U.S. Supreme Court Gives Big Boost to Same-Sex Marriage
by Richard Wolf and Brad Heath, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON D.C.— The Supreme Court delivered a double-barreled boost to the cause of same-sex marriage from Maine to California Wednesday by acting boldly in one case and backing off in another.
Precisely a decade after it struck down all remaining state laws banning sodomy, the court declared a key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional on equal protection grounds. But the justices took no stand on the merits of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, leaving a lower court’s decision that overturned Proposition 8 as the last word.
The results, though subject to some dispute, appeared to move in one historic direction: Most gay and lesbian couples legally married in 12 states and the District of Columbia will become eligible for the federal benefits that DOMA had denied. And within a month, same-sex couples in the nation’s most populous state could be exchanging wedding vows after a five-year hiatus.
The dual decisions, rendered by separate coalitions of liberal and some conservative justices, gave the high court’s mixed blessing to a gay-marriage movement that has gained momentum in the past decade and now stands on the threshold of full equality.
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