Defense of Marriage Act ruled unconstitutional

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2010 U.S. Supreme Court Justices (“The Roberts Court”)WASHINGTON (CNN) — In a dramatic slap at federal authority, a divided Supreme Court has struck down a key part of congressional law that denies to legally married same-sex couples the same benefits provided to heterosexual spouses.

The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.

The vote Wednesday was 5-4.

“Although Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The case examined whether the federal government can deny tax, health and pension benefits to same-sex couples in states where they can legally marry. At issue was whether DOMA violates equal protection guarantees in the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause as applied to same-sex couples legally married under the laws of their states.

The key plaintiff is Edith “Edie” Windsor, 84, who married fellow New York resident Thea Spyer in Canada in 2007, about 40 years into their relationship. By the time Spyer died in 2009, New York courts recognized same-sex marriages performed in other countries. But the federal government didn’t recognize Windsor’s same-sex marriage, and she was forced to assume an estate tax bill much larger than those that other married couples would have to pay. So, Windsor sued the federal government.

A federal appeals court last year ruled in Windsor’s favor, saying DOMA violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause.

President Obama tweeted: “@BarackObama: Today’s DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality. #LoveIsLove”


  • Anon

    Thanks Fox for the biased decision to put supporters (attorneys) on this morning news regarding this matter. Must of forgot this was voted on and majority of citizens do not agree with it. Apparently voters no longer have a voice.

  • lorraineLSR

    I don't agree with same sex marriage …. my belief will always be a man and a woman but to each its own…I have friends that are gay and lesbian even doe I don't agree with their choice I am not a person that judge them……. if their preference is to be with another person with the same gender that is their choice and wish them the best in this world…I just hope that the good marriage between a man and a women don't get destroyed, god made it should stay that way to all the people that believe in it let it stay the same in their hearts and minds… no disrespect to no one of their choice god bless everyone on their life

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