Supreme Court Strikes Federal Marriage Provision - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Supreme Court Strikes Federal Marriage Provision

Posted: Updated:
(Photo: CBS) (Photo: CBS)

WASHINGTON (AP)- In a major victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.
 
The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.
 
President Barack Obama praised the court's ruling on the federal marriage act, which he said "was discrimination enshrined in law."
 
"It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people," Obama said in a statement. "The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it."
 
The other high court decision was a technical legal ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court's declaration that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation's most populous state in about a month.
 
Obama telephoned his congratulations to the plaintiffs in the California case from Air Force One en route to Africa.
 
In a sign that neither victory was complete, the high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states. And a separate provision of the federal marriage law that allows a state to not recognize a same-sex union from elsewhere remains in place.
 
The ruling in that case was not along ideological lines. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.
 
"We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit," Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.
 
In the case involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court's liberal justices.
 
"Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways," Kennedy said.
 
"DOMA's principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal," he said.
 
Some in the crowd outside the court hugged and others jumped up and down just after 10 a.m. EDT Wednesday when the DOMA decision was announced. Many people were on their cell phones monitoring Twitter, news sites and blogs for word of the decision. And there were cheers as runners came down the steps with the decision in hand and turned them over to reporters who quickly flipped through the decisions.
 
Chants of "Thank you" and "USA" came from the crowd as plaintiffs in the cases descended the court's marbled steps. Most of those in the crowd appeared to support gay marriage, although there was at least one man who held a  sign promoting marriage as between a man and a woman.
 
Kennedy was joined in the DOMA decision by the court's four liberal justices.
 
Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, and Scalia dissented.
 
Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.
 
The outcome is clear for people who were married and live in states that allow same-sex marriage. They now are eligible for federal benefits.
 
The picture is more complicated for same-sex couples who traveled to another state to get married, or who have moved from a gay marriage state since being wed.
 
Their eligibility depends on the benefits they are seeking. For instance, immigration law focuses on where people were married, not where they live. But eligibility for Social Security survivor benefits basically depends on where a couple is living when a spouse dies.
 
The rulings came 10 years to the day after the court's Lawrence v. Texas decision that struck down state bans on gay sex. In his dissent at the time, Scalia predicted the ruling would lead to same-sex marriage.
 

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Delaware State Auditor Does Not Seek Re-election

    Delaware State Auditor Does Not Seek Re-election

    Feb 17, 2018 11:41 PM2018-02-18 04:41:00 GMT
    Saturday, February 17 2018 11:41 PM EST2018-02-18 04:41:58 GMT
    DOVER, De.- Delaware state auditor, Tom Wagner, has announced he will not seek re-election this year. Wagner was appointed to the position in 1989 and was elected to his seventh term in 2014. He’s one of two Republicans elected to statewide office. More
    DOVER, De.- Delaware state auditor, Tom Wagner, has announced he will not seek re-election this year. Wagner was appointed to the position in 1989 and was elected to his seventh term in 2014. He’s one of two Republicans elected to statewide office. More
  • Maryland Statehouse Hopeful Says He'll Still Hold Gun Raffle

    Maryland Statehouse Hopeful Says He'll Still Hold Gun Raffle

    Feb 17, 2018 9:16 PM2018-02-18 02:16:00 GMT
    Saturday, February 17 2018 9:16 PM EST2018-02-18 02:16:48 GMT
    A candidate for a Maryland House seat has pledged to hold a campaign fundraiser that includes raffling off an AR-15 assault rifle, the same type used in the Florida school shooting this week.More
    A candidate for a Maryland House seat has pledged to hold a campaign fundraiser that includes raffling off an AR-15 assault rifle, the same type used in the Florida school shooting this week.
    More
  • Freshmen Democrats See Most Bills Die in GOP-Led House

    Freshmen Democrats See Most Bills Die in GOP-Led House

    Feb 17, 2018 9:14 PM2018-02-18 02:14:00 GMT
    Saturday, February 17 2018 9:14 PM EST2018-02-18 02:14:01 GMT
    More than a dozen Democrats were elected to Virginia's House last fall, riding a wave of resentment against President Donald Trump. But they're having trouble keeping their bills alive in the Republican-led chamber.More
    More than a dozen Democrats were elected to Virginia's House last fall, riding a wave of resentment against President Donald Trump. But they're having trouble keeping their bills alive in the Republican-led chamber.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Teen Arrested for Threat Against High School

    Teen Arrested for Threat Against High School

    Feb 16, 2018 3:36 PM2018-02-16 20:36:00 GMT
    Friday, February 16 2018 4:07 PM EST2018-02-16 21:07:54 GMT
    Channing Fisher; Photo Credit: DPSDChanning Fisher; Photo Credit: DPSD
    Delaware State Police have arrested a Dover teenager after it was discovered that he made a threatening comment towards a high schoolMore
    Delaware State Police have arrested a Dover teenager after it was discovered that he made a threatening comment towards a high schoolMore
  • Bethany Beach Bans Canopies

    Bethany Beach Bans Canopies

    Feb 16, 2018 10:40 PM2018-02-17 03:40:00 GMT
    Friday, February 16 2018 10:40 PM EST2018-02-17 03:40:15 GMT
    BETHANY BEACH, Del.- Bethany Beach is the latest Delaware beach town to ban canopies. After the required second reading of the ordinance, the town council voted 6-1 on Friday to prohibit canopies, tents, tarps and similar shading devices on their beaches More
    BETHANY BEACH, Del.- Bethany Beach is the latest Delaware beach town to ban canopies. After the required second reading of the ordinance, the town council voted 6-1 on Friday to prohibit canopies, tents, tarps and similar shading devices on their beaches More
  • Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Charges

    Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Charges

    Feb 16, 2018 11:42 AM2018-02-16 16:42:00 GMT
    Friday, February 16 2018 11:42 AM EST2018-02-16 16:42:42 GMT
    Carolyn Faust & George Edwards; Photo Credit: DSPDCarolyn Faust & George Edwards; Photo Credit: DSPD
    Delaware State Police arrested two suspects after a traffic stop led to the discovery of drugs in the Cool Spring Farms development on Thursday night.More
    Delaware State Police arrested two suspects after a traffic stop led to the discovery of drugs in the Cool Spring Farms development on Thursday night.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices