The Supreme Court today issued two major decisions favoring same-sex marriage.
In its first move, the court ruled that a significant portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, saying it "violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the federal government."
"DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court.
In the second case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, the court essentially allowed same-sex marriages to resume in California. The court said that supporters of the state ban on same-sex marriages, 2008's Proposition 8, couldn't challenge a lower court's decision striking it down.
The first case, United States v. Windsor, challenged the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996, which defines marriage as " only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." (It also says states don't have to recognize other states' same-sex marriages; there is debate over how today's ruling will affect that part of the law.) In the case, the widow of a same-sex union recognized by New York sued to receive a federal tax refund on estate taxes she paid—something she would have received had she married a man.
The court's ruling will take effect immediately. It does not automatically establish a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, but rather said the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages if they are allowed by states.
President Barack Obama already rescinded his support for DOMA in 2011, when ...