Jewish Groups Praise US Gay Marriage Ruling

Major American Jewish organizations roundly praised the US Supreme Court on Wednesday for striking down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional and for demanding that federal benefits be extended to gay couples in states where their marriages are recognized.

The top court also overturned California’s Proposition 8 – which took away the previously granted right of gays to marry in the state by popular referendum in 2008 – on a technicality, finding that the representatives of the case did not have standing to appeal to their chamber and thus defaulting to the position of a lower court.

“Full recognition of marriage equality – the right to marry the person one loves regardless of gender – is a right whose recognition is long overdue,” Marc D. Stern, general counsel at the American Jewish Committee, said, referring to gay marriage for all in the United States as an inevitability. “Today’s decisions are a large but, unfortunately, incomplete step in that direction.”

The decision on the Defense of Marriage Act (1996) was written more broadly than expected by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is known to be an advocate both for state’s rights and gay rights. This ruling appealed to federalist principles, and indeed, Kennedy dissented on the finding of standing on the Proposition 8 case, implying an interest in applying those principles nationwide.


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