In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage cases, the greater gay community in Pittsburgh held a rally from 9:30 a.m. until noon closing liberty avenue from 9th to 10th street. The ruling was watched live as the rally brought in a television screen, stage and speakers so supporters could watch. Two historic cases on same sex marriage were decided today. A case challenging Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and a challenge to California’s Proposition 8 were the two cases the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice John Roberts decided. DOMA was ruled unconstitutional in a 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy as it violates the 5th Amendment. The Supreme Court declined to rule on Proposition 8 based on procedural and technical issues so the California Supreme Court’s ruling that declared Prop 8 unconstitutional remains.
“DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty,” Kennedy wrote. “It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper.”
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a federal law passed by both houses of congress and signed into legislation by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. DOMA prohibited same-sex marriages from federal benefits even if they lived in a state that recognized same-sex marriage. These benefits commonly include but are limited to insurance benefits, Social Security benefits, immigration, estate tax and the filing of joint tax returns. The challenge to DOMA was filed by New York widower Edith Windsor who inherited her late wife’s home and was subjected higher property taxes that she would not have incurred if she married a man.
California’s Proposition 8 bans same-sex marriage in the state. The civil issue arose to the Supreme Court as California had recognized same-sex marriage in June 2008, but with the passing of Proposition 8 in November 2008 these marriages were not recognized. This has been battled in the Courts since 2008 prior to reaching Supreme Court issue on appeal. The Supreme Court declined to rule based on procedural and technical issues. The courts also questioned the legality of the group defending Proposition 8.
Currently five U.S. states allow civil unions and not marriage to same-sex couples. Washington D.C and eight states allow same-sex marriages. Click this link to see where your State stands http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/human-services/civil-unions-and-dome….
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