Supreme Court Rules on DOMA and Prop 8: A Great Day to Be Gay

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In a pair of decisions on Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed marriage equality supporters major victories, striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and paving the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

The 5-4 decision in the DOMA case deemed the 17-year-old measure that President Bill Clinton signed into law unconstitutional because it denies equal protection rights to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law. The case, Windsor v. United States, involved Edith Windsor, a lesbian whose partner of 40 years died in 2009. Under DOMA, the federal government didn’t recognize their marriage, which meant Windsor was unable to claim tax benefits provided to heterosexual couples and was left with a large estate tax bill. (See Adam Serwer’s explanation of the case.)

“DOMA contrives to deprive some couples married under the laws of their State, but not other couples, of both rights and responsibilities,” Justice Anthony Kennedy declared in the majority opinion.

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Supreme Court Rules on DOMA and Prop 8: A Great Day to Be Gay

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