The Supreme Court used a pair of anticipated rulings June 26 to strike a blow to traditional marriage in the United States. The ruling against the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), along with a decision to let stand a lower court ruling striking down California's Proposition 8 marriage protection amendment, had homosexual activists looking hopefully toward a full-blown legalization of same-sex marriage across the nation, and conservative, pro-family leaders vowing to continue their efforts to protect traditional marriage.
In the DOMA case, which has the most far-reaching consequences for marriage across America, the High Court struck down a key provision of the law barring “married” same-sex couples from receiving the same federal tax, health, and retirement benefits that traditional married couples enjoy. The American Center for Law and Justice explained that in effect, the 5-4 ruling means that “the federal government must provide the same benefits to same-sex spouses as opposite-sex spouses, if the same-sex marriage has been lawfully performed. In other words, if a gay couple is married in a state that recognizes gay marriage, then the federal government will recognize that marriage on the same basis as a traditional marriage.”
Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy argued that the “avowed purpose and practical effect of [DOMA] are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States. 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.”
Kennedy — an erstwhile “conservative” justice whose siding with Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan made the majority — opined that the “principal effect” of DOMA was to “identify and make unequal a subset of state-sanctioned marriages. It contrives to deprive some couples married under the laws of their State, but not others, of both rights and responsibilities, creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State. It also forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect.”
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