Today the United States Supreme Court declared the so-called Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The monumental decision on the controversial 1996 law was made not surprisingly by vote of 5-4.
While the primary focus on DOMA has been that the federal government refused the rights of same-sex couples, there’s another major issue. Marriage has traditionally been the province of states, not the federal government. There’s been a continuing battle between Washington and states over power, ranging from the federal government withholding highway funds from states that set speed limits they did not like to arresting medical personnel who legally prescribed marijuana.
In this case, same-sex couples could get married if their state allowed it, but could not get benefits given to other married couples. This put both their relationship and the rights of their children into serious legal doubt.
But now that the court declared that DOMA violated the Fifth Amendment, the battle will certainly continue within the states.
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