Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA, Knocks Prop 8 Back to CA; Gatherings Today at City Hall, in Castro


It's a big, big Gay Pride week for San Francisco, and this morning the Supreme Court unveiled their final marquee decisions of the term, dismissing Prop. 8 on standing grounds, and once and for all striking down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional.

The pair of rulings are a landmark moment for LGBT civil rights, in particular the DOMA decision, which was written by Justice Kennedy. In it, he writes, "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.”

The Prop. 8 decision is a little more complicated, but is one of the outcomes that many legal experts expected; Namely, that the court sidestepped ruling on the merits of the right to marriage, and ruled only that the proponents of Prop. 8 had no legal standing to appeal the decision of the district court made in 2010 by Judge Vaughn Walker. Interestingly, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority here (he was joined by the liberal wing of Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Ginsberg along with Justice Alito), does not say that the defenders of the proposition didn't have standing in the original case, only that they had no standing to appeal to the 9th Circuit, and that the 9th Circuit's opinion is therefore vacated. This opens the door for marriages to resume in California likely in a matter of weeks.

Starting this morning, City Attorney Dennis Herrera held a press conference on the steps of City Hall to analyze the decisions. Events at City Hall will be ongoing throughout the day, and you can bet Gavin Newsom is likely to resurface and chime in, since he takes credit for unleashing the floodgates of gay marriages here back in 2004.

In the Castro starting at 6:30 pm there will be a rally and a street party, with Castro Street closed off between 17th and 19th Street. You can expect much revelry in the neighborhood in general, probably way past the 9 pm cutoff for the planned event.

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