This Thursday morning I tweeted that I would need to take a look at the actual ramifications of the Supreme Court’s 26 June decisions before I did too much celebrating. I was right to have a tempered reaction. As is pointed out in the Rolling Stone story on the decision, all the overturning of DOMA does is allow for Federal rights to be given to gay couples. So they can be married in the eyes of the IRS, Federal Healthcare, etc. Now, this CAN have incredible financial ramifications, but we’re still a little ways away from gay marriage in all 50 states. Although, I wonder if the decimation of the Defense of Marriage Act leads the way to a lawsuit about states having to reciprocate marriage. I’m a little ignorant on whether states do that because they’re federally required to or because it would bonkers if you could go from married to unmarried just because you moved for a job. So there’s that.
Something the non-legal blogs/news websites aren’t focusing on is the fact that Justice Roberts appears to have truly cemented his States Rights above all else status (at least from my casual court watch point of view). He went against the repeal of DOMA because he’s a conservative, but ended up siding with the LGBT community on the California Prop 8 because that affirmed the state’s rights.
“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to,” Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, joined by Ginsburg, Scalia, Breyer and Kagan. “We decline to do so for the first time here.”
Pretty interesting there and it could make for some very interesting bets on his positions in the future – will he remain States’ Rights or go more conservative with time. Also, let me finish this post with the aside that States’ Rights has a dirty taste in my mouth since it was the rationale behind the Confederate legal argument for secession. Perhaps they can come up with a better term?