SCOTUS Decisions on DOMA and Prop8: Gay Marriage Supporters Claiming Victory

Same Sex Couple Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decisions Wednesday in the United States v. Windsor case and the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.

United States v. Windsor

In a 5-4 decision, the Justices decided that under the equal protection clause in the Constitution, section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

Same-sex couples married in states in which gay marriage is legal will now be eligible receive full legal benefits from the federal government, such as income taxes and social security benefits.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.

From the opinion:

“…it violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government.”

Hollingsworth v. Perry

This one’s a little different. The Supreme Court said that the case wasn’t handled the way it should have been in the appeals process.

Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the proponents of Proposition 8 should not have defended it, as they did in the appeals process, because they have no legal right to defend it in court.

Because of that, the Justices decided that the appeals court’s ruling has no legal force. It sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with instructions to dismiss the appeal.

Reaction

Shortly after the rulings, Dallas First Baptist pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress issued a news release, criticizing the decisions:

“To equate gay marriage with heterosexual marriage is to devalue unique contributions that both mothers and fathers make in the lives of children. Princeton sociologist Sara McLanahan says there is no better environment to raise a child than one in which a child is connected to their biological father and mother. Though not always possible, government should support rather than devalue that arrangement.”

And gay rights advocates applauded the ruling. Equality Texas issued a news release as well:

“We are thrilled that lesbian and gay couples who are legally married will now have their marriages recognized by the Federal government. We are excited that Californians will now have a path to return the freedom to marry to their state”

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