DOMA Goes Down

by Ryan on June 26, 2013

in Culture,Law,Media Bias,Politics

A key provision which denied certain federal benefits to gay couples in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in a 5-4 vote by the Supreme Court today.  The libs and conservatives voted predictably with Anthony O’Connor Kennedy being the swing vote.

Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy expressed that DOMA:

“…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….

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reasons of government decree, in visible and public ways… [and that] it prohibits them from being buried together in veterans’ cemeteries.”

The dissenters seem to want to leave the law-making to the elected branches of government.  Seemingly frustrated at the decision (highlights here), Justice Scalia read aloud that:

“We have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation…. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.”

Justice Alito wrote:

“The Constitution does not guarantee the right to enter into a same-sex marriage. Indeed, no provision of the Constitution speaks to the issue….  At present, no one—including social scientists, philosophers, and historians—can predict with any certainty what the long-term ramifications of widespread acceptance of same-sex marriage will be.  And judges are certainly not equipped to make such an assessment.”

In March, I predicted 6-3 that the court would strike down DOMA with Roberts joining the majority — so much for trying to predict John Roberts!  At the end of the day, only 3.4% of Americans identify themselves as LGBTQ according to a 2012 Gallup survey, so eventually any ruling going their way will have more impact in the media than much else, practically speaking.   Yet, I believe then as I believe now that the federal government should not give benefits or penalties for marriage of any kind — stop the social engineering and let the civil society handle it.

The other significant gay marriage issue ruled on today was Proposition 8, where Roberts and Scalia joined the majority in saying that those who argued Prop 8 did not have legal standing to appeal it.  So, it was a non-decision which leaves the lower court’s ruling in place, meaning that issue will be back soon enough.

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