DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, born on September 21, 1996, was pronounced terminally ill by The United States Supreme Court, on Wednesday, June 26, 2013. The 16-year-old bill was declared unconstitutional.
This means that it can no longer be defended by United States officials and that states that have enacted legislation permitting same-gender marriage may proceed to issue licenses and allow existing same-gender marriages to proceed along side other marriages. All legal rights pertaining to marriage in those states and in the nation are applicable to those marriages and will be applicable in states which will take such actions in the future.
All that remains is for the U.S. Congress to correct itself and remove the legislation from its record. The presence of the impotent bill on the congressional records is a blight on the congressional body. It should be removed as quickly as possible.
The impact of the Supreme Court’s action is massive. It gives credibility to the existing states where legislation has permitted same-gender marriages and it gives enthusiasm and energy to the states that are considering such legislation or will in the future. It would seem that it is only a matter of time before the legality becomes the norm for the United States, although it would be naive to think that every state will comply.
Even in the hours following the Supreme Court’s action, a number of states proceeded to take action to prevent the possibility of such legislation at this time. The Supreme Court’s decision did not declare same-gender marriage to be the law of the land; it upheld such action in states where legislation provides for it. There is a vast difference.
The celebrations which signaled the news are warranted. No longer living under a cloud of “second class relationships,” married couples can now claim legitimacy in the areas of benefits which give security to the couple. Medical, adoption, and inheritance rights are huge. Citizenship rights for marriage partners from another country are, as well. But the greatest right is that of legitimacy. The celebrations signaled a freedom which many had sought and which some believed would never come in their lifetime.
Congratulations to David and Ed, Bob and Tim, Edmund and Michael, and all those others whose names I don’t know at this moment. It’s a great moment for you all.
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