In Brief

Supreme Court Rules Against Defense of Marriage Act

The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional in a 5-4 ruling today (June 26).

The case, U.S. v. Windsor, was a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law passed in 1996 that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages declared valid by individual states. The Obama administration, which would typically defend the law in court, has not been doing so because it agrees with lower court rulings that DOMA is unconstitutional.

In its statement, the Court ruled that "DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment," according to the SCOTUS blog. The opinion came from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who was joined by four liberal justices: Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayer and Elena Kagan. In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said the Court's opinion both in explaining its jurisdiction and its decision "both spring from the same diseased root: an exalted notion of the role of this court in American democratic society," according to the SCOTUS blog.

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Live Science Staff
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