The historic Supreme Court decision last week to overturn the ironically named Defense Of Marriage Act was a significant win for human rights. While it does not exactly bring marriage equality to the entire US, the ruling does set a wonderful human rights precedent. It will also have a very real impact on a lot of married couples who will now have the federal government recognize their spousal rights . . . if they are legally married within an equality state.
Unfortunately, while the number of Marriage States is still growing, the majority of the states are still dragging their heels. That includes my state, where same-sex marriage is still off the table. The knowledge that things will get better is only a small comfort, since there are people being denied their fundamental rights right now.
Still, this is a win. DOMA is dead, and couples all over the country will benefit, even if many of those benefits are mundane things—like filing taxes jointly.
The Supreme Court made a narrow ruling on Prop 8 (California’s now-dead ban on same-sex marriage), ruling that the case technically should not have come before them rather than ruling that they found fault with a voter referendum on whether or not fellow American citizens get all of their rights or not. It seems like a distant victory to many of us, but California is a populous state and people can resume having their rights to legally recognized marriages.
Which is really wonderful. Both were, for many Americans, largely symbolic victories. But while the Obama administration figures out exactly how to best recognize marriages on a federal level (there’s a lot involved and they’ll have to figure out how some things work), we’re all celebrating—and we should. Because this was a good thing. And we should celebrate now, because we have a lot more civil rights ground to cover for the LGBT community.