The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a 1996 law denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples is unconstitutional, in a sign of how rapidly the national debate over gay rights has shifted. The decision was five to four, with Justice Anthony M. Kennedy writing the majority opinion, which the four liberal-leaning justices joined. (Read 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,” Justice Kennedy wrote. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts was in the minority, as were Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. The ruling overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, which passed with bipartisan support and President Bill Clinton signed.
article via nytimes.com