US Supreme Court decisions - live blog

US Supreme Court decisions - live blog

BREAKING NEWS:  Supreme Court strikes down federal provision denying benefits to legally married gay couples.

Follow the stream below for updates on the court's decisions.

    • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 6/26/2013 2:37:30 PM
      Readers, questions for our experts on Prop 8 ruling? 
    • Joe Smith 6/26/2013 2:37:58 PM
      READER QUESTION: So is Prop 8 overturned in California only? And what are the national ramifications with regards to vacating the standing of the 9th circuit to rule on the Prop 8 appeal?
    • Justice Kennedy writes: "DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state sanctioned same-sex marriages."
    • dan.levine 6/26/2013 2:39:54 PM
      Prop 8 is overturned in California only. And while marriages will likely resume here very soon, very likely that it will be litigated as to whether that can happen. Very likely some socially conservative counties will try to argue that the ruling striking down Prop 8 from district judge Walker only applies to the two couples in the case. Whether they will get anywhere is unclear..
    • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 6/26/2013 2:43:39 PM
      Readers, I've got some great news -- our correspondent Edith Honan will be at Edith Windsor's live press conference at 12:00 pm ET today. That's in about an hour and 15 minutes. Windsor is the plaintiff in the DOMA case, which was struck down today.
    • purolatino22 6/26/2013 2:44:03 PM
      READER QUESTION: what Happens to Civil Union/Domestic Partnership currently in place in CA? Are they going to be null and voided or is that going to be another option to marriage?
    • IK 6/26/2013 2:45:11 PM
      READER COMMENT: If understand correctly, by punting, this allows the federal sercuit courts rulling (which allows for gay marriges not only in California) and sets a presedent of recognizing gay marriges as a constitutional protection under its jurisdiction. This in turn will cause a differing federal (policy) vs. other federal districts... so some parts of the country will recognize gay marrige as a constitutional right and others wont. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 6/26/2013 2:46:03 PM
      Hi readers, you've got a lot of questions, and our experts are taking them carefully one by one. We've got a few more questions waiting right now. Thanks for sticking with us. We've also got more pictures on the way.
    • dan.levine 6/26/2013 2:47:07 PM
      I think civil unions are still legal, but those couples can of course choose to get married if they want.
    • Here's the Senate roll call vote, approving DOMA in 1996. It passed 85-to-14 (Kennedy, Kerry voted nay).
    • Peter Henderson (Reuters) 6/26/2013 2:50:16 PM
      On the district court ruling - essentially you are correct. The way I'd put it is that the S Ct is not setting precedent that applies to appellate and district courts, so they are free in mean time to interpret
    • Peter Henderson (Reuters) 6/26/2013 2:51:20 PM
      Thus there is room for differing district court decisions on gay marriage.
    • Here's House roll call vote approving DOMA in 1996. Passed overwhelmingly, 342-67. Mass delegation was divided.
    • MA deleg when House approved DOMA in 1996. YEA: Neal, Torkildsen, Blute, Moakley. NAY: Markey, Frank, Olver, Kennedy, Studds. DNV: Meehan
    • Kristin Perry and Sandy Stier say they will go home and tell sons they will now be "equal to any other family in California." #scotus
    • Gov Patrick: "Freedom includes keeping govt out of ppl's most personal & intimate choices & affirming human dignity. Tdys decisions do that”
    • RT @MassGovernor: I applaud the #SCOTUS decision on #Prop8 in CA as well. #LoveisLove
    • RT @mikememoli: 1st GOP stmt is from @MicheleBachmann: "No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted."
    • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 6/26/2013 3:02:15 PM

      "It's a wonderful day for America." -- David Boies, lawyer who argued to uphold the ruling that struck down Prop 8 in California before the U.S. Supreme Court 

      In 2009, six months after California voters passed Prop 8 and amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, two same-sex couples filed a suit in federal court in San Francisco against the state officials tasked with enforcing the ban. The complaint, filed with great fanfare by Theodore Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, asserted that Prop 8 violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment. 

    • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 6/26/2013 3:02:43 PM

    • Javery 6/26/2013 3:03:31 PM
      READER QUESTION: Quick question. If a couple decides to marry in a state which recognizes gay marriage, but then resides, elsewhere, will they still be extended federal benefits? Or will their primary residence need to be in a state which recognizes their union to receive the federal benefits?
    • Peter Henderson (Reuters) 6/26/2013 3:04:36 PM
      I believe the answer is yes, since they will have been legally married.
    • Peter Henderson (Reuters) 6/26/2013 3:05:04 PM
      Yes the federal benefits will follow them, I mean
    • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 6/26/2013 3:05:24 PM
      Reuters' Joseph Ax reports from the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on the live statements made by Paul Katami, Prop 8 case plaintiff: 

      "We want to join the institution of marriage not to take something away but to strengthen it, to live up to its ideals." 

