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: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/supreme-court-prop-8_n_3434854.html?1372257363&utm_hp_ref=politics (DOMA) and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/supreme-court-prop-8_n_3434854.html?1372257363&utm_hp_ref=politics (Prop 8)