WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court on Wednesday handed a significant victory to gay rights advocates by ruling that married gay men and women are eligible for federal benefits and paving the way for same-sex marriage in California.

The court, however, fell short of a landmark ruling endorsing a fundamental right for gay people to marry.

The two cases, both decided on 5-4 votes, concerned the constitutionality of a key part of a federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), that denied benefits to same-sex married couples and a California state law enacted in 2008, called Proposition 8, that banned gay marriage.

The court struck down a central part of DOMA and let stand a lower-court ruling throwing out California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

The Supreme Court rulings come amid rapid progress for advocates of gay marriage in recent months and years in the United States and internationally. Opinion polls show a steady increase in US public support for gay marriage.

President Barack Obama applauded the court's DOMA decision and directed US Attorney General Eric Holder to review all relevant federal laws to ensure the ruling is implemented.

“We are a people who declared that we are all created equal, and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama, the first sitting president to endorse gay marriage, said in a written statement.

Obama said the ruling applies only to civil marriages and that how religious institutions define and consecrate marriages has always been up to those institutions.

Gay marriage is an issue that stirs cultural, religious and political passions in the United States as elsewhere. Gay marriage advocates celebrated outside the courthouse. An enormous cheer went up as word arrived that DOMA had been struck down. “DOMA is dead!” the crowd chanted, as couples hugged and cried.

“Our marriage has not been recognized until today,” said Patricia Lambert, 59, who held her wife, Kathy Mulvey, 47. A South African, Lambert said she no longer would have to worry about being forced to leave the country if her work visa expired.

The court struck down the federal law as a violation of the US Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law but ducked a ruling on Proposition 8 by finding that supporters of the law did not have standing to appeal a federal district court ruling that struck the law down.

While the ruling on DOMA was clear-cut, questions remained about what exactly the Proposition 8 ruling will mean on the ground. There is likely to be more litigation over whether the district court ruling applies state-wide.

After hearing of the California ruling outside the courthouse, Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the fight for gay marriage would head back to the states.

“We take it to the states - state by state, legislature by legislature, governor by governor, and constitutional amendment by constitutional amendment,” he said.

Defenders of California's ban on gay marriage vowed to seek continued enforcement until a state-wide order is issued.

EQUAL PROTECTION

In the DOMA case, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority that the federal law, as passed by Congress in 1996, violated the US Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.

“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,” Kennedy wrote.

Kennedy, often the court's swing vote in close decisions, also said the law imposes “a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the states.”

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia both wrote dissenting opinions. Roberts himself wrote the Proposition 8 opinion, ruling along procedural lines with the court split in an unusual way.

Before the ruling, 12 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia had recognized gay marriage. Three of those dozen - Delaware, Minnesota and Rhode Island - legalised gay marriage this year. California would be the 13th state to allow it.

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act limited the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman for the purposes of federal benefits. By striking down Section 3, the court cleared the way to more than 1,100 federal benefits, rights and burdens linked to marriage status.

As a result of Wednesday's ruling, Edith Windsor of New York, who was married to a woman and sued the government to get the federal estate tax deduction available to heterosexuals when their spouses pass away, will be able to claim a $363,000 tax refund.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (31)

SM
June 26, 2013 10:31 pm

And it matters to Pakistan because.... Wait it doesn't. How about we talk about other rights, that of average citizens, women, minorities, etc in Pakistan?

Dr, Bilal
June 26, 2013 10:54 pm

Why is this a top story on a Pakistani website? It doesn't even qualify to be a simple story! Is it a part of the campaign to desensitize the nation on homosexuality? Such things should be discouraged and not highlighted!

name
June 26, 2013 10:58 pm

Its shame that its on the front page and the first headline story on dawn.

Burki
June 26, 2013 11:44 pm

and exactly why is that a top headline story for Dawn with minutest detailes such as DOMA act and what the US chief justice has to say on the issue being splashed out here? this is an issue internal to American society dealig with their own social issues. Why Dawn is reporting it as if this is the biggest hot story of the year?

Ali
June 26, 2013 11:53 pm

Great!

Prakash
June 27, 2013 12:10 am

And this is front page news in Pakistan, I thought Musharraf was about be hanged or something, yet this is front page news!

TKhan
June 27, 2013 12:14 am

Two Desi Fathers walking in the park and chatting.

Father 1: I am worried my son is going to marry White Girl. Father 2: Some worry you have. I am worried my son is going to marry a White Boy!

Their Mehndi Party!

Bhaiya ki mehndi kya kehna Bhaiya ka joda kya kehna Bhaiya lage hai phoolon ka gehna Bhaiya ki aankhen kajraari Bhaiya lage sab se pyaara Bhaiya pe jaaoon main waara waara

Yeh maane ya na maane main to ispe mar gaya Yeh ladka haai allah, haai haai re Allah

Ahmed
June 27, 2013 12:39 am

why is this on our main page as a headline? Dawn is just pathetic.

Masud
June 27, 2013 12:48 am

Now imagine something revolutionary like this happening in an Islamic state! Ha! Now that would be a significant change. Sadly, Islam is still inherently violent towards individuals who are 'different'.

