Thursday, June 27, 2013

Supreme Court Reluctantly But Historically Elevates Same-Sex Marriage

From AlterNet:

The Court’s majority sent the message that same-sex marriages and individuals deserve equal treatment. In the first case, it threw out a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), saying it was unconstitutional on equal protection grounds for the law to say that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. But it did not declare a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

In a second and narrower decision, the Court held that a private group did not have legal standing to defend California’s Proposition 8, a same-sex marriage ban that was overturned by a lower court. Same-sex marriages can now resume in California, making it the 13th state to recognize these marriage. Supporters in the state say that they are likely to sponsor a new ballot measure, making same-sex marriage legal, to remove the prospect of further legal fights by gay marriage opponents.


While the rulings are an undeniable step forward for LGBT rights, the Court’s rulings were largely on procedural grounds, legal observors noted, which limits their scope.

“The Court’s promotion of same-sex marriage is like a shotgun wedding: done with reluctance, and without the loving embrace of someone fully committed to the sacred union,” wrote Adam Winkler, a UCLA Law School professor, who said the rulings “sound like procedure is more important than people” and were reminiscent of the decisions made by the Court before the heyday of the 1960s Civil Rights era.

More here.

Okay, so today it was good news.  But man, what a week.

Anyway, fits and starts on this.  Not a massive unleashing of civil rights, but then nobody, including myself really expected that, anyway.  Actually, what I expected was that DOMA would be thrown out on state's rights grounds, which would have allowed California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 to stand.  So I'm very pleased that we got both an end to the federal law, and an end to the California law.  I mean, sure, these aren't ENORMOUS steps.  But they are consequential, nonetheless, and the gay marriage snowball continues to pick up speed, ever so slowly.  

And, historically speaking, this is still pretty fucking fast for an American civil rights movement.  Like I said, good news.