Supreme Court erases provision of Defense of Marriage Act - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Supreme Court erases provision of Defense of Marriage Act

Posted: Updated:
Edith Windsor on Oct. 18, 2012 (AP) Edith Windsor on Oct. 18, 2012 (AP)
Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Steir enter Supreme Court on June 26, 2013. (AP) Proposition 8 plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Steir enter Supreme Court on June 26, 2013. (AP)
WASHINGTON -

In a major victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.
    
The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.
    
President Barack Obama praised the court's ruling on the federal marriage act, which he said "was discrimination enshrined in law."
    
"It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people," Obama said in a statement. "The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it."
    
The other high court decision was a technical legal ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court's declaration that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation's most populous state in about a month.

Timeline of same-sex marriage

Obama telephoned his congratulations to the plaintiffs in the California case from Air Force One en route to Africa.
    
In a sign that neither victory was complete, the high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states. And a separate provision of the federal marriage law that allows a state to not recognize a same-sex union from elsewhere remains in place.
    
The ruling in that case was not along ideological lines. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.
    
"We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit," Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.
    
In the case involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court's liberal justices.
    
"Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways," Kennedy said.
    
"DOMA's principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal," he said.
    
Some in the crowd outside the court hugged and others jumped up and down just after 10 a.m. EDT Wednesday when the DOMA decision was announced. Many people were on their cell phones monitoring Twitter, news sites and blogs for word of the decision. And there were cheers as runners came down the steps with the decision in hand and turned them over to reporters who quickly flipped through the decisions.
    
Chants of "Thank you" and "USA" came from the crowd as plaintiffs in the cases descended the court's marbled steps. Most of those in the crowd appeared to support gay marriage, although there was at least one man who held a  sign promoting marriage as between a man and a woman.
    
Kennedy was joined in the DOMA decision by the court's four liberal justices.
    
Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, and Scalia dissented.
    
Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.
    
The outcome is clear for people who were married and live in states that allow same-sex marriage. They now are eligible for federal benefits.
    
The picture is more complicated for same-sex couples who traveled to another state to get married, or who have moved from a gay marriage state since being wed.
    
Their eligibility depends on the benefits they are seeking. For instance, immigration law focuses on where people were married, not where they live. But eligibility for Social Security survivor benefits basically depends on where a couple is living when a spouse dies.
    
The rulings came 10 years to the day after the court's Lawrence v. Texas decision that struck down state bans on gay sex. In his dissent at the time, Scalia predicted the ruling would lead to same-sex marriage
 

What do you think? Let us know on Facebook

Timeline: Evolution of same-sex marriage

 

  • U.S.More>>

  • House approves VA health care overhaul

    House approves VA health care overhaul

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:09 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:09:13 GMT
    With a new Veterans Affairs secretary in place and an August recess looming, Congress is moving quickly to approve a compromise bill to refurbish the VA and improve veterans' health care.
    The House overwhelmingly approved a landmark bill Wednesday to refurbish the Veterans Affairs Department and improve veterans' health care.
  • Probe exposes flaws behind HealthCare.gov rollout

    Probe exposes flaws behind HealthCare.gov rollout

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:38 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:38:05 GMT
    Officials tell The Associated Press that a nonpartisan investigative report concludes that management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for the computer problems that paralyzed the HealthCare.gov...
    Management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for the computer woes that paralyzed the president's new health care program last fall, nonpartisan investigators said in testimony released Wednesday.
  • UPDATE

    Passenger dies on flight from Hawaii to Phoenix

    Passenger dies on flight from Hawaii to Phoenix

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:30 PM EDT2014-07-30 16:30:01 GMT
    The woman, who was in her 50s, was unconscious and had no pulse when the plane landed in Phoenix on Wednesday morning.
    The woman, who was in her 50s, was unconscious and had no pulse when the plane landed in Phoenix on Wednesday morning.
  • Franklin County accident causes lane closures on Brooks Mill Road

    State Trooper injured in accident on Brooks Mill Road

    State Trooper injured in accident on Brooks Mill Road

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 3:31 PM EDT2014-07-30 19:31:25 GMT
    State Police confirm that a trooper was involved in a crash Tuesday night.
    State Police confirm that a trooper was involved in a crash Tuesday night.
  • Fugitive sex offender captured in Roanoke

    Fugitive sex offender captured in Roanoke

    Fugitive sex offender captured in Roanoke

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 12:41 AM EDT2014-07-30 04:41:44 GMT
    ROANOKE (WSLS) - A man wanted for sex crimes against a minor was captured in Roanoke during a traffic stop.
    ROANOKE (WSLS) - A man wanted for sex crimes against a minor was captured in Roanoke during a traffic stop.
  • Roanoke Police investigate shots fired incident

    Roanoke Police investigate shots fired incident

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-07-30 02:37:03 GMT
    On July 29, 2014 at 6:08 p.m. Roanoke Police were dispatched to the 1200 block of Orange Avenue NE to investigate a shots fired call. Immediately upon arrival officers detained several subjects believed to have been involved in the incident. The preliminary investigation suggests the individuals involved were traveling in two different vehicles on Hollins Road when at least one of the occupants in one of the vehicles starting shooting at the other vehicle. The vehicles separated briefly and t...
    On July 29, 2014 at 6:08 p.m. Roanoke Police were dispatched to the 1200 block of Orange Avenue NE to investigate a shots fired call. Immediately upon arrival officers detained several subjects believed to have been involved in the incident. The preliminary investigation suggests the individuals involved were traveling in two different vehicles on Hollins Road when at least one of the occupants in one of the vehicles starting shooting at the other vehicle. The vehicles separated briefly and t...
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.