I could sense something good was going to happen as early as this spring, but you never know.
And today, it happened.
The Supreme Court by it’s 5-4 ruling has declared Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
This really is a states rights issue. How could those legally married in states that allow gay marriages be denied federal benefits given to straight wedded couples? That’s discrimination, and shouldn’t be allowed. The court concurred.
So if you’re in one of the states where same-sex marriage is legal, this is an especially great day.
The DOMA refutation was expected. It wasn’t clear what the court would do with Prop. 8, the same-sex marriage ban voted in by the state. When it was challenged and California officials wouldn’t defend the ban, the proposition’s leadership went to court to defend its constitutionality. But the high court in the way it acted, chose to sidestep ruling directly on same-sex marriage. It simply ruled that the Prop.8 folks didn’t have standing, or the right to argue the matter. So the case is sent back to the 9th circuit with orders to dismiss the case, and based on reports, same-sex marriages can resume again in California.
The Pride Parade in San Francisco on Sunday is going to be extraordinarily celebratory.
After the disappointing decisions on affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act this week, the Supreme Court gives us something to cheer about.
No warm champagne toasts on these decisions.
I think my initial predictions will hold up. Prop. 8 goes back, and same-sex marriage resumes in California only. DOMA however goes dormant, if not totally dead. DOMA doesn’t make sense, but to predict exactly how SCOTUS will come down on it isn’t really clear. Kennedy talking states’ rights and against Federalism could sway the conservatives, who may want to do nothing and let the Obama Administration have the courage of their convictions, i.e., if it’s a bad law, don’t enforce it. But who wants to deal with principles in Washington?
Then again, SCOTUS can’t not do something. As Kennedy pointed out there is a definite victim with the estate tax burden on the plaintiff.
The court can be so stuffy that anytime someone shows some humanity or levity, it brings oxygen to the brain. That makes Justice Ginsburg high-point scorer for the Wednesday session by pointing out the problem with denying same-sex couples the basic rights afforded to other marrieds under federal law. The two-tiered, second class argument works here. But as Ginsburg put in dairy terms, that’s “skimmed milk marriage.”
She totally skipped 2 percent marriage.
And then, what about the vegans?
Do I have a coconut milk marriage? (You can have non-dairy, no-sugar, good fat Coconut Milk, Trader Joe makes the best one I’ve tasted. We’re talking alternatives that complete the metaphor).
See my original predictions at www.aaldef.org/blog