Supreme Court gives two big victories for gay rights
June 26th, 2013
12:12 PM ET

Supreme Court gives two big victories for gay rights

  • The Supreme Court issues two key rulings affecting same-sex marriage in the U.S.  
  • Part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down
  • The justices also cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California after rejecting an appeal on the state's Proposition 8
  • Refresh this page for the latest news, analysis and reaction

[Updated at 12:12 p.m. ET] It's the end of a busy morning of momentous rulings from the Supreme Court. We're still working on getting analysis on and reaction to the two landmark decisions that will impact marriage between same-sex couples in the United States and we'll bring that to you on CNN.com, CNN's mobile apps and CNN TV.

We'll sign off this live blog now, thanks for reading. Here are links to more of the coverage we already have:

Our main story: Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage hailed as historic victory

Details on the DOMA case: Supreme Court strikes down federal provision on same-sex marriage benefits

Details on the Proposition 8 case: Supreme Court dismisses California's Proposition 8 appeal

From CNN Money: The financial impact of the same-sex marriage ruling

Gay celebrities who are married or engaged

Same-sex marriage by the numbers

[Updated at 11:49 a.m. ET] Religion and marriage are intricately tied together for many and our Belief blog co-editor Daniel Burke has got a range of reaction from believers and non-believers.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is one of those looking at the decisions through a religion lens:

[Updated at 11:43 a.m. ET] Both the decisions affecting same-sex marriage were 5-4 splits. And the dissenting justices put out some strong opinions of their own.

Justice Scalia on the DOMA case:

Few public controversies touch an institution so central to the lives of so many, and few inspire such attendant passion by good people on both sides. Few public controversies will ever demonstrate so vividly the beauty of what our Framers gave us, a gift the Court pawns today to buy its stolen moment in the spotlight: a system of government that permits us to rule ourselves.

Some will rejoice in today's decision, and some will despair at it; that is the nature of a controversy that matters to much to so many. But the Court has cheated both sides, robbing the winners of an honest victory, and the losers of the peace that comes from a fair defeat. We owed both of them better. I dissent.

Justice Kennedy on the Proposition 8 case:

What the Court fails to grasp or accept is the basic premise of the initiative process. And it is this. The essence of democracy is that the right to make law rests in the people and flows to the government, not the other way around. Freedom resides first in the people without need of a grant from government. The California initiative process embodies these principles and has done so for over a century... In California and the 26 other States that permit initiatives and popular referendums, the people have exercised their own inherent sovereign right to govern themselves. The Court today frustrates that choice.

[Updated at 11:35 a.m. ET] Kris Perry, one of the key figures in the Proposition 8 case, said it was a victory not just for couples wanting to wed but also children. "No matter where you live, no matter who your parents are, no matter what kind of family you're in, you are equal, you are as good as your friends' parents and your friends."

She added: "We can go back to California and say to our own children - all four of our boys - your family is just as good as everybody else's family."

[Updated at 11:20 a.m. ET] There are a lot of rainbow flags flying today. Including on Google if you search "gay."

[Updated at 11:11 a.m. ET] Family Research Council president Tony Perkins released a statement saying his group was "disappointed" in the DOMA ruling and "disturbed" by the detail of the Proposition 8 decision but that it also took some heart from the Supreme Court's actions.

“Their refusal to redefine marriage for all states is a major setback for those seeking to redefine natural marriage," he said. "Time is not on the side of those seeking to create same-sex ‘marriage.’ As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage will undoubtedly intensify."

He concluded: “What is inevitable is that the male and female relationship will continue to be uniquely important to the future of society. The reality is that society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad. We will continue to work to restore and promote a healthy marriage culture, which will maximize the chances of a child being raised by a married mother and father.”

[Updated at 11:08 a.m. ET] The Human Rights Campaign, which has pushed for LGBT equality, is declaring two "monumental victories." Here's the top of their statement:

In recent years, California’s Proposition 8 and the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act became symbols of anti-LGBT discrimination around the country and around the world. Today, both crumbled.
In a watershed moment in the fight for equality, the United States Supreme Court today ruled to return marriage equality to California and to strike down DOMA. The court ruled in the Prop 8 case on procedural grounds, not reaching a decision on the merits of Prop 8 or the broader question of whether the Constitution guarantees the fundamental right to marry the person you love.
Marriages in California are expected to begin again soon. While a joyous milestone, these victories nonetheless throw into sharp relief the uneven progress for LGBT people around the country—a landscape where states like California are rapidly advancing toward equality, but progress in many other places remains stagnant.

[Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET] A little more detail on exactly what the Proposition 8 decision by the Supreme Court means: By dismissing the case, the decision will allow for the lower court decision in California that allows for same-sex marriage to be reinstated. The appeals court stay on the decision will be lifted.

[Updated at 10:59 a.m. ET] Here's what Hollywood is saying - some reactions from celebrities, many of whom have campaigned for gay rights.

And this is George Takei on Facebook:

Today marks a watershed moment in history and a tremendous victory for the principle of equality. The 5-4 decision by our Supreme Court striking down DOMA affirms the universality of love–the desire of all people not only to find, but to value and affirm, a lifelong commitment to another person.

I have lived nearly four score years, and have borne witness to both the heartbreak and promise of true justice and equality in America. Today my heart soars, and my faith in the promise of our great nation is renewed.

Now, if there's anything we gays know how to do well, it is to celebrate! Let the joy of this day ring out with PRIDE.

[Updated at 10:47 a.m. ET] The key couples in the California case just held their arms aloft in celebration on the steps of the Supreme Court building. "This is a great day for America," said one of their lawyers, David Boies.

[Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET] So what's your reaction to the rulings today?

[Updated at 10:38 a.m. ET] It sounds like we'll be looking into these rulings for a while – Jeffrey Toobin just said the Proposition 8 case was "a puzzling decision" and a "puzzling" line-up of justices who backed the decision.

The opinion about Proposition 8 was written by Chief Justice Roberts who was joined by Justice Scalia, a conservative, and three liberals – Justices Breyer, Ginsburg and Kagan.

[Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET] Same-sex marriage can resume in California - that's the result of the Supreme Court ruling just in that dismisses an appeal regarding California's Proposition 8.

From our colleague Bill Mears:

The Supreme Court has dismissed a closely-watched appeal over same-sex marriage on jurisdictional grounds, ruling Wednesday private parties do not have "standing" to defend California's voter-approved ballot measure barring gay and lesbians couples from state-sanctioned wedlock. The ruling permits same-sex couples in California to legally marry. The 5-4 decision avoids for now a sweeping conclusion on whether same-sex marriage is a constitutionally-protected "equal protection" right that would apply to all states. The case is Hollingsworth v. Perry (12-144).

[Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET] New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told CNN the ruling was a "great win." "“A great win not just for the gay community, it’s a great win for the American tradition of equal justice under the law,” he said.

[Updated at 10:29 a.m. ET] House Speaker John Boehner was just asked about the DOMA case, but he declined comment until he's read the ruling.

[Updated at 10:26 a.m. ET] The ruling on Proposition 8 - California's ban on same-sex marriage - is in.

[Updated at 10:23 a.m. ET] And yes, the president was watching. His Twitter account is calling the DOMA ruling "a historic step forward," though it's not signed with the "bo" that shows he wrote it.

[Updated at 10:22 a.m. ET] President Obama was going to be monitoring the rulings on Air Force One as he heads to Senegal, CNN's Jessica Yellin reports.

[Updated at 10:17 a.m. ET] Supporters of same-sex marriage waiting outside the Supreme Court cheered the DOMA decision. Reaction is also coming in from Twitter.

DNC chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said that "finally" all married couples would get benefits.

[Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET] Of course we can't draw any conclusions from the DOMA ruling about which way the justices will decide on California's Proposition 8. 

[Updated at 10:12 a.m. ET] The justices were split 5-4. The majority ruling was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Dissents were written by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Samuel Alito.

[Updated at 10:09 a.m. ET] Legal expert Jeffrey Toobin puts the ruling in context: "DOMA is gone."

[Updated at 10:08 a.m. ET] From our team in Washington:

The Supreme Court has struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that same-sex spouses legally married in a state may receive federal benefits.

