Supreme Court Backs Gay Marriage in Twin 5-4 Votes

Strikes Down DOMA — Blocks California Gay Marriage Ban

Historic Decision: Couple celebrates the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. The court also blocked California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8, although it stopped short of proclaiming a fundamental right to gay marriage.
Getty Images
Historic Decision: Couple celebrates the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. The court also blocked California’s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8, although it stopped short of proclaiming a fundamental right to gay marriage.

By Reuters

Published June 26, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 3)

“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,” Kennedy wrote.

Kennedy, often the court’s swing vote in close decisions, said the law imposed “a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the states.”

Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia both wrote dissenting opinions in the DOMA case.

Roberts went out of his way to state that the court was not making any big pronouncements about gay marriage. The court, he said, did not have before it the question of whether states “may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage.”

In Scalia’s lengthy opinion, a summary of which he read from the bench, he accused the majority of ignoring procedural obstacles about whether the court should have heard the case in order to reach its desired result.

“This is jaw-dropping,” he said of Kennedy’s analysis.

As a result of the DOMA ruling, Edith Windsor of New York, who was married to a woman and sued the government to get the federal estate tax deduction available to heterosexuals when their spouses die, will be able to claim a $363,000 tax refund.

One of Windsor’s lawyers in the Supreme Court case, Roberta Kaplan, said the decision “will be marked by future generations as a giant step forward along our nation’s continuing path towards equality.”

CHANGING LANDSCAPE

Numerous public figures including former President Bill Clinton, who in 1996 signed the DOMA law, and prominent groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics have come out this year in support of same-sex marriage and gay civil rights.

Individual members of Congress - Democrats and Republicans - also voiced new support for gay marriage this year.

Even with recent developments, there is still significant opposition among Republicans, including House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, who had ordered the House to intervene in the DOMA case in defense of the law. Boehner said in a statement he was “obviously disappointed in the ruling” and predicted that a “robust national debate over marriage” would continue.

While more developments lie ahead, the legal fight over gay marriage already constitutes one of the most concentrated civil rights sagas in U.S. history.

Just 20 years ago, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that its state constitution could allow gay marriage, prompting a nationwide backlash and spurring Congress and a majority of states, including Hawaii, to pass laws defining marriage as between only a man and woman.

In 2003, when the top court of Massachusetts established a right to same-sex marriage under its constitution, the action triggered another backlash as states then adopted constitutional amendments against such unions. Five years later, the tide began to reverse, and states slowly began joining Massachusetts in permitting gays to marry.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.