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doma and prop. 8 take it on the chin

June 26, 2013

In the much-anticipated decision to US v. Windsor, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, struck down the section of DOMA that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states on the grounds that it violated the Fifth Amendment, as well as dismissed California’s Prop. 8 appeal on the grounds that the supporters had no legal standing to challenge the ruling, tentatively allowing same-sex marriage in California once again.

However, since the justices essentially skirted the issue of the constitutionality of statewide bans, the ruling doesn’t go so far as to require all states to legalize same-sex marriage, leaving 37 where same-sex marriage is still not allowed. While a victory in the fight for equal rights and full legal recognition for same-sex couples, the fight for true equality itself is far from over. It’s a step in the right direction, and something for us to celebrate, but we still have a long way to go. As Nelson Mandela wrote in his 1995 autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom:

A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity.


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