The youth of the 1960s saw the end of segregation, and on Wednesday (June 26), young Americans got to watch for themselves as America took a giant step toward equality when the Supreme Court overturned a federal law restricting the rights of same-sex couples.
On a day that will likely have its own chapter in history books, the SCOTUS ruled unconstitutional in a 5-4 the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The court also ruled that supporters of California’s Proposition 8 do not have standing to appeal a previous court decision that ruled the law unconstitutional. It’s a decision that will undoubtedly be met with boisterous applause from young Americans, seeing as more than two-thirds of young voters are in support gay marriage.
Under DOMA, the federal definition of marriage was excluded to that between a man and a woman, and restricted marriage benefits to only those couples. While states always had the ability to define what they considered a marriage — 12 states and the District of Columbia have recognized same-sex marriages — the court’s decision means that the federal government overstepped its boundaries in restricting marriage rights to gay couples.
Proposition 8, meanwhile, was a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in the State of California passed in 2008. The SCOTUS ruled that Prop 8 supporters did not have standing when they appealed a prior ruling deeming the law unconstitutional.
DOMA was signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 and was upheld by the current administration until President Obama quite historically changed his mind last year, becoming the first commander in chief to publicly support gay marriage.
In a sit-down with MTV News ahead of last year’s election, the president emphasized his anti-DOMA stance, saying, “Same-sex couples have to be treated before the eyes of the law in the same way as heterosexual couples.”
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 26, 2013
And the POTUS was quick to express his gratitude to the court, tweeting, “Today’s DOMA ruling is a historic step forward for #MarriageEquality. #LoveIsLove.”