Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA; Permits Gay Marriage In California
The Supreme Court struck down California’s section three of the Defense Of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, effectively gutting the law Wednesday morning, ruling it violated the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The court also refused to rule on the California law known as Proposition 8 because the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to bring the suit. The decision effectively means that gay marriages can resume in California.
The Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional in a 5-4 vote. “DOMA violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the federal government. Under DOMA same sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways. By its great reach DOMA touches many aspects of married life from the mundane to the profound," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority. "DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment."
President Barack Obama lauded the decision. “Today's DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality. #LoveIsLove,” he tweeted. Obama also released a statement congratulating the Supreme Court on its decision. "The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free," he wrote.
Justices Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan voted DOMA down. Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented from the majority opinion.
DOMA was enacted in September 1996. Section three restricted federal marriage benefits to opposite-sex couples and required that the inter-state marriage recognition be restricted to opposite-sex marriages.