The US Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday to strike down a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The historic decision makes it possible for legally-wed same-sex couples to claim federal benefits.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a central portion of a federal law that restricted the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples in a major victory for the gay rights movement.
The ruling, on a 5-4 vote, means that legally married gay men and women are entitled to claim the same federal benefits that are available to opposite-sex married couples.
The court was due to decide within minutes a second case concerning a California law that bans same-sex marriage in the state.
US Supreme Court ruling paves way for same-sex marriage in California
The US Supreme Court has declined to rule on California’s Proposition 8, a law banning same-sex marriage within the state. By deciding not to weigh in on the issue, a previous ruling by a federal court striking down the ban now stands, paving the way for same-sex marriage to be legalized in the state.
The US Supreme Court has paved the way for legalising same-sex marriage in California, after ruling 5-4 that supporters of the state’s ban on gay marriage could not appeal a previous decision to overturn the measure.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that the Defense of Marriage Act violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.
“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, also said the law imposes “a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the states.”
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia both wrote dissenting opinions.
By striking down Section 3 of the law, the court clears the way to more than 1,100 federal benefits, rights and burdens linked to marriage status.
As a result of Wednesday’s 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.
Date created : 2013-06-26