In a historic decision, the Supreme Court ruled today that Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional in the case of United States v Windsor. Signed into law in 1996 by President Clinton, DOMA meant that the Federal Government did not recognize any same-sex marriages, even if they were legal in certain states. This basic denial of a right that every couple should be able to enjoy meant that same-sex couples were not able to get the usual federal tax benefits for married couples, military spousal benefits and the option of sponsoring a spouse for a green card, along with other benefits. With DOMA struck down, same-sex couples take another step down the road to equality.
This decision also has an impact on those living with HIV and those with high HIV risk - such as gay and bisexual men. Bailey House CEO Gina Quattrochi explains why:
“Bailey House celebrates the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA today. Homophobia continues to be a driving force of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Stigma and the denial of equal rights to those at highest risk drives HIV incidence, lack of care access and often high risk behaviors. Hopefully today’s decision will ignite meaningful HIV prevention efforts and help lead us to “An AIDS Free Generation”.
The Supreme Court also ruled on Hollingsworth v Perry, which concerned Proposition Eight in California – a law that banned same-sex marriage in the state. The Court dismissed the case, which basically means that same-sex marriage will be legal in California as it is in 12 other states (and the District of Columbia) around the country – including New York.