On Tuesday the Supreme Court struck down two key anti-gay laws: a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act preventing the Federal Government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal, and California’s voter-approved Proposition 8, which ended same-sex marriage rights in that state.
In a 5-4 decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan, writing the opinion striking down a key provision in DOMA in the case of Windsor v. the United States, calling the law a “deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment,” According to SCOTUSblog.com.
“DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty,” the decision reads.
The move could open the door to federal recognition of legally married same-sex couples who have wed in states where such nuptials are legal. Immigration rights experts hope the decision also means that American citizens will be able to sponsor their same-sex spouses for citizenship, something currently against the law.
The second gay marriage decision of the day struck down California’s Proposition 8 based on standing, vacating the 9th Circuit Court’s opinion, and upholding the U.S. District Court of California’s ruling, authored by Vaughn Walker.
“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to,” read the majority opinion in Hollingsworth v. Perry authored by Chief Justice John Roberts. “We decline to do so for the first time here.”
In the Hollingsworth opinion, Roberts was joined by Justices Scalia, Ginsberg, Breyer and Kagan.
Justices Scalia was joined by Justice Thomas in his dissent to the Windsor decision, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito both writing his own dissent, agreeing with Thomas in part.
In his dissent in Windsor, Scalia questions the level of scrutiny the majority applied to the law, where Alito’s dissent revolves around the question of standing, according to legal experts.
This story is developing, come back to the Blade for more throughout the day.