[Updated at 10:06 a.m. ET] This is the case where Edie Windsor said she had to pay more in inheritance tax than warranted because her spouse was a woman not a man.

[Updated at 10:02 a.m. ET] We're reading the decision to see how the justices ruled regarding the rights of legally married same-sex couples to receive federal benefits provided to heterosexual spouses.

[Updated at 10:01 a.m. ET] There is a ruling in the DOMA case.

[Updated at 10:00 a.m. ET] So it's 10 a.m. in the nation's capital and the Supreme Court should be sitting. No cameras inside the court of course, so we can only assume they are good timekeepers.

[Updated at 9:54 a.m. ET] Two days ago Lady Gaga called on the Supreme Court to "make history & stand for MARRIAGE EQUALITY." That's now been retweeted nearly 14,000 times. But will it have had any impact on the nine justices?

[Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET] Here are some of the people who weren't specifically part of the cases argued before the Supreme Court but who will almost certainly be affected by the rulings. CNN's Moni Basu profiled gay couples who are at the center of two big political debates – same-sex marriage and immigration.

[Updated at 9:44 a.m. ET] While we're waiting for the opinions to be delivered, here's Donna Brazile's take on yesterday's landmark ruling on the Voting Rights Act. The Democratic strategist says it's time for President Obama and Congress to pass a new Voting Rights Act.

[Updated at 9: 40 a.m. ET] A quick reminder that you can watch our reporting live on CNN TV as well as refreshing this page and staying with CNN on CNN.com and our mobile apps.

[Updated at 9:19 a.m. ET] Large crowds are gathering outside the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. and on social media. Right now we can see rainbow gay pride banners and blue flags with a yellow "=" sign that is a standard of those fighting for more rights for same-sex couples. Not in view are groups who support traditional marriage between a man and a woman, but that's not to say they're not there. Both sides were strongly represented when the Supreme Court heard the arguments back in March.

On Twitter, #DOMA will probably start trending soon. There's certainly a lot of people tweeting about the Supreme Court today.

The Tie the Knot organization that wants marriage equality tweeted "The big day is here."

It's no surprise that GLAAD wants marriage equality.

Or that the Family Research Council is backing traditional unions.

And this, from CNN legal eagle Jeffrey Toobin:

[Posted at 9:05 a.m. ET] It's set to be the last public day of the Supreme Court session, and we're waiting for opinions in three cases - two of which address same-sex marriage.

It's widely expected that we'll get rulings on the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8, and those rulings could affect the lives, rights and finances of millions of Americans.

CNN Supreme Court producer Bill Mears writes that DOMA, passed in 1996, defines marriage as between one man and one woman for federal purposes, like taxes. "That means the estimated 120,000 gay and lesbian couples legally married in nine states and the District of Columbia are still considered - in the eyes of DOMA opponents - the equivalent of girlfriend and boyfriend."

That meant that Edie Windsor faced a hefty bill for inheritance taxes when her partner of 42 years died. She claimed in court that she had had to pay $363,053 more than if her spouse, thea Spyer, had been a man.

But Mears points out that the DOMA issue is more than just a financial question:

The larger debate over DOMA's intent and impact 17 years after passage has driven a wedge between the executive and legislative branches.

At issue is what role the federal government should play when it comes to marriage - something states have traditionally controlled.

The other key case expected to be decided today considers Proposition 8. "In the 'Prop 8' case, the high court is being asked to establish a constitutional 'equal protection' right. It is the kind of hot-button issue that will define our society, our laws, our views on family," Mears writes.

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Filed under: Justice • Same-sex marriage • Supreme Court
June 24th, 2013
02:30 AM ET

U.S. urges Russia to expel Snowden

Washington is urging Moscow to send Edward Snowden back to the United States instead of letting him fly to Ecuador for asylum.

"We expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged," U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said early Monday.

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Filed under: National security • Politics • Russia • Security • U.S.
June 24th, 2013
01:45 AM ET

The Zimmerman trial: What you need to know

Opening statements begin Monday in the trial of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder. He says he shot the unarmed teen in self-defense.

A jury of six women will decide Zimmerman's fate, which has already drawn some scrutiny from the public about whether he will get a fair trial.

