Supreme Court Decisions: DOMA Struck Down; Prop 8 Vacated

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A gay marriage supporter in front of the Supreme Court during DOMA oral arguments. (Jennifer Vanasco/WNYC)

Today is the last day the Supreme Court will issue opinions this summer, and two key rulings on gay marriage are expected. We provide the breaking news and analysis all morning with William Eskridge of Yale Law School, author of Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America.

  • In a 5-4 vote, Supreme Court rules that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Here is the opinion.
  • On California's Prop 8, the court has vacated the case, making gay marriage legal once again (for now) in California.

Comments [34]


Somewhere down the line perhaps government will truly just get out of the bedroom, legislating only when sexual activity is predatory and/or non-consensual. (I would still hope pedophilia, adultery, and polygamy would be considered both morally and legally unacceptable.)

...And marriage (or whatever term future generations will prefer) would be a social/civil contract between individuals-- straight, gay, lesbian, tg,... EVEN SAME SEX HETERO COUPLES...and the civil society, to facilitate formation of domestic economic units, options to raise children, advantage of appropriate entitlement benefits, and enjoyment of acceptance, equality, and acknowledgement. Perhaps both economic disadvantages and divorce rates could be reduced, and healthy "modern families" would not be outlined by artificial taboos.

What if...?

Jun. 26 2013 08:31 PM
Ed from Larchmont

The decision will have lots of consequences that are not yet seen.

Jun. 26 2013 07:13 PM
fuva from harlemworld

David, nah. Not at all.
(And seems that rape was the issue there.)

Jun. 26 2013 03:27 PM
Kyle from New York

I wonder if, in 20 years, we will see a reversal of this ruling when the minority population is ethnically redefined? Unlike in South Africa during apartheid, I think it will be hard for the top percent to hold on to power simply on the basis of race.

Jun. 26 2013 01:21 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

fuva from harlemworld
"Congratulations people. God bless."

Just like he blessed Sodom & Gomorrah?

Jun. 26 2013 12:30 PM

gay marriage is not a problem for me but it was the African American vote that pushed Prop 8 over the top in California.

Jun. 26 2013 12:13 PM
John A

Equality can be just an entitlement mantra. He has that. I want that. I am not being treated equally.

Jun. 26 2013 11:49 AM
Maria from Parke SlopeBrooklyn

Gays may not all understand that if legally married, their incomes will, for tax purposes, be combined and they will therefore be paying much higher income tax. I myself (female) and my partner (male) have not married for this reason. And "filing separately" will not exclude someone from this law.

Jun. 26 2013 11:49 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Moshe, if the good people of California voted to ban inter-racial marriage or force "non-christian" kids to recite the rosary in public schools, you wouldn't have a problem with that?

We live in America, not Iran. God help us all.

Jun. 26 2013 11:47 AM

You seem to be very concerned about voting rights except when the people of California chose in their wisdom or folly to restrict marriage rights, at which point you seem very happy to say to heck with their voting rights - we Liberals know better!

Jun. 26 2013 11:39 AM
Cesar from Manhattan

Perhaps Tina Turner said it best: "All we want is life beyond Thunder DOMA."

Jun. 26 2013 11:36 AM
The Truth from Becky

Ridiculous. That entire analogy by Daniel sums up the entire situation.

Jun. 26 2013 11:36 AM

I was unclear to be brief.
Since soldier's spouses are invited to live on base I assume gay couples may now live on base (unless they are fearful of abuse from other soldiers.

Jun. 26 2013 11:36 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

"Divorce! Heaven forbid?" What has heaven got to do with state marriage or gay marriage? Real marriage is an oath before God. It's the only form that invokes "heaven" at all.

Jun. 26 2013 11:36 AM

User TomCrisp posted an excellent question below that I would also like answered. 😄

Please ask your experts their comment on this line from Scalia's dissent on DOMA:

“We have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation."

It seems that "invalidating democratically adopted legislation" is exactly what Scalia did yesterday regarding the Voting Rights Act. He appears to be blatantly claiming that the court should do one thing on Monday and another on Wednesday. Does he believe it's the court's job to decide constitutionality of legislation or not?

Jun. 26 2013 11:28 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Yay! It's the end game for "state" marriage altogether! It's time to end state marriage and related subsidies altogether.

Jun. 26 2013 11:27 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Gay activists should have never exposed themselves and "their rights" to a proposition.

Could you imagine Blacks, Jews, Catholics, or anyone - allowing what they think are "their constitutional rights" to equality, to be decided by a proposition?

