Gay marriage supporters react to DOMA, Prop 8 Supreme Court decisions

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The Supreme Court handed down two decisions Wednesday in what is looked at is a major victory for the gay rights movement. In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, while the court dismissed Prop 8 on standing, clearing the way for same-sex marriages in California, but avoiding precedent.

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Supreme Court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act
Couples legally married in Maryland will have access to federal marriage benefits

By John Fritze and Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun
2:37 p.m. EDT, June 26, 2013

WASHINGTON — A divided Supreme Court struck down a federal law Wednesday that prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage, a landmark decision that will make federal marriage benefits available to legally married same-sex couples for the first time in the nation’s history.

The ruling marks a historic victory for gay rights proponents, and a defeat at the national level for opponents who have also lost battles in several states, including Maryland, in
recent years.

The nation’s highest court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act is “unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons” as protected under the Fifth Amendment. The legal marriages of same-sex couples in states like Maryland — and New York, where the case was brought — must be recognized, the court found.

“By creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State, DOMA forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the court’s 5-4 majority opinion.

By this dynamic DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage.”

The court also issued a separate decision that leaves standing a California court’s decision to allow same-sex marriages there.

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