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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Some preliminary thoughts on today's SSM SCOTUS decisions...

In the interest of full discolosure, I have not yet read the decision for either Hollingsworth et al v. Perry et al (the Proposition 8 case) or United States v. Windsor et al (the DOMA case).  I just wanted to make some preliminary comments based upon some news reports.  As such, these comments are subject to revision after I have a chance to read and digest the decisions for myself.

In Hollingsworth, the Supreme Court held that the petitioners lacked the standing to sue and therefore upheld the decision of the district court to overturn it.  What happened here is that the state refused to defend Prop 8, so a group of citizens got together to defend it.  Therefore, they could not sue in federal court.

In Windsor, the Court said that the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) was unconstitutional because it discriminated against same sex couples in denying them government benefits.  What the case does not do is force states to recognize same sex marriages.  It does, however, require the federal government to recognize same sex marriages for the purposes of tax benefits, Social Security, estate purposes, etc.  Basically, this ruling is saying something I said earlier (see my October 28, 2012 and October 17, 2012 posts) about civil marriage.  It is Justice, pure and simple.

I also intend to read about the VRA case from yesterday.  Based on what I read about it, the decision is not nearly as bad as people fear.