Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, a vile and cowardly relic from the Clinton years, was today struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
By a 5-4 vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy writing in the majority opinion said DOMA was unconstitutional:
“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.”
Justice Kennedy delivered the court’s majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. As expected, the dissenters were Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas.
Today’s decision means that more than 100,000 gay and lesbian couples who are legally married will be able to take advantage of tax breaks, pension rights and some of the other 1,300 Federal benefits that are available to heterosexual married couples.