America is finally a place where there's liberty and justice for ALL! In a landmark case, the Supreme Court of the United States has declared a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Ding, dong, DOMA is (almost) dead, and marriage equality is alive and well!
Up until today, the act, which has been on the books since the Clinton administration, prevented same-sex married couples from getting the same benefits as straight couples. Talking about gay rights was controversial, so controversial that SCOTUS saved its ruling for today, the last day of the high court's current session.
So what does the 5-4 vote from the justices mean for America?
Simply put, it means that the federal government can no longer deny gay couples the rights of their straight counterparts.
Killed by SCOTUS was "section three" of DOMA, the portion that allowed the federal government to discriminate against gays and lesbians based solely on their sexuality. Challengers argued that the section violates the constitution's "equal protection" promise, a fact confirmed by the high court today. Some 1,100 federal laws, including veterans' benefits, family medical leave, and tax laws, will be affected.
America? This is good news! This is a promise from our Supreme Court (and in no small way from the Obama Administration, which vowed not to fight for DOMA any longer) that gays and lesbians will no longer be treated as second class citizens simply because they were born loving people of the same gender.
Hopefully, this is news that will help in the fight to tear down the rest of DOMA, including a provision that allows the 30-plus states that still won't pass some sort of marriage equality law to ignore the legal (!) marriages gays and lesbians have gotten in the 22 states where same-sex marriages are recognized.
But hey, we have to start somewhere. And the death of DOMA's Section Three at the hands of the Supreme Court is somewhere good.
What is your take on this landmark case? Are you celebrating?
Image via Giullaume Paumier/Flickr