Today, in two historic decisions the Supreme Court advanced LGBTQ rights. The first decision struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
The law barred recognition of same sex marriages by the Federal government when it came to issues of Social Security survivors’ benefits, insurance benefits, immigration and tax filing. In other words, legally married to someone of the same sex meant you weren’t entitled to any legal benefits.
The original law defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman as a husband and wife. The provision had been struck down by eight courts before the Supreme Court did the same today in the case United States vs. Windsor.
Now, couples who are married in one of the 12 states that allow same-sex marriage will not be denied rights on the federal level. If couples are married in a state that doesn’t allow same sex marriage, they’ll be able to bring their grievances to the Supreme Court. This decision, many believe, will open up the door way to allow same sex rights or marriage in all 50 states.
The majority opinion was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy who was appointed Ronald Reagan in 1988.
Shortly after this decision came down the Supreme Court also ruled on California’s controversial Prop 8 law. The law essentially reversed the Supreme Court’s decision recognizing same-sex marriage. The court ruled that the activists who put Prop 8 on California ballots in 2008 did not have the constitutional authority to do so. The ruling essentially bans Prop 8 and allows gay couples to marry in the state of California but will not have an impact on other states across the nation.
A great, historic step toward equality for the country.