Today is a vitally significant day in American culture because of two rulings made by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). The decisions are historic because of their impact on the wider society, regardless of whether or not a person approves or disapproves of the message sent by the Supreme Court. Specifically, the highest legal institution in that country, the decisions of which all lower courts are obligated to follow because of common law precedent, has decreed that same-sex couples are to receive the same federal benefits enjoyed by heterosexual spouses in California. On the issue of the Defense of Marriage Act, the SCOTUS’s other ruling is also fundamentally important. The SCOTUS has stated that Prop 8 stands. Prop 8 is essentially a ban on gay marriage in California. The reason for the refusal to rule on Prop 8 was that the relevant advocates of the court battle did not possess the appropriate legal standing to make their claim valid.
Because of the DOMA ruling, marriage is no longer federally defined as a union between a man and a woman. In 1996, then-President Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law (in a classic case of how Clinton practiced triangulation—co-opting some Republican issues for himself, one of the reasons for his widespread popularity). The country is evenly divided on the merits of affording same-sex pairings federally-provided benefits, but there is a trend upward on the side of the advocates.
Some will see this historic ruling as evidence of the decline of civilization in the West. Others will see it as too-long-delayed celebration of gay rights.
Where do you stand on the issue?
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