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

Supreme Court Strikes Down Part Of Historic Voting Rights Law

Supreme Court Strikes Down Part Of Historic Voting Rights LawThe law passed at the height of America’s civil rights movement, when citizens in parts of the country were fighting each other and sometimes authorities over how skin color impacts a person’s place in a democracy. Now, it’s present and future are in doubt after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision Tuesday that key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are no longer valid.

‘Unfair barriers’

Tuesday’s ruling doesn’t change the fact it’s still illegal to discriminate against a person when it comes to voting. But it does change how some governments have been singled out. Unlike the rest of the nation, these municipalities, counties and states have had to get the federal government’s approval first before they made any changes to their voting laws and regulations.

Civil rights groups say the Voting Rights Act — specifically Section 5, the mechanism for the special treatment for some locales — has been an important tool in protecting minority voters from governments with a history of setting unfair barriers to the polls.


‘Equal voting process’

The law had been working in preventing “discriminatory voting changes,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. Specifically, he mentioned how it blocked Texas from adopting a new congressional redistricting map that would have “discriminated against Latino voters.” Holder also said the Voting Rights Act changed how South Carolina will implement a law requiring photo identification before being allowed to vote.

Obama characterized Tuesday’s ruling as a “setback,” even as he vowed his “administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process.”

This particular change in the Voting Rights Act — is it a good thing or a bad thing in general? Feel free to air out your comments below!

Source: Bill Mears and Greg Botelho | CNN

Image: Al-Rasub