gutting of the Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, the Court ruled on Wednesday in favor of equal rights in two major gay marriage rulings. The Defense of Marriage Act, the very title of which is nonsensical, was struck down, and the way was cleared for same-sex marriage in California. In an editorial, the New York Times notes that the Court did not rule that marriage equality is the law of the land. There is indeed cause for celebration, but as long as there are gay couples living in states that deny them equal protection under the law, the struggle continues:
...as many observers predicted, the Roberts court failed to deliver the larger verdict that the Constitution calls for in its equal protection clause: a broad ruling establishing a nationwide right of same-sex couples to wed. The court missed a historic chance to correct a longstanding injustice and left gay people in much of the country relegated to an inferior status that a growing majority of Americans knows is wrong.
The court may have believed that the country is not ready for such a sweeping approach. If so, it has overestimated the issue’s divisiveness and underestimated the human costs of further delay.
...Americans’ acceptance of same-sex marriage, and the legal and political support for it, have come very far, very fast in the four years since two prominent lawyers on opposite sides of the 2000 Bush v. Gore case, Theodore Olson and David Boies, filed the challenge to Proposition 8 that culminated on Wednesday.
But there are miles yet to travel on this civil rights journey. The new marriage rulings leave behind an unsupportable state-by-state patchwork that threatens valid marriages when state lines are crossed. Cases already in the pipeline could give the Supreme Court another chance to fully confront the harm to real people’s lives and establish marriage equality nationwide. Soon, we hope.