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
soundoff (1,141 Responses)
  1. Goondo

    Can we take one step further? allow marriage between me and my dog.

    How about between sibling as long as they don't intend to have kids.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      LOL! + 1100 Idiot points! That's actually a new record!

      June 26, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary TX

      1) don't hurt the dog, but if that's what you want jump on it 2) people in the south have been sleeping with their brothers and sisters for a while now (100 years or more) and some have babies (you) and some don't .. so I'm good with this rock on

      June 26, 2013 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  2. V-1

    This world has gone haywire. Oh well, let these people disobey God. They will be judged in due time. Marriage is between a Man & Woman. Sick people, sick, so sad....

    June 26, 2013 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • CommonSensed

      They're not asking you to be gay.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      +40 Idiot Points.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • ish kabibble

      I'm sure your God has more important issues to deal with, like hunger, death, disease, poverty–especially among children.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Hillcrester

      You "believers" and your church leaders have a choice: You can continue to fight this inevitable social change and become increasingly marginalized and ridiculed, or you can decide that it need not affect you and just withdraw. The choice is yours. I have no interest in which you do, but you should.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Julie Anne F.

      "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Sin always has consequences.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • OwMySkull

      You name "V-1" is appropriate. A mindless drone that runs on autopilot and eventually explodes.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'Julie Anne F. – "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Sin always has consequences.'

      And it then goes on to say that divorce is wrong and if a divorced person remarries they are committing adultery. So yeah, go ahead and condemn divorce with all your strength else be branded a hypocrite.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      V-1: Your god is a petty, vindictive pr1ck. Time to get back on your knees to praise him.....or he gets angry

      June 26, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SixDegrees

    Intolerant, bigoted bible-thumpers are getting their butts handed to them from coast to coast. First Texas, then Washington and California.

    Welcome to the 21st century. Welcome to tolerance. Haul your god out of everyone's government and back to your church, where he belongs.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. sausage

    sodom and gomorrah

    June 26, 2013 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • PushingBack

      ...and Hogwarts and Gondor.

      Wait, we were listing fictional places right?

      June 26, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • GrowUp

      Your favorites?

      June 26, 2013 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      were destroyed why? i bet you think it was because of gays

      June 26, 2013 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Johnny

    In the words of Nelson....HA HA!

    June 26, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. Gary TX

    Hey I don't care who you are that's funny .. not true but funny still

    June 26, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. James

    So much for the democratic way.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      The one time God Fearing people stand up for what they believe in and the government comes in and goes against the majority vote! Gotta love the society we live in!

      June 26, 2013 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • tstorm92

      Sucks when you can't vote in "hate" and "intolerance", doesn't it??

      June 26, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      There is no "Hate" or "intolerance" found in those words, I said nothing about gays or any person...I was just commenting on the inability for the democratic process to work.

      June 26, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. happypuppy

    You have just this life to get right with God. The most important decision you make in your life is where you will spend eternity. After you die, you will go to either heaven or hell, depending on how you lived your life. If you have lived your life in accordance with God, you will go to heaven. If you have lived your life in opposition to God, there is only eternal separation from God for all eternity. It really is this simple. Where will you spend eternity?

    June 26, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      With any luck, not in the same place as you bigots!

      June 26, 2013 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • OwMySkull

      I want to go where the dogs go.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • tstorm92

      Yours are the words of hate and intolerance and God is NOT the source of hate and intolerance. God never expects you to be anybody but who you are, you just never expected Him to love you for it....

      June 26, 2013 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • AbsolutXero

      There are worse sins out there. I don't recall being gay an unforgivable and condemnable sin.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      why? why create a system where you have to live a life, that apparently god alreadys knows the result of due to his knowing everything, to determine where you go when you die? What would be the point of such a bizarre system?
      At least the norse had the full heroes waiting for the end of creation battle reason for an afterlife.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • AverageJoe76

      So live this life, just to be correct for the next life? This life sounds like a waste. I'll go jump now....

      June 26, 2013 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • sam stone

      more empty proxy threats from the pious

      June 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • rabbitcommarogerindyreader

      Unless your chosen religion is wrong, and some other one – or none at all – is right. Then you may have lots and lots of lives, being reincarnated in higher or lower form depending on how well you did in the previous life. Or you may simply cease to exist.
      Answer me this one question: if your religion didn't promise you that eternity thing, would you still believe in it, all other things being the same? If not, why not? And if not, what does the grandiosity of the promise do to make the whole proposition more believable?

      June 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Morgan

    You are kidding yourself if you think those are the only type of people concerned. I don't have religious molecule in my body and I live on the coast, and this direction alienates me from this country. Between this, the NSA surveillance nonsense, the destruction of our space program, and other things that are happening here, I don't feel like this is the country of my heart any longer. I am looking for a new place in this world where goodness, sanity, and logic underpin the values of society. That isn't true here in the U.S. any longer. When I find the right place i will move my family, business, and property investments there and raise my kids there. Because in the U.S. now everything and anything goes...

    June 26, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • tadashidavis

      See ya! Buh-bye! Bon voyage! May I interest you in a golf resort for sale in Iraq? Imagine your OWN personal 18 hole golf course!

      June 26, 2013 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • tstorm92

      You should move to Iran. I think they hold similar extreme conservative values to yours... (we'll help you pack).

      June 26, 2013 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • uniblob

      That is a very mature and rational way to oppose this ruling. You are free, willing and able to relocate. Best of luck to you and I sincerely hope you find what will make you happy.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • cedar rapids

      'I am looking for a new place in this world where goodness, sanity, and logic underpin the values of society.'

      No, you are looking for somewhere that agrees with you, and that is a totally different thing altogether.

      June 26, 2013 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • AverageJoe76

      Bye! You don't add to the America the oppressed dream of anyway. You're the antiquated. We want foward progress, not those who believe this, of all things to ask for, is the 'line-in-the-sand'. You're out-dated, and deserve an island of your very own to sulk on.

      June 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. tadashidavis

    We have wasted time on these topics for so long. It should have NEVER come this! The civil rights of an American citizen is a no brainier. The rights of an American citizen to marry (no matter gay or straight) should have NEVER been placed into question. That is as oppressive as Sharia Law! A shame! Now that we (Supreme Court) have come to our senses somewhat, now we can evolve, embrace and accept basic human rights in America. Not be subjected to fear mongering religious folk who continue to IGNORE basic civil rights.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. GrowUp

    Logic, decency, integrity and equality have prevailed despite those who are vociferous haters.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. Walter

    The best outcome of these decisions is that the Supreme Court said that the federal government cannot negate what the state governments allow. Using that same logic, they will never force states to allow gay marriage if the individual states don't want it. There is little to nothing united about the United States anymore and allowing individual states to either accept or reject things like gay marriage is the only way to handle these types of situations.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary TX

      If you knew anything about what your saying, you would have never posted that. All it takes now is 1 lawsuit from a citizen in that state to sue for the right to get married. This just opened that up. So, if a person is gay and wants to get married and sues .. and wins then that state just became a gay marriage state .. may take a year or so but it will happen

      June 26, 2013 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. tstorm92

    Poor Republicans, their world of hate and intolerance is crumbling around them. !

    June 26, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. AverageJoe76

    Slowly and surely America will actually be the country it's always advertised itself to be; "Land of the free, Home of the brave"
    I wish it was actually; "Land of the free, aware, open-minded, and brave" ....... but y'know..... takes time.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. Donkey

    Score one for fairness and common sense.

    June 26, 2013 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
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