June 26, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In what some have said may prove to be the equivalent of the Roe v. Wade for marriage in the United States, the Supreme Court has just ruled that a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act is "unconstitutional."
A part of the Clinton-era law that prohibited "married" homosexual couples from receiving federal benefits was struck down 5-4. The majority decision was authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy.
"DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty,” says the decision.
“The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity," it continues. "By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.”
The dissenting Justices were Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito.
Besides codifying the definition of marriage in federal statutes, DOMA protects states from having to recognize as valid within their own jurisdiction any same-sex “marriage” contracted in other states.
While under normal circumstances the U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for defending federal laws in court, in this case the Obama administration declined to do so. Instead, the administration filed papers aruging that the law is unconstitutional.
In an unusual move the U.S. House of Representatives stepped up to fill the void.