Thursday, June 27, 2013

Equality wins in the USA

The US made two vital rulings on same-sex marriage last night. In the first, they found that the Defence of Marriage Act - which outlaws federal recognition of same-sex marriages - is unconstitutional:

"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," said the opinion, written by Kennedy and supported by a total of five of the nine court justices.

"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. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the fifth amendment."

In the second, the court found that the hate group in California seeking a review of the state court ruling overturning Proposition 8 did not have standing to do so, as they had no "personal stake" in the outcome. Or, in English, bigots are not affected by same-sex marriage. While they didn't decide the case on the merits, given their ruling on DOMA, that would have been a foregone conclusion - as is now any challenge to the constitutionality of state-level prohibitions. While it may still take some years for the constitutional dust to settle, marriage equality is now going to be the law of the land in the US.