      Katami turns to Jeff Zarillo, voice cracking: "I finally get to look at the man I love and say, will you marry me?" 

    • Expat 6/26/2013 3:06:16 PM
      READER QUESTION: The New York case should mean that U.S. citizens can now petition their foreign same-sex spouses for immigration, correct? Do the legal experts anticipate any resistance by the Department of Homeland Security when the first same-sex immigration petitions start coming in?
    • Sign outside: "If I can't marry my boyfriend then I'll marry your daughter!" #bestscotussigns #scotus
    • dan.levine 6/26/2013 3:08:33 PM
      On immigration, on the face of it it seems like they'd be able to, and I'd be surprised if this administration put up any hurdles. However I'm no expert on immigration law so there could be stumbling blocks I'm not aware of
    • Joe Smith 6/26/2013 3:09:17 PM
      READER QUESTION: Can Mr. Levine perhaps expand on the notion that an appeal could be launched based on this ruling extending to only the two individuals under consideration by Judge Walker?
    • Okay, one more, since it's an Office reference. #bestscotussigns #SCOTUS

    • Corinne Perkins 6/26/2013 3:11:21 PM

      Michael Knaapen (L) and his husband John Becker, both of Wisconsin, react to the 5-4 ruling striking down as unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 26, 2013. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

    • Adrienne Lavidor-Berman 6/26/2013 3:11:32 PM
      Statement from Governor Patrick on today's Supreme Court ruling:

      “By affirming the principle that people come before their government as equals, today's Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA is a win for the American people. I applaud the Court's decision on Prop 8 in California as well. Freedom includes keeping government out of people’s most personal and intimate choices, and affirming human dignity. Today's decisions do that.”
    • dan.levine 6/26/2013 3:12:01 PM
      Sure! Some supporters of prop 8 have argued that it is not a given that Walker's ruling extends statewide, based on some legal precedents. However, opponents of Prop 8, like the city of San Francisco, say such an outcome (ruling only covering two couples) would be ludicrous. So, I'd expect many counties to start allowing marriages, interpreting the Walker ruling as applying to all, and some counties running to court trying to shut it down.
    • Mark 6/26/2013 3:12:33 PM
      READER QUESTION: How will this impact the rights of military personal and spouses? Will the federal gov't now be required to give housing and family separation pay (among other benefits) to military personal who are in a same-sex marriage?
    • Dan G. 6/26/2013 3:12:57 PM
      READER QUESTION: A strange coalition on Windsor, indeed. Is it safe to assume Sotomayor's dissent here is because she felt the court should have ruled on the constitutionality of Prop 8 itself, rather than simply on standing?
    • dan.levine 6/26/2013 3:14:17 PM
      Again, this question with the military is one of the thousands of decisions that the Obama administration will have to make as to how to implement DOMA across the federal bureaucracy. Presumably they will have to give housing and benefits but there could be unforseen issues/laws that come into play
    • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 6/26/2013 3:16:14 PM

      Which U.S. states allow gay marriage?

    • dan.levine 6/26/2013 3:16:46 PM
      Good question with Sotomayor, but presumably yes. The dissent hews pretty closely to standing analysis but logically I don't see any other answer.
    • THeRmoNukE 6/26/2013 3:18:14 PM
      READER QUESTION: Big day for gay rights, no doubt. But how can the Supreme Court do this without striking down federal marriage law itself as unconstitutional? Is the federal law not defined as between a man and a woman? Can the Supreme Court rewrite any law it wants? I'm confused. Seems to me the next step is to get the marriage laws rewritten by Congress before any federal benefits can be extended.
    • bmweeks 6/26/2013 3:19:26 PM
      READER QUESTION [edited]: Now that the Court has struck down DOMA, will the federal government mandate that states recognize and allow same-sex marriages within every state?
    • dan.levine 6/26/2013 3:21:39 PM
      Because the definition of marriage in DOMA is now dead, the status quo is that there is no marriage definition on the federal books. So, the administration can issue executive orders doing what it wants.
    • dan.levine 6/26/2013 3:22:35 PM
      The DOMA case is only about federal benefits, not the right to get married. So the federal government will NOT mandate that states recognize and allow ssm in places where it is not allowed.
    • (Edie Windsor was treated like a legit ROCK STAR by gay marriage supporters when she visited #SCOTUS in March for oral arguments.)
    • Fabrizio di Piazza (@beadony) has great SB video - e.g., Gay Men's Chorus ( and David Boies (
    • Boston Globe: Roots of Supreme Court decision are in Mass.
    • Supreme Court rulings boost gay marriage via @BostonGlobe
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