SCOTUS votes 5-4 that gay marriage bans violate equal protection, demean the dignity of gay couples, and inflict harm upon children. Also, all that "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" jazz.
Princess Bride quotes are still appropriate on huge news days, right? (via)
State bans on same-sex marriage across the country have been struck down based on the promise of equal protection under the law enshrined in the Constitution. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the decision (which you can read here) after concurring with four of his more liberal peers in a case filed by same-sex couples in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. The decision will ultimately render all state bans unconstitutional, however, not just the ones directly related to this case. It's unclear what the timeframe is for the changes to go into effect—but now that the Supremes have weighed in, it's only a question of when, and the answer is "pretty darn soon."
Guess we have to retire this list now: The most hilariously effective signs supporting gay marriage.
A timeline of how we got here: Since the dawn of the 2000s, SCOTUS seemed determined to leave the issue up to state legislatures, state referendums, and state courthouses. This included both declining to hear cases challenging same-sex marriage bans and declining to hear appeals from anti-gay-marriage groups when state courts struck those bans down.
However, in June of 2013, the Supreme Court (with Kennedy again writing the opinion) ruled against a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed by Congress and signed by Clinton in the 90s (he since claims to regret it) in United States vs. Windsor.
The Windsor decision basically said that the federal government had to respect states where same-sex marriage was legal and give same-sex married couples in those states the same legal and tax benefits as heterosexual couples. This is a pretty cut-and-dry legal argument, but a different part of Kennedy's opinion focused on how failing to do this demeans same-sex couples, and particularly their children, by making them legally inferior.
That line of reasoning paved the path from 2013 to today's historic decision. Those who opposed same-sex marriage tried for decades to argue it hurt children (with zero evidence supporting this claim besides an icky feeling), and now that argument had been flipped around. Kids know when their parents are considered second-class by the government, so yes, there was harm caused to the children of same-sex married couples, but it was caused by the government itself.
Scalia still believes marriage should be between one claymation man and one woman.— Mike Drucker (@MikeDrucker) June 26, 2015
This news is still emerging, so I haven't had time yet to provide a cogent analysis of whatever Scalia's angry rebuttal was. Anyway, happy Friday everyone. Does SCOTUS even know it's Pride Week in a lot of cities? I'd like to think so, but I'm guessing no.
P.S. - Yes, legal nerds, those quotes I started this article off with are from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. But even SCOTUS quotes the Declaration in some decisions, since that 1776 document often comes closer to the founding spirit of our laws than the drier, slavery-containing founding letter of the 1789 Constitution.