Today marks a landmark decision from the United States Supreme Court and a victory for the LGBT community. Clinton’s legacy of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is now dead. Even now, I am having to write this article through tears of joy! The unconstitutional, shamefully discriminatory DOMA has finally been put to rest.
The 5-4 decision found Justice Kennedy siding with the reliably progressive Justices Bader Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor. The ruling is quite clear, emphasizing that by ignoring state marriage law, the federal government violated the Fifth Amendment. It reads, in part:
The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and 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.
Of course, Scalia and his other school yard bullies (including homophobic Chief Justice Roberts) voted to keep DOMA intact. They put forward a few different rationales, but basically relied on the “gays are icky” defense. Sadly, Chief Justice Roberts who holds enormous power, has sent a clear message that he does not intend to treat all citizens equally or equitably.
Congratulations to Edie Windsor, whose steadfast insistence on having her marriage recognized moved this case forward. She is a true hero and her legal team deserves our thanks.
We still have a way to go. The patchwork of state-by-state marriage equality means that LGBT Americans get different rights based on where they live. This decision, however, makes it clear that marriage is marriage. That’s a huge step forward. Poor John Boehner who spent so much of our tax payer dollars defending DOMA. Is that a tear I see, Mr. Boehner?