The Twittersphere is heavy with reactions from the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. On Wednesday they struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, making way for gay marriages in California.
What does this mean, exactly? The decisions by the court do not require the remaining 37 states to authorize same-sex marriage. The DOMA ruling will bring equal rights to more than 100,000 gays and lesbians who were legally married. According to the LA Times, the justices by a 5-4 vote said the federal law denying benefits to those couples was unconstitutional because it denied them the equal protection of the laws.
DOMA, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, prevented same-sex couples whose marriages were recognized by their home state from receiving the hundreds of benefits available to other married couples under federal law.
“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,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “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.”