The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this morning that same-sex couples cannot be denied federal benefits given to other couples. The ruling strikes down a part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which prevents married same-sex couples from receiving health, tax and other federal benefits.
"DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment," wrote justice Anthony Kennedy in the court's 5-4 decision. In the majority rule were justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor. Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas were in the minority.
The court also dismissed Proposition 8, the California law banning same-sex marriage there. The decision paves the way for California to reinstate same-sex marriages. (Twelve states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages.) The DOMA ruling means the federal government must recognize marriages in those states.
At 5:30 p.m. today, the Forum for Equality and several other organizations host a "Day of Decision" rally in Jackson Square:
Forum For Equality will rally in New Orleans with ACLU Louisiana, Human Rights Campaign, LGBT Community Center and PFLAG-New Orleans to explain the decision, what it means for Louisiana couples and to support the freedom to marry.
Come with your partners, wives and husbands! Bring the entire family! Invite along your friends, neighbors, allies and co-workers! Don’t forget your signs, banners, and flags! And wear RED! Press, organizations, and individual community members are all encouraged to attend.