The United States Supreme Court just handed twin victories for the proponents of same-sex marriage.
First, the Supreme Court struck down a part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples, as unconstitutional. It was declared "a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment."
Second, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of a California marriage ban by proponents of California Prop 8. The proposition, a ballot-box initiative that amended the state constitution to restrict the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman, was passed into law in 2008. State officials, however, have declined to enforce it. In this case, the Court stated that the private parties who sued have no standing - basically, a legal technicality meaning that they're not entitled to sue.
The twin rulings was hailed as historic:
"Today's historic decisions put two giant cracks in the dark wall of discrimination that separates committed gay and lesbian couples from full equality," said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Commission. He called the rulings "a joyous milestone."
While the Supreme Court rulings cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California, it has no impact on bans currently in place in 38 states in the country.
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