Guest / Limited Access /
Ministry Leaders and Experts Respond to the DOMA and Prop. 8 Rulings
Win McNamee / Getty

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President Barack Obama already rescinded his support for DOMA in 2011, when ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueAdding Criminal Justice Reform to Prison Ministry
Subscriber Access Only Adding Criminal Justice Reform to Prison Ministry
Churches and ministries are becoming increasingly involved in prison reform.
Current IssueThe Good (and Bad) News About Christian Higher Education
Subscriber Access Only
The Good (and Bad) News About Christian Higher Education
‘Christian colleges are as strong as they’ve been since the 1920s,’ says historian William Ringenberg. But there are challenges on the horizon.
RecommendedThe Casserole-Toting Church Ladies Hold the Secret To Happiness
The Casserole-Toting Church Ladies Hold the Secret To Happiness
I found unexpected heroes—and a model for faithful living—in the elderly women at my church.
TrendingBen-Hur
Ben-Hur
A new twist on the tale of the Christ.
Editor's PickA Lament for Louisiana After the Floods
A Lament for Louisiana After the Floods
As I grieve the tragedy in my home state, I’ve found solace in a surprising place.
Christianity Today
Ministry Leaders and Experts Respond to the DOMA and Prop. 8 ...
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

June 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.