Finally the US government has taken a stance on it’s most controversial social issue, same-sex marriage. This morning, the Supreme Court delivered a twin ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8, both in favor of the gay community and causing a righteous celebration among all equal rights supporters.
The first ruling, on DOMA – which denies federal benefits to same-sex marriages – was ruled by the US Supreme Court as unconstitutional. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment,” stated Justice Anthony Kennedy this morning, when he delivered the 5-4 ruling. With this decision, married gay couples within the 12 states that have legalized same-sex marriages will now receive the same federal benefits that opposite-sex marriages get. This includes tax, health and pension benefits, as well as hospital visitation rights.
The Supreme Court declined ruling on California’s Prop 8, leaving the lower-court’s decision to strike down Prop 8 in tact. California’s Prop 8 is a state amendement banning same-sex marriage that made it onto the ballot in 2008 and passed only 8 years after Prop 22 – legalizing and recognizing same-sex marriage in the state of CA – was passed. In another 5-4 victory, the case submitted to overturn the strike down of the Proposition was denied, clearing the way for same-sex marriages to resume in the great state of California.
The two rulings were greeted with huge crowds of cheering supporters of the LGBT community and Equal Rights Movement outside of the US Supreme Courthouse this morning. I don’t normally post about anything political, however this historical moment in US history will be forever remembered as – what will hopefully be – the beginning of a much bigger progression, the US government’s legalization of same-sex marriage.
President Obama, who is traveling to Africa on Air Force One today made a statement this morning on the rulings. “The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama said. “This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.”