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DOMA's Downfall

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This past Wednesday, June 26, the Supreme Court made a historical ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), overturning a ban on same-sex marriage in the state of California. This controversial ruling has been viewed as an enormous step forward for gay rights, while conservatives and traditionalists argue the Supreme Court overturned the California law, despite the fact that it was legally passed by its residents.

Despite this boon for gay rights advocates, there are still 39 states that do not recognize gay marriage. Thousands of legally married same-sex couples still grapple with the laws and regulations that vary from state to state.

This leaves many same-sex marriages as recognized by federal law, but in many cases, not by state law, which often looks at where the couple resides, not where they were wed.

Benefits to married couples include the joint filing of taxes and claiming a marriage deduction, social security benefits, sharing a healthcare plan, claiming an inheritance without paying federal taxes, and allowing gay foreigners married to Americans to apply for green cards, among others.

Check out some of the reactions to the ruling on DOMA on Facebook from some New Englanders and Californians:

  • “When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free” – President Obama
  • “Wow the Supreme Court is suddenly very busy. Can we overturn Citizens United while we're at it? And maybe strike down the Espionage Act? There are still 3 days left in the work week.”
  • “Amazing day. Love for all and equality for all. Blessed to witness this (surprised it took so long..) but very excited to see all the love and happiness!”
  • “What a big, bold day. Whatever it is, stand for what you believe like Wendy Davis and love whomever you choose. Good bye, DOMA.”
  • “THE DOMA RULING IS COOL AND ALL, BUT WE LOST ON ALL THINGS RACE RELATED. WE REALLY DON'T HAVE THAT MUCH TO CELEBRATE.”
  • “Political items: Senator Davis rocks and hooray for gay rights!”
  • “I don't give a damn about marriage, but DOMA is a huge win today!”
  • “Happy for ALL my friends... EQUAL means AWESOME (tho I already knew every one of my friends was already AWESOME!!!)”
  • “So happy that the government got out of my personal life. Next let's get it out of my body.”
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