By Jade Salazar
Fire up the smoke machines and put on your heels. It is time to celebrate. In a landmark and historic decision, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled DOMA unconstitutional by violating the “equal protection” clause of the Constitution.
Today, June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled in a 5-4 ruling that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Though DOMA itself defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, Section 3 denies legally married same-sex couples all 1,138 federal benefits that married opposite-sex couples are allotted.
Today’s ruling, brought to SCOTUS when 83-year old Edith Windsor was told to pay $363,000 in estate taxes when her partner of 42 years passed away, now means that all those 1,138 federal benefits will now be available to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. It means married couples will be able to file joint federal tax returns. It means honest, gay immigrants will no longer be forced to make the decision between entering into a sham marriage or leaving the country and separating from their loved ones. It means that military spouses will get survivor benefits, housing allowance and relocation assistance. It also means that spouses of federal employees will receive health insurance and pension protection.
Though we still have a long road ahead of us in fighting Section 2 of DOMA, the section that gives states the ability to not recognize a same-sex couple’s marriage even if they were legally married in another state, today’s decision is an enormous leap for the gay rights and June 26 is a date that will be celebrated for years to come.
The United States Supreme Court has declined to take up Proposition 8, the amendment of the California constitution defining marriage between one man and one woman.
“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statue when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here.”
This means that the Ninth Circuit court had no jurisdiction to consider the appeal and gay marriage is once again legal and will continue in the state of California.
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