Contact Us

Supreme Court Grants Two Victories to Same-Sex Marriage Supporters

Supreme Court
Kris Connor/Getty Images

The Supreme Court issued two rulings on Wednesday morning regarding same-sex marriage, and both were victories for gay-rights supporters.

It first announced that, by a vote of 5-4, it had struck down the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which declared marriage to be “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” in determining federal benefits. Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steven Breyer, Elena Kagan and Anthony Kennedy voted in the majority, with Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts dissenting.

Justice Kennedy wrote the decision for the majority:

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. 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.

Under this decision, gay and lesbian couples in the 13 states that allow same-sex marriage will be covered by more than 1,000 federal laws, programs and benefits available to heterosexual married couples. These include filing taxes jointly, inheritance laws and Social Security.

The court also ruled on California’s Proposition 8, a 2008 law that banned gay marriage in the state. Again by a decision of 5-4, though with a different lineup of supporters and dissenters, the court handed down a decision that is a victory for gay-rights supporters, though not as sweepingly as in the DOMA case.

Essentially, the court said that supporters of Prop 8 did not have the right to defend it in court, meaning that a district court decision tossing out the law would stand. This means that same-sex marriages will likely resume in California and that the state’s attorney general and governor cannot enforce Proposition 8.

What do these rulings mean? The DOMA case is a bit clearer: married same-sex couples cannot be denied the same federal rights as heterosexual couples. Importantly, though, the decision does not address whether states that do not permit gay marriage must recognize such marriages performed in other states.

As for the Prop 8 decision, the future is a bit murkier. The court did not rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage itself, as many had hoped it would. It was a narrow, somewhat technical decision that ensures that the fight will go on, albeit with same-sex couples in California now being allowed to legally marry. Any other state that has banned same-sex marriage would not be affected.

Amy Howe of SCOTUSBlog, which covers the high court, offered two “plain English” explanations of today’s rulings. First, the DOMA case, known as United States v. Windsor:

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.

And here’s the Proposition 8 case, aka Hollingsworth v. Perry:

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.

[SCOTUSBlog, Reuters, A.P.]

police-lights
[

Reward Offered In Blinn College Student’s Murder

Blinn College is a small school in Brenham, about an hour and a half outside of Houston.  After a male student was murdered there last month, police are asking for tips as they try to figure out who killed him.  And there's a reward in the case now.

Read More|Comment

Category: East Texas News, News Tags:
Getty Images
Getty Images
[

Inmate Weddings Are About To Increase In Texas

Up until now, if an inmate in a Texas prison wanted to get married, someone else had to stand in for the prisoner during a ceremony held somewhere outside the prison. That's about to change.

Read More|Comment

Abby Snodgrass
WSB
[

Teen’s Miraculous Act Saves Baby Who Stopped Breathing at Walmart

A fast-acting teenager became a hero after she stepped in to save the life of a baby.

Read More|Comment

Category: News
drinking
Photo: John Lund/Annabelle Breakey
[

Where Does Texas Rank in the ‘Most Drunk’ States Survey?

The folks over at Bloomberg just released a survey of the 'Most Drunk' states in the U.S. Where did the Lone Star State wind up?

Read More|Comment

Category: East Texas News, Texas News Tags:
Le'Veon Bell, LeVeon Bell
Getty Images
[

Le’Veon Bell Leads Steelers Past Titans, 27-24

Le'Veon Bell ran for 204 yards and a touchdown, and the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied past the Tennessee Titans, 27-24, in Nashville on Monday night.

Read More|Comment

Category: News, Sports
Waiting Room
[

Now Is the Time to Sign Up for Health Insurance

Last year just a handful of people signed up for health insurance on the first day of the national open enrollment period, and this year as signups began on Saturday, the federal government says 100,000 people signed up.

The open enrollment period this year is a lot shorter, so don't be caught by surprise.

Read More|Comment

Johnny Depp Hollywood Film Awards
[

Watch Johnny Depp’s Weird, Drunken Speech at the Hollywood Film Awards

So this is why we don't see Johnny Depp on stage very often (ever?) at awards shows. Last night at the Hollywood Film Awards, Depp introduced the documentary ‘Supermensch,’ about legendary talent manager Shep Gordon, and immediately made it pretty clear that he was not sober-minded. “That's the weirdest microphone I've ever seen in my life,” he slurs—except, you know, it's just a regular microphone.

Read More|Comment

Civil War title treatment
Marvel
[

‘Captain America: Civil War’ Casts Daniel Bruhl as Its Villain

Even though the upcoming third ‘Captain America’ movie is based on Marvel’s ‘Civil War’ mini-series, where the heroes of the Marvel Universe faced off with one another in a battle over their right to privacy, the ‘Civil War’ film still needs a villain for Chris Evans’ Cap and Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man (and new addition Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman) to face off with as well. Although they didn’t reveal the identity of his character, Deadline reports that Daniel Bruhl will play the guy to pester the feuding Avengers.

Read More|Comment

Police-Lights
[

Police Look For Clues After Texas College Student Is Murdered

Blinn College is a small school in Brenham, about an hour and a half outside of Houston.

After a male student was murdered there last month, police are asking for tips as they try to figure out who killed him.

Read More|Comment

Ryan Tannehill
Getty Images
[

Miami Dolphins Rally Past Buffalo Bills, 22-9

Ryan Tannehill threw two touchdown passes, and the Miami Dolphins surged past the Buffalo Bills, 22-9, in Florida on Thursday night.

Read More|Comment

Category: News, Sports

Best of the Web

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://ksfa860.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on NEWSTALK 860 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on NEWSTALK 860 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!