After years of seeking change in the state of California, gay right activists are finally on their way as the U.S. Supreme Court has officially stuck down the federal law from 1996 which have been banning the rights for same-sex couples to be married. The Defense of Marriage Act which banned same-sex marriage has now been removed, therefore allowing anyone who desires to marry do so, no matter the sex of their partner if their state deems it legal.
This ruling is a mark in history for our country as it is the first time ever which the Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government as a whole could not discriminate against couples of the same sex in the event that the state in which they live deems their union as a legal marriage. DOMA and Prop 8 were two separate court proceedings, though they were clearly connected by the goal of equal rights for all. For the DOMA case, there was a 5-4 justice majority vote in favor to rule the act as unconstitutional and that it "violates basic due process and equal protection values that apply to the Federal Government."
Because of the striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act (which explicitly stated that the federal government only honors heterosexual marriages as legitimate) now they will be offering the same benefits to same-sex couples just as heterosexual. These federal benefits will include things like taxes, retirement benefits, etc.; many of the rights that the LGBT community felt deprived of even in the states which allowed gay marriages.
Regarding the California Proposition 8 ruling, the Supreme Court claims that the lack the jurisdiction to rule on it, therefore avoiding having to make a ruling regarding the Proposition. However it is very likely that by their striking down the appeal to the ban on gay marriage means that the road to same-sex marriage in California is well on its way, largely due to the federal government changing their views on gay marriages. The LGBT community claims there is still much work to be done on their part in the state.
While Wednesdays ruling in the Supreme Court will greatly affect the state which already have enacted the legalization of gay marriages, and help pave the road for the state of California, there are still 35 other states in the U.S. which consider marriages only as legitimate for those who are heterosexual.
Here in the state of New York, same-sex marriages have already been legalized, so the turning down of the 1996 DOMA law will now enable homosexual couples to enjoy many more of the same benefits as the heterosexual married community. For any questions regarding your legal rights, contact a trusted Long Island family lawyer at the Meyers Law Group, today.