The death of DOMA
From the Associated Press…
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a historic victory 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 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. Gov. Jerry Brown quickly ordered that marriage licenses be issued to gay couples as soon as a federal appeals court lifts its hold on the lower court ruling, possibly next month.
In neither case did the court make a sweeping statement, either in favor of or against same-sex marriage. And in a sign that neither victory was complete for gay rights, the high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states. A separate provision of the federal marriage law that allows a state to not recognize a same-sex union from elsewhere remains in place.
And just like that on June 26th, 2013… the Defense of Marriage Act is over.
But what happened today was not the beginning of gay marriage… it was the end. As I’ve written previously, the GLBT community should stand for full marriage equality, and the only way to achieve that is for the very notion of a gay marriage to be eradicated. To have a separate class of marriage is to ensure inequality of that class. We learned this lesson from the Plessy V. Ferguson ruling. African-Americans became an underclass of American society, until they rose to demand full equality. In the fight for marriage and other rights, the GLBT community must do the same.
The fight for equality is far from over. But as we celebrate this milestone and look forward to the next, let’s not forget that equality is just as much an internal barrier as it is external. Get rid of the term “gay marriage”, and demand one standard of marriage equality for all Americans.