• DOMA Is Dead And Gays Can Marry In California

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    supreme court doma prop 8 california

    John Lewis, left, and his partner Stuart Gaffney embrace as they react next to Andrea Shorter after the Supreme Court decision at the office of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at City Hall in San Francisco, Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a U.S. law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in the state of 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. The other 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. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)


    Gays are now one step closer to widespread overpriced weddings, even costlier divorces, and breakups so severe that only vintage Mary J. Blige and generic anti-depressants can help dampen the pain.

    Clearly, I’m ecstatic over the Supreme Court ruling that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as their heterosexual counterparts, invalidating a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act that prevented married gay couples from accessing an array of benefits related to taxes, health care and retirement benefits.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the court’s opinion, said:

    “The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to 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.”

    Kennedy was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito each filed dissenting opinions.

    Captain Hate-A-Gay, Justice Scalia, kept it funky and foolishly hypocritical, per usual:

    To be sure (as the majority points out), the legislation is called the defense of Marriage Act. But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “disparage,” “injure,” “degrade,” “demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homosexual.

    Mind you, Scalia is the same person who compared laws banning homosexual conduct as on par with those that ban murder, pedophilia, and bestiality. The one who argued, “Many Americans do not want persons who openly engage in homosexual conduct as partners in their business, as scoutmasters for their children, as teachers in their children’s schools, or as boarders in their home. They view this as protecting themselves and their families from a lifestyle that they believe to be immoral and destructive.”

    In his dissent, Scalia added, ”As I have observed before, the Constitution does not forbid the government to enforce traditional moral and sexual norms.”

    Those who support marriage equality must keep fighting, state-by-state, for to make sure Justice Scalia’s last words are, “Damn those successful sissies!”

    While the death of DOMA is cause for celebration, it was not about whether or not gay couples can get married. The cause of suit was to determine whether same sex spouses can extend federal benefits to each other. Still, this ruling matters for more than just a moral victory. With this ruling, married same-sex couples should now be able to sponsor foreign partners — a hang up in the immigration reform bill (i.e. the Leahy amendment). Moreover, in terms of health care, same-sex spouses will be seen as dependents in calculating tax subsidies.

    As for Prop 8, the court cleared the way for marriage in the State of California, allowing it to join the other 12 states along with the District of Columbia that allow gay couples to marry. Chief Justice Roberts, speaking for the 5-4 majority, noted that the private sponsors of Prop 8 did not have legal standing to appeal after the ballot measure was struck down by a federal judge in San Francisco.

    Unfortunately, it is not the case that would allow the Supreme Court to rule that marriage equality is the law of the land nationwide.

    In fact, if you listen very, very carefully, you can hear Chief Justice Roberts speed-racing away from the marriage equality issue for now. He won’t have much time, though. Pew poll numbers show 51 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage with 14 percent saying they’ve changed their minds and now lend their support to the issue. Also, 72 percent believe legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable, regardless of whether they support or oppose it.

    As happy as I am for marriage equality making meaningful gains today, I can’t help but note the irony in Scalia opining, ”We have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation.” And yet, the Voting Rights Act was gutted yesterday.

    Surreal.

    What a strange Supreme Court we have.

    Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick

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