In a historic day, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and has paved the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California. In a 5-4 decision, the court has ruled the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act signed by President Clinton is unconstitutional. This means that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to claim the same federal benefits that are available to opposite-sex married couples. Minutes later the court announced supporters of the ban on same-sex marriage in California did not have standing to appeal a lower-court ruling that overturned the Proposition 8 ban. The court effectively gave the green light for at least some gay weddings to proceed in California because a federal judge’s original ruling that struck down the law will remain intact.
In his majority opinion in the DOMA case, Justice Kennedy writes: “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. 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.”