What happened this week? Lots. And our friends at theSkimm have you covered with a run-down of the top headlines. (Want them delivered daily to your inbox? Sign up at theskimm.com)
The Supremes left for the summer with two final hits—landmark rulings in defense of same-sex marriage.
What Was the First Ruling?
The court said the key part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA, if you’re fancy) is unconstitutional. DOMA blocked federal recognition of gay marriage because it denied federal benefits to gay couples who are legally married in their states. The court said that made some marriages unequal, and that’s not OK. The message? Hands off, Feds. States can fight it out themselves.
And the Second?
The court said it was a legal thing. And not one it could rule on. This case involved Proposition 8—a ban on gay marriage in California that was passed in 2008. Prop 8 defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The court OK’d a lower court’s previous ruling that the ban is unconstitutional. Gay marriage in California is ready for a comeback. The message? States can fight it out—throw rainbow confetti or buy His & Her cakes. There’s a theme here.
An 84-year-old widow at the center of the DOMA case. Edie Windsor received a big fat tax bill after her wife Thea passed away in 2009. She sued to get her money back (although it’s not quite about the money), noting that if Thea had been Theo she never would have been forced to pay. Upon hearing the rulings she said, “I cried, I cried.” She’ll be getting her money back. Good financial news for other same-sex couples living in states where gay marriage is legal.
What the "I Love Carol and Susan" Side Says
About time! Supporters cheered and cried over the major legal breakthrough. The president even called the Prop 8 plaintiffs to congratulate them from Air Force One.
What the "Ross Belongs With Carol" Side Says
Fight on. Clearly, the court said gay marriage is up to the states, so don’t go celebrating. Others said the court let their personal views override constitutional decisions.
The court definitely did not rule on whether or not gay marriage is a constitutional right, but it was a huge day for gay rights. While many states still don’t recognize gay marriage, there are now 13 states (just give California a few weeks), plus DC, that do.
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