DOMA IS DEAD: Supreme Court Decides In Favor Of Equality In 5-4 Ruling

DOMA is dead, declared unconstitutional in a 5-4 ruling. Next: Prop 8. image#DOMA/Twitter

DOMA is dead, declared unconstitutional in a 5-4 ruling. Next: Prop 8. image#DOMA/Twitter

As anxious Americans waited around the country, and the global community watched from around the world, the question of how the Supreme Court would rule on DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, has been answered. It is unconstitutional.

In a stunning 5-4 vote, the Court ruled in favor of the civil rights of all Americans to marry:

“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,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “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.”

The law had declared that the federal government was not obligated to recognize the same-sex marriages of individual states in which they were legal. With that legal limitation declared unconstitutional, the normal and natural ability of same-sex couples to have their marriages deemed legal wherever they live or travel is established. From The Huffington Post:

Justice Kennedy delivered the court’s opinion, and 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 all filed dissenting opinions. [… ]

During the March oral arguments in United States v. Windsor, a majority of the court seemed to express doubts about the constitutionality of DOMA. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that supporters of the law seemed to want “two types of marriage,” likening same-sex unions to the “skim milk” version of marriage.

Activists and marriage equality supporters – and opponents – have been swarming the area outside the Supreme Court awaiting the ruling. There was tension and clear excitement, live and online, as the decision was deemed close, with the Twitter hashtag #DOMA lighting up with messages when word came down. Here are just a few:

DOMA Tweets

Given the deep disappointment of many over the SCOTUS ruling on voting rights, this was seen as a “welcome step back in the right direction,” as Ahmed Shihab-Eldin noted above. The next big decision, one certainly awaited in the state of California, is the ruling on Prop 8, the misguided bill that made same-sex marriage unconstitutional in that state. Word is expected soon….