Court Rulings Bolster Same-Sex Marriages - Articles

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Posted by: Barry Kolar on Jun 26, 2013

The Supreme Court today struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, ruling on a 5-4 vote that legally married same-sex spouses may receive federal benefits, The New York Times reports. The court also vacated a lower court ruling on Prop 8, saying the 9th Circuit should not have taken the appeal. In Tennessee, Stonewall Bar Association President Sam Felker praised the "significant victory." The Stonewall Bar had filed an amicus brief in the Prop 8 case. He says the immediate effect for Tennesseans from today's rulings "will depend on how the different federal agencies decide to handle the marriage question. Some agencies, for example the IRS and Social Security Administration, look to whether your marriage is recognized in the state where you live. But other agencies, such as Immigration, recognize if the marriage is valid, not where you live." The opinion lays the groundwork, Felker says, for cases that will challenge laws like Tennessee's that prohibit same-sex marriage. "That will be the next round," he says. The Tennessean has further reaction from David Fowler, who crafted Tennessee's state statute and constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, ACLU-TN Executive Director Hedy Weinburg, and others.