The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday by a 5-4 vote.
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”
DOMA, which was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, prevented same-sex couples whose marriages were recognized by their home state from receiving the hundreds of benefits available to other married couples under federal law.
But with DOMA ruled unconstitutional, and the Voting Rights Act being struck down within the same week, where does this leave gay voters of color, especially in the south? Sure, your marriage can be recognized by the federal government, but voting without being discriminated against? That’s a whole different issue.