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Federal Ban on Same-Sex Marriage Unconstitutional


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.”

Perfect Timing

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.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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