Historic Day: DOMA Struck Down!

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA): “DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.” Here is the link to the opinion: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_g2bh.pdf

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This means that the federal government will have to recognize same-sex marriages that come from states that legally permit it; however, that does not mean that all states will allow same-sex marriages to be performed.

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton) defined marriage as solely between a man and a woman, denying same-sex couples 1,138 federal benefits, rights, & protections.

Currently, same sex marriage is legal in 12 states and D.C. In fact, the law permitting same sex marriages in Delaware goes into effect in just four days, on July 1. New Jersey allows civil unions, and Pennsylvania currently has no provisions for same-sex couples.

The case against the United States was brought forth by 83-year-old Edie Windsor. In 2007, she married her longtime partner Thea Spyer in Canada where same-sex marriage is legal. The couples marriage was legally recognized in the state of New York; however, when Thea passed away, Edie faced $363,000 in estate taxes because the federal government did not recognize the union as valid.

United for Marriage encourages all Philadelphians to meet from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the People’s Plaza (hardscaped area near 5th & Market) to show how the community feels about the decisions in DOMA and Prop8: https://www.facebook.com/events/383580785095114/

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