SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

June 26, 2013

Supreme Court strikes federal marriage provision

WASHINGTON — In a major victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court today struck down a provision of a federal law denying federal benefits to married gay couples and cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.

The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.

The other was a technical legal ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court's declaration that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation's most populous state in about a month.

In a sign that neither victory was complete, the high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states. And a separate provision of the federal marriage law that allows a state to not recognize a same-sex union from elsewhere remains in place.

President Barack Obama telephoned his congratulations to the plaintiffs in the California case from Air Force One en route to Africa.

The ruling in that case was not along ideological lines. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia.

"We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit," Roberts said, referring to the federal appeals court that also struck down Proposition 8.

In the case involving the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by the court's liberal justices.

"Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways," Kennedy said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • 140418_SN_DLE_HOUSING1 Few affordable units puts squeeze on renters

    When Julie Hill was forced to move out of a relative's house two years ago, she and her 2-year-old daughter suddenly faced the possibility of being homeless. Hill, 29, started looking for an apartment to rent on the North Shore, where her fiancé work

    April 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Billboard companies to float trial balloons in Peabody PEABODY -- If it passes the balloon test, it's a good sign. In the latest development in Peabody's billboard saga, two petitioners who are seeking the City Council's approval for billboards have agreed to float balloons at each site for a day or two

    April 21, 2014

  • Dixie Patterson North Shore volunteers headed to marathon There are more than runners headed into the city today for the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. The North Shore is sending police officers, firefighters, running club members and medical personnel to help manage an event with thousands of runner

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • North Shore residents to run in 2014 Boston Marathon

    The Salem News asked those on the North Shore who are running this year's Boston Marathon to share their reasons for running. 

    If you're running the marathon this year, it's not too late to share why you're running. Send a brief paragraph, a photo of yourself and a link to your fundraising site (if applicable) to Cheryl Richardson at crichardson@salemnews.com.

    April 17, 2014

  • Shakespeare1 Shakespeare on the Ipswich NINJA SHAKESPEARE Events will take place Saturday, April 26, in downtown Ipswich. Noon: Ipswich Visitors Center, 36 S. Main St. (Ninja Shakespeare Opening Scene) 12:20: Ipswich Visitors Center, 36 S. Main St. (Will's Women) 12:30: The Footbridge (Obe

    April 21, 2014 2 Photos