State props are great for things like legalizing drugs and taxes, not for deciding equality.

One should never allow his/her right to equality to be decided by the will of the majority. That is why we have a constitution.

Jun. 26 2013 11:27 AM
The Truth from Becky

No gay housing...why fight so hard to be equal, for equality to separate yourself again?

Jun. 26 2013 11:25 AM

Gay housing on base?

Jun. 26 2013 11:22 AM

When my wife was a medical student and did not have her own health insurance, she was on my insurance plan. This cost us $2000 per year in extra taxes (on the value of her portion of my health plan), an amount that was a serious burden when our total combined income was only $35,000. We are now expecting our second child and will be able to save significant money by not paying these extra taxes - money much needed to pay for daycare.

Jun. 26 2013 11:22 AM
tom from astoria

What does this say about George W. Bush's, Carl Rove engineered, 2004 re-election? The main pillar of their strategy has proven to be ENTIRELY REACTIONARY--History could hardly move faster in proving how backwards-looking the ANTI_GAY MARRIAGE VALUES CAMPAIGN WAS!!! AND THEY WON THE PRESIDENCY ON THIS 8 yrs ago!

Jun. 26 2013 11:19 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Congratulations people. God bless.

Jun. 26 2013 11:15 AM

The setbacks of VRA and the DOMA victory are actually quite similar and both negatively effect lower income and minority individuals. Marriage privilege in any form is discriminatory against those who have no legal partner as well as single parents. Marriage privilege continues to support conservative Christian standards, exactly what VRA has always fought against.

Jun. 26 2013 11:15 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Does the decision overturning DOMA have any effect on whether states that don't have legal same-sex marriage have to recognize the married status of same-sex couples who got married in states that do have it?

Jun. 26 2013 11:15 AM
Peter from Washington Heights


I've been legally married to my husband in NY since 2011. For years he's been covered me on his company health care plan, but had to pay income tax on my portion of the coverage as the federal government considered that income to him. I'm glad we'll be treated equally now.

Jun. 26 2013 11:14 AM
rj from prospect hts

Comment From Morgan
Will the Federal Full Faith And Credit Clause force states that do not recognize gay marriage to recognize a marriage that was legal in another state? From Kevin: A different section of DOMA says that states do not have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. That provision was not challenged in today's decision. So the constitutionality of that provision remains an open question.

Jun. 26 2013 11:12 AM
Soldier's Father from Westchester, NY

Brian: You and your guest left out the decision's effect on veterans' benefits.

Jun. 26 2013 11:12 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@ Well said Tom. I was "disappointed" by Scalia's dissent. He is a supposed absolutist who believes in "states rights" and resisting Federal overreach only when it fits his moral agenda.

Most self-respecting TRUE conservatives, no longer support DOMA on the principle of "states' rights."

Jun. 26 2013 11:07 AM

Re: prop 8, it's troubling that the people can pass a proposition and the governor can just choose to ignore it.
So can the governor of Washington state continue to arrest people for having marijuana if she wants to.
What's the point of these props then?

Jun. 26 2013 11:07 AM
Henry from NYC

I have been together with my partner for nearly 14 years and it has been a constant roller coaster ride as he is not a US citizen. We nearly had to go in exile to Canada at one point so we could stay together as his work visa was expiring.

Now that DOMA has been struck down all the many binational couples have the chance to be fairly treated under immigration law. It seems they may finally stop deporting our families!

There's more info. at

Jun. 26 2013 11:03 AM
susie from brooklyn

I'm wondering how the DOMA decision applies to immigration, if at all. Would an American citizen in a binational gay relationship now be able to sponsor their spouse in a state where gay marriage is legal?

Jun. 26 2013 10:49 AM
John A

I appreciate naturally produced children in raised in two parent households. How do we specifically support that, now that marriage rights are growing to an amorphous entitlement blob?

Jun. 26 2013 10:49 AM

Please ask your experts their comment on this line from Scalia's dissent on DOMA:

“We have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation."

It seems that "invalidating democratically adopted legislation" is exactly what Scalia did yesterday regarding the Voting Rights Act. He appears to be blatantly claiming that the court should do one thing on Monday and another on Wednesday. Does he believe it's the court's job to decide constitutionality of legislation or not?

Jun. 26 2013 10:47 AM
Gin from NJ

After Citizens United and yesterday's voting rights decision, among others, it is refreshing to learn that SCOTUS has now struck down DOMA. I am so happy for the entire LGBT community, and for those who know and love them as well.

Jun. 26 2013 10:32 AM

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