BREAKING NEWS – The Supreme Court ruled today that The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages that are legalized by the states, is unconstitutional. The ruling is achieved with a 5 to 4 vote in the Supreme Court.
Fifth Amendment Right
The majority votes come from Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. The opposing votes from Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Antonin Scalia, and Samuel Alito.
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “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.”
The ruling lands right smack in the center National Pride Month and a slew of Pride celebrations taking place throughout the country, including the Houston Pride Week drawing 325,000 supporters each year.
Tolerance for same-sex marriage is on the rise among Latinos, 52% of Latinos say they favor same-sex marriage, according to a Pew Hispanic Center Survey released earlier this week. This is a reversal from six years earlier, when one-third (31%) of Latinos favored same-sex marriage and more than half (56%) opposed it.
Support for Gay Marriage on the Rise
If the American justice system is a true reflection of its people, then the Supreme Court is doing its job. Opinions among Latinos and the American general public call for stronger support of same-sex marriage. A Pew Research Center survey in May found that for the first time, more than half (51%) of Americans favored allowing gay men and lesbians to marry. The same survey found that 72% percent of Americans believe that legal recognition of same-sex marriage is inevitable, regardless of whether they themselves favor or oppose it: While 85% of same-sex marriage supporters say legal recognition is inevitable, so do 59% of opponents.
DOMA was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The Act prevents same-sex couples from receiving hundreds of benefits that are available to other married couples under federal law, even though their marriages are recognized by their home state. The constitutionality of DOMA came into question after Edie Windsor, 84, sued the federal government after the Internal Revenue Service denied her refund request for the $363,000 in federal estate taxes she paid after her spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009.
By Being Latino Contributor, Ariana Montelongo de Valdivia. Ariana is a graduate of the University of Houston and has worked in Public Relations with the American Heart Association, LifeGift Organ Donation Center, Edelman Public Relations and currently hosts two TV shows on HMS TV (Houston MediaSource).Ariana can be followed on Twitter @AriMontelongo.