WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
DOMA was a 1996 law blocking federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
This basically means that same-sex spouses legally married in a state may receive federal benefits.
This ruling puts same-sex married couples on the same level as all married couples.
However, this ruling only applies to states where same-sex marriage is recognized.
Oklahoma does not recognize same-sex marriage.
According to CNN, the justices were split 5-4.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority ruling stating the law amounted to the “deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.”
The law helps determine who is covered by more than 1,100 federal laws, programs and benefits, including Social Security survivor benefits, immigration rights and family leave.
“DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others,” the ruling stated.
It added that the law was invalid because there was no legitimate purpose for disparaging those whom states “sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”
In a separate case, the court ruled that it could not take up a challenge to Proposition 8, the California law that banned gay marriage in that state.
That decision means that gay marriage will once again be legal in California.