann, a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota, stated: "Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted. For thousands of years of recorded human history, no society has defended the legal standard of marriage as anything other than between man and woman. Only since 2000 have we seen a redefinition of this foundational unit of society in various nations."
Bachmann went on: "Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to join the trend, despite the clear will of the people’s representatives through DOMA. What the court has done will undermine the best interest of children and the best interests of the United States."
Kansas Congressmansaid the "courts have allowed the desires of adults to trump the needs of our children".
- "Supreme Court of the United States contemplates same-sex marriage" — Wikinews, March 26, 2013
- "California's same-sex marriage ban ruled unconstitutional; appeal expected" — Wikinews, August 4, 2010
- Bill Mears. "Supreme Court dismisses California's Proposition 8 appeal" — , June 27, 2013
- Lawrence Hurley. "Supreme Court strikes down federal marriage law in win for gay rights" — , June 26, 2013
- "US Supreme Court in historic rulings on gay marriage" — , June 26, 2013
- Dan Roberts. "Doma defeated on historic day for gay rights in US" — , June 26, 2013
- Trudy Ring. "Right-Wingers: Court Doesn't Change God's Law" — , June 26, 2013
- "Supreme Court ruling sets up new wave of gay marriage battles" — , June 26, 2013
- Robert Barnes. "Supreme Court clears way for same-sex marriage in California" — , June 26, 2013
- David Lauter. "Gay rights groups' new goal: Nationwide victory in five years" — , June 26, 2013
- Pete Williams and Erin McClam. "Prop 8 ruling explained: Why gay marriage will resume in California" — , June 26, 2013