Defense of Marriage Act, Prop 8 case ruled unconstitutional

The United States Supreme Court just ruled that section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Constitution. This decision, in the ACLU's lawsuit on behalf of Edie Windsor, marks a watershed moment in the movement for LGBT equality. It's a monumental victory for Edie Windsor, for married same-sex couples, and for the bedrock American value of equality.

The Court also restored the freedom to marry in California. Dismissing the appeal by the proponents of Prop 8 (the folks who put it on the ballot) for lack of standing, the Court effectively re-instated the trial court decision from August 2010, which struck Prop 8 down as violating the U.S. Constitution. We congratulate the Perry team on their incredible achievement – persuading the Court to allow California to become the 13th state (and the District of Columbia) to embrace marriage for everyone.

Much remains to be done to bring the freedom to marry to everyone in America. But the momentum behind the freedom to marry today is unprecedented – just seven months ago, there were only 6 states plus DC where same-sex couples could marry, and none of those marriages were respected by the federal government. Now we have more than double that number, and have federal recognition as well. We made that progress at the ballot box, in state legislatures, in the courts today, and in conversations around kitchen tables all across the country.

Above text from the ACLU website. More detail at

My apologies to people in more progressive countries who have to watch us flounder towards equality...


radiosilence95's picture

I woke up this morning to

I woke up this morning to find my twitter feed flooded with equality hashtags and declarations that "Prop H8" and DOMA are dead. I couldn't have been happier! People will say that we still have a long way to go, but regardless of how many more steps we have to take, this is a huge victory for us. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if all 50 states or at least the majority of states have legalized gay marriage within the next decade or so.

Equality isn't coming, it's right here. People's attitudes are changing noticeably and more and more people are standing beside us. Today is a great day to be gay.

elph's picture

This is a major victory for equality

What is disturbing is the very tenuous backing for the decisions: all 3 this week have been 5:4. Not good!

And yesterday's decision on voting rights (also 5:4) should be an embarrassment for our democracy...

MacAvity's picture


So, federal recognition, yay, brilliant! Excellent, splendid!

But... I don't understand what they found unconstitutional about Proposition 8 - and if 8 is unconstitutional, how can any state ban gay marriage? I just don't get it...

jeff's picture


On DOMA, they only ruled on one piece of it rather than making a broad ruling about the legality of gay marriage.

When Prop 8 was struck down, the state is usually who has to defend upholding the law, but the state was all Democrats who supported marriage equality, so they refused to make a case against marriage equality. So, a state supreme court judge ruled that the anti-gay marriage people who put the referendum on the ballot could step in for the state and serve as the plaintiffs supporting the anti-gay marriage amendment since the state of California refused.

So, the Supreme Court today ruled that lower court ruling as unconstitutional, which means that ruling by the lower court is vacated, which means no one in California is willing to defend the law, which means the prior ruling stands that marriage equality is legal as no one is interested in opposing that ruling who is legally able to oppose that ruling.

"You don't know you're beautiful." - Harry Styles

Bosemaster42's picture


It is moving in the right direction though. Especially with federal recognition of same-sex marriage. I forget exactly where I had heard this, but I clearly remember a story regarding a male couple, who had been together for over 25-30 years or possibly longer. One of the men died and in his Will, he had bequeathed everything to his spouse. The state wouldn't recognize his spouse(can't remember what state) but they refused his spouse any benefits because he wasn't directly related to the man who had died. Nor did they recognize his relationship with the deceased. I thought that was grossly unfair and also made me realize you need more than just a Will and Testament to disperse your estate, especially if you're gay. I think this is a stepping stone to fair and equal recognition of that, hopefully.

PokemonGeek's picture

I like how gay marriage is

I like how gay marriage is now more likely to be made legal but I'm more than likely never get married considering no one wants me? :(

Poor is the man
Whose pleasures depend
On the permission of another
Love me, that's right, love me
I wanna be your baby
Wanting, needing, waiting
For you to justify my love
Hoping, praying
For you to justify my love
I'm open and ready