The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, calling it unconstitutional.
"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 for the majority about the 1996 law. “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.”
Justice Kennedy was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor in the majority. Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, and Justice Antonin Scalia each filed dissenting opinions with JUstice Clarence Thomas joining all of Scalia's and a portion of Alito's.
The high court also put California's Prop 8 to rest in a 5-4 decision, deeming that the private anti-marriage equality activists who put the measure on the ballot did not have the authority to do so.
“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to,” reads the majority opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts. “We decline to do so for the first time here.”
Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan, and Scalia made up the majority along with Chief Justice Roberts. Justice Kennedy dissented, along with Justices Alito, Thomas, and Sotomayor.
Check back with Progress Illinois for a report on the decisions, what's next and reactions. We will also have a second report on tonight's planned event in Chicago's Boystown with reaction to the ruling.