August 21, 2014

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Supreme Court strikes federal marriage provision

WASHINGTON — In significant but incomplete victories for gay rights, the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.

The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.

The other was a technical legal ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court’s declaration that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation’s most populous state in about a month.

The high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states.

The outcome was not along ideological lines.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.

“We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit,” Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.

In the case involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court’s liberal justices.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

Some in the crowd outside the court hugged and others jumped up and down just after 10 a.m. EDT Wednesday when the DOMA decision was announced. Many people were on their cell phones monitoring Twitter, news sites and blogs for word of the decision. And there were cheers as runners came down the steps with the decision in hand and turned them over to reporters who quickly flipped through the decisions.

Chants of “Thank you” and “USA” came from the crowd as plaintiffs in the cases descended the court’s marbled steps

Kennedy was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, and Scalia dissented.

Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.

  • Don Grantzki

    I’d much rather see gay married folks receive Federal benefits available to the res of our citizens than see it squandered on illegal aliens who enter the country and produce offspring as proficiently as rabbits.
    Of course the latter will be the very last to lose their handout.

    • Bob Sweatt

      Agreed

    • Joe Smith

      Won’t matter, Obama is going to make the illegals legal anyway

      • Zen Grouch

        YES OBAMA THE KENYAN IS GOING TO MAKE THE ILLEGALS *LEGAL* AND THERE’S NOT A THING THE REPUBLICAN’TS CAN DO ABOUT IT!

        *BWAAAAA-HAAAA-HA!*

        • Joe Smith

          Laugh as your country is dying, we have high unemployment as is is, lets take millions more of the better jobs away from Americans

          • Michael A. Figueroa

            What jobs are being taken away?

          • Joe Smith

            Michael
            Once the illegals have their green card or citizen status, do you think they will be satisfied with the low paying jobs that they are working now just because the have to because they are illegal? Once the wall is taken down that is barring them from working any job, they will be going after any job that you can.

          • Michael A. Figueroa

            If or when they become citizen, the proposed requirement are actually not easy, it doesn’t mean that they will automatically become qualified for every job in the country. Many or most of them are uneducated and unskilled and would probably not be able to to go much farther than their slave-like jobs in agriculture.

          • Joe Smith

            An American student that graduates from high school does not automatically become become qualified either but they end up with those jobs eventually and don’t forget about that next generation that comes from the illegals, they will be able to speak English, be educated and gain those skills just fine.

          • Zen Grouch

            Years ago here in Los Angeles the illegals ousted the Blacks from good paying jobs in large hotels and restaurants, because they were willing to work for much less.

            THEN once they dominated the market, they unionized, demanded more pay than the Blacks ever dreamed of, demanded and got assurances that the authorities wouldn’t deport ‘em.

            So nice to see ‘em celebrating a Communist holiday (May Day) in their red shirts waving Mexican flags blocking traffic just for the heck of it…

            These guys don’t work cheap by a long shot, mowing lawns, day labor at the Home Depot or anything else…

          • Zen Grouch

            The Republicans are pandering to the Hispanic vote as much as the Democrats…

            Funny thing is, the Hispanics who are here legally and vote aren’t crazy about the line jumpers either.

            The jgenie (j is silent) is out of the bottle and it ain’t going back.

            To blame Obama is ludicrous.

          • Joe Smith

            He is the driving force behind most of this,just like saying don’t blame Hitler for WWII as even though he didn’t have the power himself he was the driving force behind the process that started it.

          • Zen Grouch

            I say ferret out the illegals, round ‘em up, finger print ‘em then send ‘em back to where they came from.

            Then when people cry about separating parents from their children who are legal, because they were born here… …well that’s THEIR decision to leave their kids behind. Nobody said they can’t take them back to the motherland.

            But the cat’s out of the bag, our politicians are ruled by lobbyist and this 24/7/365 schedule of constant politicking.

            We are a country run by politicians rather than statesmen, who want what’s best for the people, or the will of the people. They’re driven by fear. The same fear that causes them to do nothing or very little, because if you don’t do anything nobody can blame you for making worse the already horrible situation.

            Then there are the poor. My Republican friends seem to have the answers, which all seem to amount to letting them starve to death in the cold.

            Ain’t gonna work. They aren’t going into the cold abyss without putting up a fight and eating the rich. Seems the rich have given them a taste of middle class meat, but that won’t last forever, so hold on to your hats and watch the fun, cuz nobody seems to have a workable answer to some serious problems. And blaming the other side only works to fan the fires of rage for so long before the sheep wise up.

            As far as your Hitler analogy goes…

            Hitler proposed that the “enemy” was the cause of Germany’s problems and the fools got behind that idea.

            Now the right is pointing the finger at Obama, because we no longer have the USSR as an enemy and we *got’s* to have an enemy in the shell game of political blame.

            But whatever… blame Obama for everything, take your football and go back to the drawing board and come up with a Republican solution to the immigration problem…

            Oh, wait… the Republicans went along with the plan on the table…

          • Michael A. Figueroa

            This was also a W. Bush era policy.

  • Michael A. Figueroa

    Congrats to all of my LGBT family and friends! You win AGAIN!