DOMA Goes Down in Defeat

Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority:

DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty. It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper.

DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others.

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.

By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is affirmed.

It is so ordered.

Now that the Defense of Marriage Act is dead and done, and Prop 8 is fallow, we also know the answer to the question I posed on May 2, 2013 — Did the Supreme Court Wait too Long to Stuff the Gays Back in the Closet? — “Yes!”

While I am overjoyed by those two decisions, I am still deeply disturbed by the court’s recent ruling on the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

The conservative majority on the Roberts Court issued another damaging and intellectually dishonest ruling on Tuesday. It eviscerated enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, in which Congress kept the promise of a vote for every citizen. But it did not rule on the constitutional validity of the idea that some places have such strong records of discrimination that they must seek federal approval before they may change their voting rules. Instead, the 5-to-4 ruling usurped Congress’s power and struck down the formula that it has repeatedly reauthorized to determine which states fall into that category.

Today in the USA, it’s better to be a sexual minority than a Racial one — and that, in every aspect and angle of yaw — is direct evidence that Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are limited Rights in America and not available for all the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

4 comments

  • Gordon Davidescu

    Let us also celebrate the failure of SB5 in Texas, which would have made it virtually impossible to get a legal abortion in the state of Texas — a great week for human rights indeed!

    • Unfortunately, the star of the SB5 debate, Democrat Senator Wendy Davis, will likely lose her seat in the next election because of the SCOTUS gutting of the Voting Rights Act:

      Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D), who captivated the country with her attempted 13-hour filibuster of a sweeping anti-abortion bill, likely would have lost her seat in 2012 to redistricting if not for the Voting Rights Act that was gutted Tuesday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

      MSNBC’s Zachary Roth reported earlier this month that Republican leaders in Texas tried to slice up Davis’ Fort Worth district in 2011 and move thousands of black and Hispanic voters into neighboring districts. But Davis challenged the move in federal court under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act — a part of the law rendered inoperable by the Supreme Court decision that struck down the heart of the law.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/wendy-davis-voting-rights-act_n_3500171.html

  • I am glad for your successes and sad for your failures. This is one are where the government of your country is so different to that in the UK and or Portugal. The level of governance at state level is much higher than the level of state/county governance than elsewhere. However I guess it is comparing apples and pears – in that because of the size of the USA and the act that most states are the size of England or Portugal , they do have to be governed as a country in their own right.

    I remember when doing some research years ago now on the age of consent and finding that could vary by five years or so depending on which state you were in. How a person is supposed to know the local state laws when travelling around the USA , I don’t know !

    • Yes, you’re right is a big mess. Gay couples who were legally married in one state had to be careful visiting other states because the protections were not equal.

      Good Samaritan laws are also wildly different from State to State. Pulling someone from a burning car in Nebraska is fine — you’re a hero — but in another state you could be charged with assault if the person was injured by your act of pulling them from the flames:

      http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_states_have_the_Good_Samaritan_law

      Recording phone conversations without permission is also an area of concern. In New York State, you may record a phone conversation without the other person’s consent. If you do exactly the same thing in New Jersey, you will be charged with a Class 3 Felony.

      http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100601213134AAHOmd1

      The Supreme Court split on sexuality and Race is fascinating. Obviously, sex is viewed now as not as dangerous as Race — in the controlling minds of the current majority power. It seems skin color is much more threatening in the daylight than what happens at home in the dark.

Share Your Thoughts:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s