The battle for same-sex marriage in the US enters the home stretch

The-Guardian-Logo

Williams Institute Legal Scholarship Director Nan Hunter on same-sex marriage Supreme Court rulings

In two decisions issued on the final day of its 2012-2013 term, the US supreme court ruled that the federal government must accept the validity of same-sex marriages that are recognized under state law, and eliminated the barrier to implementation of a lower court ruling against Proposition 8, which barred same-sex marriage in California. Widely anticipated yet still wildly celebrated, one opinion was the first supreme court decision striking down a federal statute on the ground of anti-gay discrimination, and the second – once it is processed through the lower courts – will restore marriage for gay couples in California, where 12% of America’s population lives.

A Republican Congress enacted the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, a few months before a presidential election, thus forcing President Bill Clinton to either sign it and alienate his gay supporters or veto it and enrage what was then a large majority of voters who supported it. Now a majority of Americans support marriage equality (though, the level of support varies significantly by region), and President Clinton and numerous others have recanted their support for Doma. Yesterday, a majority of supreme court justices cited the name of the law as evidence of its unconstitutionally discriminatory purpose.

Click here to read entire article published in the Guardian on June, 27, 2013.