Supreme Court Kills DOMA, Dismisses Prop 8: Do You Agree with Decisions?

Gay rights advocate Vin Testa waves a rainbow flag in front of the Supreme Court at sun up in Washington, Wednesday, June 26, 2013.

The Defense of Marriage Act is dead.

The Supreme Court ruled that the federal act, which barred the federal government from recognizing the married status of gay couples (and thus denied those couples federal marriage benefits) was a violation of state rights and the fifth amendment rights of individuals.

“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,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the five-Justice majority. “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.”

Justices Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer signed onto the majority opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito all dissented.

The court also dismissed a case filed by supporters of California’s Proposition 8, which banned same sax marriage in California. The court ruled that the petitioners did not have proper standing to defend the law in court. That decision was also norrowly cast, 5-4.

What do you think? Did the Supreme Court get this ruling right? Should the federal government respect the marriage laws of all states, regardless of who those states allow to marry? Or is this a case of federalism run amok? Should the federal government have a say in who gets federal benefits no matter what the states decide? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

South End Patch