Wednesday, June 26, 2013

One Great, One Good Gay Marriage Ruling

The decidedly non-activist Supremes did as we blowhards had figured all along. This morning's rulings were:

  • The Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional on equal-protection grounds.
  • California's Prop 8 banning marriage equality remains overturned by state and fed courts there, but does not affect laws in other states.

These are both victories of varying power for gay couples. The details of each were tossed to others by this oddly timid SCOTUS incarnation.

For DOMA, the Obama administration has to get its act together to make the revised rules. Like the overturning of the military absurd don't-ask/don't-tell policy, the feds need to specify how married homosexual couples will receive and be guaranteed access to the services and rights previously denied.

Of course, the feds can't make states that forbid same-sex marriage provide equal state tax, inheritance and other rights. They can make sure that even if the state does not recognize the marriage as legal within its borders, that the couple still gets the federal rights and benefits.

For California, the consensus is that in a few weeks or a month at most, same-sex couples can marry again there. They will join the 18,000-plus couples married there after the legislature passed marriage equality and before Prop 8 stopped that. The two-tiered marriage system ends in California.

At the same time, our most populous state brings the percentage of Americans with the legal option for marriage equality way up. While over three dozen states forbid same-sex marriage, we're quickly headed to half the nation having the legal option in their states.

We can be sure that more bozo state legislatures that rushed to have laws, constitutional amendments or both forbidding equality will be backing out and figuring how to get with the program gracefully.

No comments: