WASHINGTON — In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there.
The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. But in clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California, the nation’s most populous state, the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow such unions.
The decision on federal benefits will immediately extend many benefits to couples in the states where same-sex marriage is legal, and it will give the Obama administration the ability to broaden other benefits through executive actions.
The case concerning California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, was decided on technical grounds, with the majority saying that it was not properly before the court. Because officials in California had declined to appeal a trial court’s decision against them and because the proponents of Proposition 8 were not entitled to step into the state’s shoes to appeal the decision, the court said, it was powerless to issue a decision. That left in place a trial court victory for two same-sex couples who had sought to marry.
The decision on the federal law was 5 to 4, with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy writing the majority opinion, which the four liberal-leaning justices joined.
Brace yourselves for the “Money Quote”
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”
As might be expected, Fat Tony (seen here telling us all to go fuck ourselves)
WASHINGTON — A day after siding with four other conservative justices to overturn a portion of a nearly 50 year old civil rights law that maintained broad bipartisan support, Justice Antonin Scalia lashed out at the Supreme Court for intervening in the gay marriage debate.
When it came to protections for minority voters, Scalia had no patience for democracy, specifically noting that the court should overturn the law because it is too popular to overturn in Congress. But as far as protections for gay and lesbian couples are concerned, Scalia would prefer the court stay away.
The court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on Wednesday in a 5-4 decision. In a dissent choked with rage, Scalia dismissed the majority’s reasoning as “legalistic argle-bargle.”
How delightfully quaint.
Scalia’s dissent is less a legal argument and more a plea for recognition that there are “good people on all sides.” In it, he repeatedly played the role of victim, complaining that it is unfair that his opposition to gay marriage is no longer considered legitimate.
Here’s a former victim — though Fat Tony certainly doesn’t see her that way.
And leave us not forget these others whose happiness you scorn
“It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race,” Scalia wrote, accusing the majority of “declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency … In the majority’s telling, this story is black-and-white: Hate your neighbor or come along with us.”
Tony clearly thrives on Hate.
“To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution,” said Scalia, before using his dissent to re-argue the legality of sodomy. Wednesday’s decision was inevitable, he said, when the court sanctioned “homosexual sodomy,” and striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will inevitably lead to fully legal same-sex marriages.
“When the Court declared a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy, we were assured that the case had nothing, nothing at all to do with ‘whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter,’” he wrote. “Now we are told that DOMA is invalid because it ‘demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects,’ ante, at 23 — with an accompanying citation of Lawrence.
We remember it well, dear.
“It takes real cheek for today’s majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here — when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will ‘confine’ the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with.”
Along with debating sodomy, Scalia drew a connection to polygamy, noting “the Constitution neither requires nor forbids our society to approve of same-sex marriage, much as it neither requires nor forbids us to approve of no-fault divorce, polygamy, or the consumption of alcohol.”
Scalia argued that the question of same-sex marriage should be left to Congress and the states.
“We might have let the People decide,” he said. “But that the majority will not do. Some will rejoice in today’s decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters so much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent.”
Alcoholism and Polygamy? Why not Cannibalism as well? Isn’t that on the “slippery slope” too? You’re slipping, Tony!
We know how you long for the Good Old Days, dear.
And you of course “have your reasons.”
And for them you and yours were scurrilously attacked by this Evil Gay Jurist (Tony isn’t fooled by the smile.)
Needless to say, today’s good news doesn’t wipe out yesterday’s bad news.
What today’s DOMA defeat may ultimately mean has yet to be divined. Some call it Loving
But it isn’t. a fortiori, Loving didn’t alter the country’s unconscious.
Despite the best efforts of the brave.
The struggle goes on.
Akiko Yano will sing us out with my favorite song by one of this country’s greatest gay songwriters strong>