Supreme Court STRIKES DOWN Defense of Marriage Act paves way for gay marriage to resume in California
In a pair of landmark decisions, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of gay marriage, and it allowed gay marriage to resume in California by declining to decide a separate case. The court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to gay couples who are legally married in their states, including Social Security survivor benefits, immigration rights and family leave. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-4 decision, said that the act wrote inequality into federal law and violated the Fifth Amendment’s protection of equal liberty. “DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he wrote.
In the second case, the court said that it could not rule on a challenge to Proposition 8, a ban on gay marriage in California passed by voters there in 2008. The court did not rule on the constitutionality of gay marriage, but the effect of the decision will be to allow same-sex marriage to resume there.