On June 26, the Supreme Court issued two landmark decision in the cases of Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor. In Hollingsworth the court was asked “Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” And in Windsor the court was to decide “Whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the laws as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their State.”
In the Hollingsworth decision, the court held that the “[p]etitioners did not have standing to appeal the District Court’s order” and “vacated and remanded” the District Court ruling. In other words, since officials in California decided not to defend the case themselves, no one else is able to defend the case.
The decision in Windsor is where the court actually overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Justice Kennedy writes in the majority opinion, “By history and tradition the definition and regulation of marriage… has been treated as being within the authority and realm of the separate States.” Kennedy continues, “Yet it is further established that Congress… can make determinations that bear on marital rights and privileges… Congress decided that although state law would determine in general who qualifies as an applicant’s spouse [for Social Security benefits], common-law marriages also should be recognized, regardless of any particular State’s view on these relationships.”
Kennedy then goes off-track citing court cases upholding the supposed sovereign authority of states to regulate marriage. Kennedy seems to ignore the fact that marriage license laws were first implemented to prevent interracial marriages. I seriously doubt the court would uphold those state regulations as a valid “regulation of domestic relations.” If such regulation of marriage is invalid; why then did the court not rule that any regulation of marriage violates the rights of the couple? Further, should any government should be dictating the domestic arrangements of consenting adults? It seems the court is not willing to answer those questions!