Wednesday, June 26, 2013 , Updated 5:00 p.m., June 26, 2013
UPDATED: Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional
Decisions made Wednesday will not affect Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage.
United States v. Windsor
In a 5-4 decision, the Justices decided that under the equal protection clause in the Constitution, DOMA is unconstitutional.
Same-sex couples married in states in which gay marriage is legal will now be eligible receive full legal benefits from the federal government, such as income taxes and social security benefits.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion. He was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.
From the opinion:
“DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect. By doing so it violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government.”
Hollingsworth v. Perry
This one’s a little different. The Supreme Court didn’t exactly rule on the case. It said that the case wasn’t handled the way it should have been in the appeals process.
Hollingsworth v. Perry challenged the constitutionality of California’s Propostion 8, approved by voters in 2008. Prop 8 changed the California constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Two same-sex couples filed challenges to Proposition 8. They won their trial, but it was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. According to California law, California government officials should have defended the law. They didn’t. Instead, proponents of Proposition 8 did, and the California Supreme Court ruled that they could.
Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the proponents of Proposition 8 should not have defended it. It said they have no legal right to defend the law in court.
Because of that, the Justices decided that the appeals court’s ruling has no legal force. It sent the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit with instructions to dismiss the appeal.
It remains to be seen what this actually means for Proposition 8. It’s likely gone. For now, it seems that gays can get married in California.
This decision will not affect other states’ (including Texas’) constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.
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