Thursday, April 24, 2014 5:23 PM
Published on: Thursday, June 27, 2013
By Zach Kushner
After 17 years, the Defense of Marriage Act has been invalidated and deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court because it violates the Fifth Amendment and its protection of equal liberty.
The court struck DOMA down with a 5-4 vote in United States v. Windsor after eight federal courts found section 3 of the law to be unconstitutional. DOMA denied federal benefits, such as social security benefits and the ability to file joint tax returns, to legally married same-sex couples.
DOMA did not provide equal rights to all Americans, according to the Supreme Court, since it was unfair to legally married same-sex couples.
“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion.
So far, 13 states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage. Maryland is one of the states included in this and was the 12th state to do so. Same-sex marriage was also upheld in California.
Initial reactions to the results were mixed, but for opponents of DOMA, they were largely positive. Mary Wagner, sponsor of Blake High School’s Allies 4 Equality, said she was “thrilled and very excited.” She added, “it will make a huge difference for how [same-sex couples] will interact with the federal government.”
Not everyone supports the court’s decision though. Derek McCoy, president of the Maryland Family Alliance said “marriage should not be redefined. It is a union between one man and one woman.”
He added that “dismantling DOMA … takes a structural blow to the U.S. Constitution and the most fundamental unit of humankind, the family.”
The opposing views about whether marriage should be between a man and a woman or two men or two women cause many arguments.