The Defense of Marriage Act has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision, it was announced on Wednesday (June 26). The swing justice was Kennedy, who joined in the majority opinion with the four judges considered the most liberal on the court (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan).
Roberts, Scalia and Alito all filed dissenting opinions. Thomas also dissented, but did not write an opinion.
The court says, “The federal government cannot disparage marriages recognized by the states,” which means that legally married gay men and women are entitled to claim the same federal
benefits that are available to opposite-sex married couples, such as joint tax filing or Social Security benefits.
Kennedy writes for the majority, “DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of
persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.”
President Obama tweets of the DOMA decision, “Today’s DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality. #LoveIsLove.”
SCOTUS also chose not to rule on the merits of Prop 8, which means the appellate judge’s 2010 ruling that it is unconstitutional stands.