June 26, 2013

Victory for Human Rights Today at Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court building.
U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The U.S. Supreme Court made history today by striking down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and an appeal concerning California's Proposition 8. The pair of rulings is being heralded as a massive victory for human rights, and I agree.

The ruling in U.S. v. Windsor means that the court found a federal law preventing the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages from those states that allow it to be unconstitutional. This finally opens the door to same-sex couples by allowing them to receive the same federal benefits heterosexual couples receive. And yes, that's a big deal.

In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the court ruled that proponents of California's Proposition 8 who had been defending the measure in court after the state refused to do so did not have standing. Essentially, this means that Proposition 8 fails with the Ninth Circuit opinion being vacated. No ban on same-sex marriage for California.

The Supreme Court does not always get it right, but these historic decisions, especially in Windsor, are great examples of how important it can be when they do. I think this is what it feels like to see the tide turning in how LGBT persons are treated. One of these days, same-sex marriage will simply be called marriage.