This is an historic day in civil rights. It means that the thousands of people married in the 12 states and District of Columbia that allow same-gender marriage are recognized by our government as legally married - that brings with it literally thousands of rights - from inheritance and Social Security to going through customs together.
The ruling also means that gay men and lesbian women, who didn't get married before Prop 8 in California can now do so.
What it doesn't do, sadly, is overturn Section Two of DOMA - the part which allows states to decide for themselves whether or not to recognize same-gender marriages performed in another state. So whereas Kelly and I are legally married in California and recognized as a married couple by the Federal Government and a dozen plus other states in the Union, our marriage is not recognized in Utah where we live.
This is akin to a two-tiered system. It relegates gay and lesbian couples and their families to second class citizenship. Imagine the howl that would rise up if Mississippi no longer recognized the marriages of African-Americans joined in Illinois, or if Vermont chose not to recognize marriages performed in the LDS Temples in Utah.
Marriage has always fallen to the states. The good news is that the tide of history is with those who favor equality.
|Your humble author at an anti-DOMA march in 1996|