* From the US Supreme Court opinion…
DOMA’s principal effect is to identify and make unequal a subset of state-sanctioned marriages. It contrives to deprive some couples married under the laws of their State, but not others, of both rights and responsibilities, creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State. It also forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect.
Make sure to check the SCOTUS Blog for live updates.
I don’t usually post about national issues, but this is pretty relevant to Illinois’ debate over gay marriage, so I decided to go ahead with it. Please, do your best to avoid national political talking points here. Thanks.
…Adding… From Equality Illinois…
“The Supreme Court today affirmed America’s promise of equality by ruling that the federal government cannot ignore constitutional principles when it comes to gay and lesbian couples and their marriages, and it is a moment to celebrate. But today’s historic victory overturning the Defense of Marriage Act is bittersweet in the states like Illinois where couples are still denied the right and recognition of marriage. For anyone who doubts that civil unions in Illinois created an unacceptable second-class status, the court’s ruling is a powerful message that the state House urgently needs to join the Senate and pass the freedom to marry. It is crystal clear now that by failing to act the House denied gay and lesbian couples equal access to the federal protections that married couples in other states will now enjoy.”
* In his rather harsh dissent, Justice Scalia claims that the decision will be used to overturn state laws banning gay marriages, even though the opinion makes clear this the decision applies only to the federal law…
By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency, the majority arms well every challenger to a state law restricting marriage to its traditional definition. Henceforth those challengers will lead with this Court’s declaration that there is “no legitimate purpose” served by such a law, and will claim that the traditional definition has “the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure” the “personhood and dignity” of same-sex couples, see ante, at 25, 26. The majority’s limiting assurance will be meaningless in the face of language like that, as the majority well knows. That is why the language is there. The result will be a judicial distortion of our society’s debate over marriage—a debate thatcan seem in need of our clumsy “help” only to a member of this institution.
* From Gov. Pat Quinn…
“Today the Supreme Court took a historic step by providing equal access to more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits for same-sex couples.
“Members of the Illinois House now have more than 1,100 new reasons to make marriage equality the law in Illinois.
“This is a monumental day for freedom in the history of our nation. The opportunity to guarantee equal rights and benefits to all citizens - under both state and federal law - is one we must seize here in the Land of Lincoln without delay.
“Now is the time for all to put differences aside, band together and redouble our efforts to make it happen.
“I will continue working with members of the Illinois House and all of our tireless community advocates to bring marriage equality to Illinois as soon as possible.”
* The Tribune answers some questions that have popped up in comments…
Because Illinois only allows civil unions and doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, Camilla Taylor, an attorney with Lambda Legal in Chicago, said most gay and lesbian couples in the state are unlikely to see their status in the eyes of the federal government changed by today’s decision.
“In the vast majority of circumstances, Illinois couples in civil unions are uncertain, if not unlikely, to get any of these benefits,” she said.
Taylor said the Obama administration will have to provide guidance on how the government will treat same-sex couples who were legally married in another state and now live in Illinois. It’s possible, she said, that those couples will now have federal recognition.
“We should expect some federal guidance from the IRS, for example, on how same-sex couples will be treated in states like Illinois if they got married in a state like Iowa, where they can legally marry,” Taylor said.
* Journal Star…
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling Wednesday giving married same-sex couples access to federal benefits will have little impact in Illinois unless the state legalizes same-sex marriage, a spokesman for the ACLU of Illinois said.
The court’s decision to strike down the section of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, that denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples applies to couples in the 12 states and the District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is legal.
“It also means couples in civil unions in Illinois don’t have access to those benefit because they are not married,” said Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois. “Frankly, the House ought to convene and pass the marriage bill.”
* These stories have lots of react…
* Sun-Times: Supporters hope DOMA ruling pushes Illinois House on gay marriage
* NBC5: Illinois Reacts To Supreme Court’s DOMA Ruling