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Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Ruled Unconstitutional!

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Categorized as Family Law

All I can say is, it’s about time…..to think that we even needed the court to decide this is sad, but its done.

The Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday by a 5-4 vote.

“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.”

Justice Kennedy delivered the court’s opinion, and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. And of course, no surprise, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito all filed dissenting opinions. Justice Clarence Thomas joined Scalia’s dissent in whole and parts of Alito’s opinion.

As Kennedy read the majority opinion from the bench, cries were heard in the courtroom when the justice delivered the verdict that DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment. A number of same-sex couples sitting in the audience looked up at the ceiling, while others wiped away tears.  It would have been a good day to be at the court to see this. Forget about the rally downtown on Friday for the Hawks, there should be a rally downtown to celebrate this ruling.

The ruling means that more than 100,000 gay and lesbian couples who are legally married will be able to take advantage of tax breaks, pension rights and other benefits that are available to other married couples.

The decision leaves in place another provision in the law that says no state is required to recognize gay marriages performed in any other state. That provision was not under challenge.  Some day Illinois will enter the real world…….

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