DOMA and Prop 8 are Dead, But Same-Sex Marriage Bans Remain

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by Kate Paine

Today, the United States Supreme Court issued two marriage-equality opinions that—though awaited by many—were surprising to few. In a 5-4 vote, the Court declared the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, because it treats one category of legally-married couples (same-sex couples) differently than another category of legally-married couples (opposite-sex couples), for the  principal purpose of demeaning those in a lawful same-sex marriage.  Such absence of a legitimate purpose behind the discrimination violates the Equal Protection Clause to the United States Constitution.

 In another 5-4 vote, the Court found that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lacked standing (i.e. power) to hear the appeal of the Prop 8 case in the first place, and so the Court made no decision regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 8, or similar state laws that prohibit same-sex marriage. The result of this decision is that same-sex marriage will likely once again be permitted in California, but states that do not yet permit same-sex marriage will not be required to do so.

 For more information, see:  (DOMA) and (Prop 8)


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