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Filed under: Crime • Justice • U.S.
June 24th, 2013
12:25 AM ET

Another 787 Dreamliner diverted

A United Airlines 787 Dreamliner was diverted early Sunday due to a mechanical problem, Boeing said.

The plane landed without incident and with no passenger injuries, the plane maker said.

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Filed under: FAA • Plane emergency landing • Travel • U.S. • World
June 24th, 2013
12:08 AM ET

Nelson Mandela in critical condition

News crews and a few well-wishers huddled early Monday on the cold streets outside the Pretoria hospital where former South African President Nelson Mandela is now in critical condition.

An anxious nation stood in vigil as well.

The South African president's office said Mandela's condition had worsened in the past 24 hours, citing his medical team.

He has been hospitalized in Pretoria since June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Previously, authorities had described his condition as serious but stable.

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Filed under: World
June 23rd, 2013
06:16 AM ET

Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong

The global cat-and-mouse hunt for Edward Snowden took a drastic turn Sunday when the man wanted on U.S. espionage charges left Hong Kong and was flying over Russian airspace.
And he left with the help of WikiLeaks, who assisted with Snowden's "political asylum in a democratic country, travel papers (and) safe exit from Hong Kong." the group said on Twitter.

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Filed under: U.S. • World
Up in the sky, look: It's Supermoon!
June 22nd, 2013
07:09 AM ET

Up in the sky, look: It's Supermoon!

The heavens will deliver a rare treat to moonstruck romantics and werewolves Sunday who rise before the sun.
A feat of lunar synchronicity will create a Supermoon.
This happens when the moon is full and at the same time reaches its perigee - the closest point to Earth in its orbit, according to NASA.
It makes for the biggest, brightest moon of the year.

Full story


Filed under: Earth • NASA • Nature • Science • Solar System • Space • U.S. • Uncategorized • Weather • World • World Update
June 22nd, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Kerry, key allies in Qatar for talks on Syrian rebels' support

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Qatar early Saturday for meetings with his Western and Mideast counterparts who support Syrian rebels struggling to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

The diplomatic group, known as the London Eleven, is meeting in Doha to help shift the balance of power on the Syrian battlefield away from al-Assad and into the hands of his enemies.

But they are up against support for his government by Russia, China, Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Full story


Filed under: John Kerry • Qatar • Syria • Uncategorized • World Update
June 22nd, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Spokesman: Ambulance rushing Mandela to hospital broke down

An ambulance transporting former South African President Nelson Mandela to the hospital two weeks ago had engine trouble on the way there, but the anti-apartheid icon was never at risk, a government spokesman said Saturday.

"When the ambulance experienced engine problems it was decided that it would be best to transfer to another military ambulance which itself was accompanied for the rest of the journey by a civilian ambulance," spokesman Mac Maharaj said.

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Filed under: World
June 21st, 2013
06:02 AM ET

Survivors recount horror of India floods

Barrages of water, mud and rocks have hit scores of towns and villages in the Indian state of Uttarakhand in the past week, devouring homes, shrines, roads and vehicles.

Uttarakhand's chief minister, Vijay Bahuguna, has described the disaster as a "Himalayan tsunami."

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June 21st, 2013
05:41 AM ET

What's in a name? Lots of jokes.

Call it a new direction in celebrity baby names.

The Twitter universe exploded overnight following reports by TMZ and E! Online that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West named their baby girl North West.

It wasn't long before the jokes started flying.

"Kim and Kanye would have named their baby South West but that dang airline beat them to it!" comedian Fortune Feimster tweeted.

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Filed under: U.S.
June 21st, 2013
05:40 AM ET

At least 14 killed in Pakistan mosque bombing

At least 14 people were killed and 25 others were wounded during a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, according to a senior police official.

Shafiullah Khan told CNN the bomber shot and killed a guard at the entrance to the mosque then entered the main hall where he blew himself up while the victims were praying. The wounded were taken to Lady Reading hospital.

Friday prayers is the main gathering of the week for Muslims.

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Filed under: Pakistan • Terrorism
June 21st, 2013
05:37 AM ET

Calgary flooding could force up to 100,000 from homes

As many as 100,000 residents of Calgary, Alberta, could face evacuation because of flooding, the director of emergency management said early Friday.

Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for 20 communities, Bruce Burrell said. Parts of of southern Alberta face rising floodwaters and the possibility of more rain.

The levels of the Bow and Elbow rivers are expected to peak overnight, but not drop until late Saturday at the earliest, he said.

"I have never experienced any flooding of this magnitude," he added.

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Filed under: Calgary • Canada • Flooding • Weather
June 21st, 2013
05:32 AM ET

Spain arrests eight suspects linked to al Qaeda

Security forces arrested eight members of a group linked to al Qaeda on Friday in a Spanish enclave in North Africa, authorities said.

"We have broken up a network responsible for sending combatants to al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups operating in Syria," the Spanish Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The suspects were captured in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave that borders Morocco.

Authorities said the network was based in Ceuta and the nearby Moroccan city of Fnideq.

It recruited, trained and paid for terrorists to fight in other countries, authorities said.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • Spain • Terrorism
June 21st, 2013
05:07 AM ET

Autopsy results due for Gandolfini

Official autopsy results are expected Friday for "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, who died of an apparent heart attack while vacationing in Italy.

Doctors analyzed samples from his body and will provide a final report later in the day, Dr. Claudio Modini said.

Initial indications suggest the actor died of a heart attack,  according to Modini, who heads the emergency department he was taken to in Rome.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
June 21st, 2013
02:02 AM ET

Jewish man killed near Western Wall

A security guard shot and killed a Jewish man near Jerusalem's Western Wall, police said.

The man had his hands in his pocket and looked suspicious, Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman said. He also said The man also had been shouting "Allah Akbar," which means "God is great."

Police are investigating the incident.

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Filed under: World
June 21st, 2013
12:05 AM ET

LeBron leads Heat to NBA championship

Led by LeBron James, who scored 37 points, the Miami Heat defended their NBA title by defeating the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in Game 7 of the finals at Miami on Thursday.

Dwyane Wade chipped in 23 points for the Heat, who won their third title overall.

"This was the hardest series we ever had to play, but we're a resilient team and we did what it took," he said.

Tim Duncan scored 24 points for the Spurs.

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Filed under: Sports • U.S.
Body of Sopranos star awaits autopsy
June 20th, 2013
08:21 AM ET

Body of Sopranos star awaits autopsy

James Gandolfini probably died of a heart attack, according to the head of a Rome hospital's emergency department where the actor was taken.

The body of the actor was transferred to a hospital morgue in Rome early Thursday, where it awaited an autopsy.

By law, medical examiners in Italy are required to carry out the postmortem 24 hours after the body's arrival in the morgue, a hospital spokesman said.

Before Italian authorities can release his remains for transport back to the United States, the U.S. Embassy in Rome must issue a death certificate.

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Filed under: Entertainment • Italy • New Jersey • New York • TV • U.S. • World • World Update
June 20th, 2013
05:50 AM ET

Group apologizes to gay community, shuts down

After 37 years, Exodus International, an organization whose mission was to "help" gay Christians become straight, is shutting down. But not before issuing an apology.

"We're not negating the ways God used Exodus to positively affect thousands of people, but a new generation of Christians is looking for change - and they want to be heard," said Tony Moore, a board member of Exodus.

The announcement comes less than a day after Exodus issued a wide-ranging apology to the gay community for "years of undue judgment by the organization and the Christian Church as a whole," a statement from the group says.

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Filed under: U.S.
Patriots player mum as police search for clues in man's death
June 20th, 2013
05:05 AM ET

Patriots player mum as police search for clues in man's death

Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is used to throngs of media clamoring to ask him questions, but the NFL star has never had to deal with them camping outside his home.

After reports that the player had been questioned in connection with a homicide not far from his Massachusetts house, that's what he's been faced with for the past three days.

A line of reporters waited on the road in front of his house Wednesday, along with neighbors eager for a word from the player.

Nearby, police sifted through the woods for clues that could shed some light on what happened to Odin Lloyd, 27, who was found dead less than a mile from Hernandez's expansive home in North Attleborough.

Hernandez has yet to say anything publicly.

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Filed under: Football • Massachusetts • Pro football
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