June is officially LGBT Pride Month. So, it seems fitting that the U.S. Supreme Court rendered rulings in two historic cases: Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, and United States v. Windsor, the case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, which prevented same-sex couples who are married and living in one of the 12 freedom to marry states and the District of Columbia, to be eligible for some 1,100 federal protections, rights, and benefits afforded all other married couples. The Supreme Court declared same-sex couples married in states where it is legal must receive the same federal health, tax, Social Security and other benefits that heterosexual couples receive. The Supreme Court’s ruling against Proposition 8 will once again allow the state of California to recognize same-sex unions under the law.
The Supreme Court dismissed the Proposition 8 case on the grounds that traditional marriage activists who put Prop 8 on a ballot in 2008 did not have the constitutional authority or standing to overturn the California Supreme Court’s ruling that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry. The proposition did not affect domestic partnerships in California or same-sex marriages performed prior to the 2008 Election. On DOMA, the court ruled that the statue is unconstitutional, in violation of the Fifth Amendment, which guarantees the right of equal protection under the law. DOMA displaced protections and injured same-sex couples living in states where their marriages are legal, thus, discriminating against a class of people.