DOMA declared unconstitutional!
In plain English, the federal Defense of Marriage Act defines “marriage,” for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs, as a union between a man and a woman only. Today the Court ruled, by a vote of five to four, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy, that the law is unconstitutional. The Court explained that the states have long had the responsibility of regulating and defining marriage, and some states have opted to allow same-sex couples to marry to give them the protection and dignity associated with marriage. By denying recognition to same-sex couples who are legally married, federal law discriminates against them to express disapproval of state-sanctioned same-sex marriage. This decision means that same-sex couples who are legally married must now be treated the same under federal law as married opposite-sex couples.
Supreme Court Decision in Windsor v United States: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_g2bh.pdf
Prop 8 – The petitioners did not have standing to appeal the district court order!
After the two same-sex couples filed their challenge to Proposition 8 in federal court in California, the California government officials who would normally have defended the law in court, declined to do so. So the proponents of Proposition 8 stepped in to defend the law, and the California Supreme Court (in response to a request by the lower court) ruled that they could do so under state law. But today the Supreme Court held that the proponents do not have the legal right to defend the law in court. As a result, it held, the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the intermediate appellate court, has no legal force, and it sent the case back to that court with instructions for it to dismiss the case.
Supreme Court Decision in Hollingsworth v Perry: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-144_8ok0.pdf
Thanks so much to the folks at SCOTUSblog – http://www.scotusblog.com/ – for their fabulous analysis and real time streaming of the opinions.