Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA And Prop 8 In Favor Of Gay Rights

Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA And Prop 8 In Favor Of Gay RightsIn a big day for gay-rights advocates, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a federal provision denying benefits to legally married gay couples and issued a separate ruling that paves the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

‘Same-sex marriages to resume’

Cheers erupted on the steps of the high court, as the rulings were handed down. The latter decision did not speak to the constitutionality of gay marriage bans in California, or in the country as a whole. The court avoided a broad ruling, and rather, determined that the defenders of California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage did not have the standing to appeal lower court rulings against the ban.  As a result, California is likely to allow same-sex marriages to resume in a matter of weeks. Gov. Jerry Brown has already set that process in motion.


‘Unconstitutional’

The more sweeping decision, though, came in relation to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which the court said was unconstitutional and effectively gutted by ruling against a provision that denied benefits to legally married gay couples.

The 5-4 ruling — a major victory for gay-rights advocates — means those same-sex couples would be eligible for federal benefits. President Obama, who applauded the decision, directed his administration to review “all relevant federal statutes” to comply with the ruling.

The provision in question defined marriage as between a man and woman and in doing so prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people.

Are you in favor of same-sex marriage? Why or why not?

Source: Fox News

Image: Salon

Defense Of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Appeals Court

Defense Of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Appeals CourtA federal appeals court in New York became the nation’s second to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, finding that the Clinton-era law’s denial of federal benefits to married same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The divisive act, which was passed in 1996, bars federal recognition of such marriages and says other states cannot be forced to recognize them.

‘Benefit of spousal deductions’

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined Thursday that the federal law violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause, ruling in favor of widow Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian who sued the federal government for charging her more than $363,000 in estate taxes after being denied the benefit of spousal deductions.

The court upheld a lower court’s decision in a 2-1 majority ruling and determined that America’s gay population “has suffered a history of discrimination” similar to that faced by women in years past. The case centered on the money Windsor wanted back, but it raised the more looming question of whether the federal government can continue to ignore a state’s recognition of her marriage and financially penalize her as a result.


‘Nonissue’

In February, the Obama administration ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the law, though a GOP-backed group has since taken up the issue in courts across the country. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Maryland, Washington, Maine and Minnesota are voting on the issue in November referendums. Five states — Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island — allow civil unions that provide rights similar to marriage.

For her part, Windsor said she wants Thursday’s decision to be “part of the beginning of the end” so that married homosexual couples someday will be viewed the same as heterosexual ones in the government’s eyes. And she wants the entire issue of a person’s sexual orientation to soon become a nonissue when it comes to marriage in American society.

Are you in favor if the Defense of Marriage Act? Feel free to share your thoughts regarding this issue!

Source: CNN

Image: Mother Nature Network