Pakistani
June 27, 2013 1:38 am

@Masud: and what do u know about Islam.. ??? please tell me where in Quran or where Muhammad (PBUH) say go kill that individual because he is different . If you going to pretend you are muslim them at least do a proper job. AS for as this news its another small victory for Satan and his followers , becasue he promise to Allah when he was about to be thrown from JAnnah that he will try to change his creation and Allah told he will only have effect on those who are not on right path(may Allah foregive me just rough translation). There is no research that actually shows that you are borne gay, its all mental, its your enviroment, social setup and other things .....there is not ABSOLUTE proof that its genetics ... on the contarary there is research that its not genetics but they will not let anyone publish that ....... go son read Quran and life of Muhammad (PBUH) you life will change In Sha Allah

anonymus
June 27, 2013 2:04 am

@Masud: 'different'

well men and women are completely different..Islam aint violent. Islam tries to stop taboos by solving it, not 'promoting' it..

liberals are violent to any one who oppses 'taboos'

independentthinker
June 27, 2013 2:10 am

I am not here to commend or condemn the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. What I strongly believe in is - that the marriage should always be between a man and a woman. This is how nature meant it to be - why else would it have been necessary for a man and a woman to pro-create together? If someone wants to spend his/her life together with the same gender - it is not anybody's business. However, for them to expect us to accept them as "married couple" is pushing it a bit too far. The fact that we have never accepted this arrangement in the past - to even consider that because the Supreme Court has endorsed it, society should change their strong beliefs and accept this as the new "reality" will be very hard to swallow. In return, there will be many retributions. Sometimes, it is best to leave such sensitive issues unresolved, because the reverse would open up a new can of worms. This world has many more important issues to deal with - let this not hold us back from addressing other matters.

Abis
June 27, 2013 3:08 am

Ok ! But how does this become a top story ?

zafars
June 27, 2013 3:22 am

And a day earlier it wiped out the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act. That is more important than legalizing gay marriages.

zafars
June 27, 2013 3:28 am

And the US may change it's anthem from the land of the free and the home of the brave' to 'the land of the free and the home of the gays.

Danish A.
June 27, 2013 3:51 am

Feels great to be an American, equality for all, simple as that. Now only if something in Pakistan can make me proud of Pakistan as well. No more honor killings, no more anti-blasphemous laws. Say not to hate. #loveislove (as silly as it sounds). (please publish).

UlHaq
June 27, 2013 4:29 am

A good writeup, Dawn. It does makes one thing clear: same-sex marriages are a lot more about benefits without actually having a family.

maria
June 27, 2013 4:46 am

Destruction of laws of Nature. By this societies collapse.

kaka
June 27, 2013 4:56 am

@Masud: looks like you are one them lol.....

Nasr
June 27, 2013 5:34 am

@Masud: Do you know your name mean prosperous, fortunate, lucky but if you are a Muslim it looks that you are not lucky & fortunate enough to learn why Allah created Male & Female to be a couple in Marriage and how he meted those with extreme punishment who became couples of the same sex. This decision is only a direct call towards the wrath of God nothing else and we in our lives or the next generation of ours may see it coming. Today these words were echoed here in US by the conservative and religious leaders “Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation," Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a joint statement representing U.S. bishops. "The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong."

Nasr
June 27, 2013 5:35 am

Sure it doesn't matters to Pakistan but two comments prior to your's that seems emerging from our own, does.

Farhad
June 27, 2013 5:48 am

@Masud: I agree with you 100%, but you're preaching to the wrong choir brother.

Anwar
June 27, 2013 5:52 am

How does this concern Pakistan and Dawn?

zeeshan
June 27, 2013 10:16 am

@Masud: Can you prove what you said ? You are unfortunately one of the few in the whole world who said such a statement with prejudice against even the uncountable non-muslims claim based on facts and figures that ISLAM is the only Religion that protects and force to implement Justice only in every sphere of life - for even animals. But you can be right (to be checked) if you meant to a or few of Madhaahib (sects in ISLAM) that make and walk their own way and therefore, are far away from the teachings of Quraan and Sunnah.

Kashif Kayani
June 27, 2013 10:26 am

And [We had sent] Lot when he said to his people, "Do you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds? Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people."

But the answer of his people was only that they said, "Evict them from your city! Indeed, they are men who keep themselves pure."

So We saved him and his family, except for his wife; she was of those who remained [with the evildoers].

And We rained upon them a rain [of stones]. Then see how was the end of the criminals.

Surat Al-'A`r?f (The Heights)

Muhammad Younus Butt
June 27, 2013 10:40 am

It does not mean that if such laws are applicable to other countries .As U.S.A has its own marital problems and cannot be enforced to be effective to other states. There are shortage of MALES in U.S.A,let it should export males from out of America to complete deficiency in the country. In America a female has 10 males whereas male has 50 females .There is a great gap and this difference must be fulfilled very quickly. But now it is possible by the ruling by the Supreme court of America

Riz
June 27, 2013 10:48 am

They will destroy their generations, this could be the first step towards their own wipe out! They are sense less and dont know what would be the out comes in this WORLD and HEREAFTER, just wait and see what happens to this kind of nation…

faraz
June 27, 2013 10:55 am

It is sad to see such decisions in different countries & media coverage being given to them...forgetting the wrath & punishments on the people of LOOT A.S.(LOT) for such actions...

Such people dismiss them as biblical/Quranic stories which have no purpose in the modern world although they are a warning to us...May Allah guide & Help us all...

Different View
June 28, 2013 2:25 am

I wonder why so many readers of this article fail to understand that not all the men or the women in the US are homosexuals. Neither they will be forced to be homosexuals.

TKhan
June 28, 2013 2:29 am

@Dr, Bilal: Because it is a NEWS Doc! What part you don't understand? You prefer that homosexuality and other sex crimes that are not reported in Muslim Countries is a 'no news good news'? Yes these acts should be discouraged but not hidden.

noor
June 28, 2013 3:08 am

Where did DAWN declare that it will only be publishing news from Pakistan. Moreover the Headline clearly mentions "US Supreme Court.......". How can you expect US SC to deliver any decision related to our beloved homeland? So, please accept this fact that you wanted to know what they said about this issue and now you are trying to act very innocent and wondering why this news is here. We live a lie !!!!

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