Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nice one, SCOTUS

Wow, back to back semi-political posts. Sorry about that. But, as I noted here, stuff like removing legal barriers from gay marriage is worth writing about.

As you no doubt have already read in a million different places, the Supreme Court ruled that the ironically named Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. The ruling itself is a little dry, but has some nice snippets:
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…

This status is a far-reaching legal acknowledgment of the intimate relationship between two people, a relationship deemed by the State worthy of dignity in the community equal with all other marriages. It reflects both the community’s considered perspective on the historical roots of the institution of marriage and its evolving understanding of the meaning of equality.
Eloquently put. I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but to me it really seems like an uncomplicated decision to make. Rather than being about gay marriage, it's about equality. So I'm happy that in the eyes of the federal government, at least, everyone I know--instead of just some or most--is equally able to marry the person they love.

I am reminded of another case you may have heard of, a little decision called Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education. The key verbiage:
We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other "tangible" factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does... We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
That reasoning seemed radical at the time. It's simply common sense now. I suspect that United States vs. Windsor--the official name of the DOMA ruling--will look much the same 60 years from now.

It is so ordered.

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