elusivem (elusivem) wrote,

Supreme Court DOMA Ruling

I was on a conference at the time and could not go down the break area to watch the news.  I was able to bring up the opinion the instant it was filed online which was just as the ruling was announced in the courtroom.  I was in tears within seconds of the PDF displaying the opinion. I had to the reread the main points a couple of times to make sure I read it right. As opinions go, this was actually short. I texted my partner “DOMA is dead.”

As I expected, some of the Justices did not like ruling on the DOMA case and may have wished it was not before the court. Eight of the nine justices believe the DOMA case should have never been heard in the first place on the grounds of improper standing. I predicted six to seven justices on the grounds of states' rights.  The lower court said DOMA was unconstitutional and the executive branch agreed: then why are we doing here? Justice Scalia mused. Although the majority (five to four) ruled against DOMA, eight of the nine of the justices would have thrown out the case on technical grounds. This would have the same outcome. The media called the ruling close by a deeply divided court. DOMA was dead in all of the outcomes expressed by the justices except one.

What surprised me was the level of contempt five of the justices had for the purpose of DOMA in the first place. Their level of disdain and the harm caused by DOMA was so great they agreed to rule on the merits and not throw it out on technical grounds. This clearly pissed off three of the dissenting justices.

In summary: DOMA operates to deprive same sex couples of benefits and to impose a disadvantage, a separate status and stigma upon those who lawfully enter into legal marriages. DOMA’s own text demonstrated that it interfered with the equal dignity conferred by the States and congress enacted this law with both disapproval of homosexuality and moral conviction that heterosexuals are better than gays. The justices go on to say how the defenders of DOMA (BLAG) acknowledge that same-sex marriage does not harm traditional marriages and that the State of New York has the right to provide equal treatment of gays and DOMA is design to frustrate these very same  states rights. The bottom line is DOMA serves to demean same sex couples and humiliates their children.

Court opinions don't get any stronger than this.

Ruling the case on merits may have upset the justices in the minority because it forced them to also offer dissent on the merits which I clearly think they would rather not have done. It put them into the position of defending their opinion that it is okay for a democratic government to discriminate and restrict the rights of a minority without cause.

In the end, as one dissenting justice put it, wait and listen for the second shoe. The court majority is telling us DOMA laws will not stand. Let the new discrimination cases begin!

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