Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

By Gil Jacobson, Breaking News Writer

In two key 5-4 decisions, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and dismiss an appeal regarding the constitutionality of California’s Prop 8 which defined marriage as being between a man and woman.

The court’s decision to strike down Section 3 of DOMA in U.S. v. Windsor will guarantee same-sex couples the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples in states that allow same-sex marriage.

The key plaintiff in the DOMA case, Edith “Edie” Windsor, who married Thea Spyer in Canada in 2007, sued the federal government after they refused to acknowledge Windsor’s marriage when Syper died in 2009.  Windsor was required to pay a larger estate tax bill than if she had been in a heterosexual marriage in her home state of New York, which at the time acknowledged same-sex marriages performed in other countries.

According to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion, “although Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.”

The court’s ruling to dismiss Prop 8’s appeal in Hollingsworth v. Perry means the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision to overturn Prop 8 under the Equal Protection Clause, will stand, thus allowing same-sex marriage to resume in California.

According to Chief Justice John Roberts who wrote the majority opinion, “we have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend a state statute when state officials have chosen not to do so.”

The court’s rulings were met with positive support from many public officials and high-profile celebrities, including President Barack Obama.

Obama’s official twitter account tweeted, “today’s DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality.  #LoveIsLove,” soon after the DOMA ruling was announced.

However, the two decisions had mixed reactions from several CHS students.

According to junior Katie Kidney, while the DOMA ruling holds promising for same-sex couples who were not receiving federal benefits, only the future can speak for what effects the Prop 8 ruling will have on the people of California.

“Because Prop 8 was dismissed on standing, there may be another case regarding a state’s ability to ban same-sex marriage,” Kidney said.

Both rulings are two major steps in achieving full marriage equality in this country, but the battle for equal rights seems far from over.