- The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a United States federal law that allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states.
- Prop 8 was a measure that added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
The DOMA vote count was as follows: Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan voted to strike down DOMA while Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito filed dissenting opinions.
Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion which he also read aloud…"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…. DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty… DOMA writes inequality into the entire United States Code".
That wasn't the end of the good news though! In another 5-4 vote the Court also dismissed the Prop 8 appeal on standing, which clears the way for same-sex couples to marry in California. They stated that private parties do not have "standing" to defend California's voter-approved ballot measure barring gay and lesbian couples from state-sanctioned wedlock. The ruling clears the way for same-sex marriages in California to resume. Once again a huge victory for gay rights and marriage equality.
The Prop 8 vote count was as follows: Justices Roberts, Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan voted to strike down Prop 8 and Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, Sotomayor filed dissenting opinions.
Within hours of Prop 8 being voted down, California's Gov. Jerry Brown said, "I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state's counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted."
Yesterday President Obama said before the ruling: “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free,”. Today after the ruling had been reached he wrote "This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it,"
Damn straight! ... Bad pun totally intended.
Here are some pictures of people celebrating today's decisions…