Ding dong DOMA's dead!

Struck down 5-4 if the New York Times can be believed. I was hoping for 6-3, but a win is a win. Next up: Prop 8.

Nice! I’m sure conservatives are thinking: “Never trust a Kennedy, no matter how conservative he says he is!”

And Prop 8 goes down too, 5-4, but not the five I would have guessed. The majority opinion rested on lack of standing of the Prop 8 defenders, not civil rights per se. Still, it’s a good day.

Yes! My Facebook is all covered in happyhappyjoyjoy. It’s a beautiful thing.

About time.

Long awaited. Still a long road to go, but this is a great jump down that path.

Is Prop 8 struck down, or did they just kick it back to the lower court?

I was tempted to go see what they’re saying now over in Free Republic about these decisions, but then I remembered that I’m not a masochist.

They ordered the ninth circuit to vacate its decision, which to my non-lawyer understanding means that the first decision made by the circuit court stands. Which would mean prop 8 is struck down.

:confused: Wait, have I misunderstood the rulings all these years? And did I mis-read today’s news? I thought Prop 8 was struck down at the original trial court, and this was affirmed by the appeals courts all the way up. The Supreme Court, however, didn’t address the merits, but instead simply found that plaintiffs (who wanted to uphold and re-instate Prop 8) had no standing.

ETA: If that’s correct, then does it imply that a similar case could happen again, with undetermined outcome, if a plaintiff appears who has standing?

Note, the final (probably) defeat of Prop 8 applies to California only.

Neither the demise of DOMA nor the defeat of Prop 8 establishes that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right that neither Congress [del]nor the State Legislatures[/del] (?) may abridge.

The finding on DOMA holds that the States, not Congress, may decide who can get married. This supports the right of each state to make its own law, allowing or forbidding SSM. OTOH, the Prop 8 finding was simply a procedural finding (that plaintiffs had no standing), without examining the merits. The lower court findings (that Prop 8 is illegal) stand, but I don’t see that this is necessarily the final word on this.

Since many states still do not recognize SSM, there is now much confusion to be expected when MOTSS living in a no-SSM state go to a SSM state to get married, but then return to their home non-SSM state to continue to reside there. There is doubt about which benefits (including, which federal benefits) they may be eligible to claim, as a married same-sex couple living in a non-SSM state.

Some federal agencies define a married couple according to the state in which their marriage license was issued. But some other federal agencies define a married couple according to the state in which they currently reside, and married same-sex couples in non-SSM states may not qualify. This now emerges as a can of worms that will need to be sorted out in the coming years.

Gay rights groups: ‘Proceed with caution’ before marrying, Liz Goodwin, Yahoo! News, June 26, 2013.

Here’s almost everything you need to know now that DOMA is dead, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Blog, June 26, 2013.

IIRC, the federal trial court struck Prop 8. Then some family org appealed the ruling because the California Attorney General decided to sit on her hands instead of defending California law from federal attack.

The issue at SCOTUS was whether this family org had standing to appeal. They did not, so the ruling striking Prop 8 stands.

According to Immigration Equality, the ruling means that same sex married couples can apply for a green card for the non native spouse now.

The ruling halted a deportation hearing for a man in New York, as the case was being heard.

So now you can sort all the really important things that aren’t being addressed, like why the US can store my e-mails without my permission, not to mention 17 trillion in debt, China and Russia mocking Obama, Benghazi, the IRS etc etc.

I would imagine that the hundreds of thousands of people directly or indirectly affected by these rulings would consider them “really important”, including the guy in the above case who was about to get deported. It’s not all about you.

Because the USA PATRIOT Act says so. And it’s not (yet) a SCOTUS case.

You can thank the last guy and the economic collapse for a goodly chunk of that. And it’s not (yet) a SCOTUS case.

They’re mocking the US, not Obama specifically. And it’s not (yet) a SCOTUS case.

Really? The tragedy-turned-trumped-up-political-theatre? That’s what’s “important” to you? Also: not (yet) a SCOTUS case.

Now this…this…um…yeah. All released evidence points to folks within the IRS doing the selective auditing, and that liberal groups were investigated along with the Tea Party ones. Which is a SCOTUS case how?

It was upheld by the 9th circuit. The scotus decision was that the people appealing did not have standing. So they didn’t have the right to appeal at all. Which means neither scotus OR the 9th circuit could legitimately hear the case. Which leaves the original decision striking down prop 8 as the only valid ruling.

Say, how’s the weather out there in Reactionaristan?

Yes, however, bear this in mind: The only two types of plaintiffs that could possibly appear who might have standing, in the eyes of SCOTUS.

One are officials representing the state. That is, the governor or the attorney general. There is no chance that the current officials would want to do this, and very little chance that any future officials would either, given the current political climate of California.

The other are people who actually are injured by the striking down of Proposition 8. That is, people who suffer some sort of real harm from the existance of same-sex marriage. But, as we all know, they don’t really exist.

So the bottom line is that there are no plaintiffs with real standing that will actually appear, so Proposition 8 is truly dead.

But politics is very changeable. Some future reactionary government in California might decide to apply the Prop. 8 and appeal any adverse judgment. It would still be better to get it voted down. Or get SSM rights voted in. Similarly with DOMA, a future reactionary president could get a new ultraconservative court to rehear the case and decide it was wrongly decided. The law is still on the books and who knows what could happen?

I read the Times account carefully and they don’t seem to know what will happen if an SSM couple resident in NY moves to Alabama, would they continue to be able to file joint tax returns, for example. What about the residents of Alabama who go to NY just to get married? Oh, this will keep the lawyers employed for decades.

There is a precedent for the income tax laws treating residents of different states differently. In the early days of income tax, residents of California and a couple other community property states were automatically allowed income splitting, all others not. This was so patently unfair that joint tax returns were eventually allowed by statute to all Americans. (Exception: a non-resident citizen with a non-resident non-citizen spouse and I know someone in that situation.)

That time, if it occurs at all, is so far off that I’m sure SSM will be enshrined in the law in California, if not the whole country, by then.