SCOTUS overturns DOMA

The Supreme Court has overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, in a 5-4 decision with swing voter Justice Kennedy joining the liberal bloc. The 77 page decision can be found here.

It appears that the major argument embraced by the majority is that DOMA singled out a class of persons (homosexuals) that requires a

Amy Howe of scotusblog comments:

"DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty."

There is a "careful consideration" standard: In determining whether a law is motivated by improper animus or purpose, discriminations of an unusual character especially require careful consideration. DOMA cannot survive under these principles.

That is page 20.

Bottom of 25-26: 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.

For our non-lawyer readers, the debate over the standard of review (the test that courts should use to review laws that are allegedly discriminatory) is a legalese-y one, but it will be important to review other laws based on sexual orientation in future challenges.

What this means, in plain terms, is that same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law-- with regard to, for example, income taxes and Social Security benefits.

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