Live: Gay Marriage at the Supreme Court - Live Blogs & Updates - ABCNews

Live: Gay Marriage at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is expected to hand down decisions at 10 a.m. ET on two cases concerning gay marriage: the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Prop. 8.

  • Dan Abrams says there is one issue the court really doesn't address in these opinions - is there a constitutional right to same sex marriage? That's something that wasn't established today.
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  • Cecilia Vega is at City Hall in San Francisco, where there is an early morning rally going on. Gay Marriages will resume in California... but when?
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  • Awaiting the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Packed San Francisco City Hall.

  • The first reaction from President Obama, who is enroute to Africa, comes in the form of a Tweet -- 
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  • ABC Pollster Gary Langer reminds us that an ABC News / Washington Post poll earlier this month found nearly 2-1 support for providing legally married gay couples the same federal benefits given to married couples.

    The same survey found 57 percent support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally.

    Details here.

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  • David Boies, who argued the Prop 8 case at the Supreme Court, is outside the court and he's very happy. We're one court decision away, he said, from the court affirming that there is a fundamental right to marriage.
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  • David Boies says today's decisions bring the country one step closer to realizing the promise of the constitution - "that all people are created equal."
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  • The Prop 8 case, which was decided on standing and not on the merits, scrambled normal conservative / liberal lines... Kennedy wrote opinion in the DOMA case, with its sweeping language about equal rights.  Then he argued in the Prop 8 dissent that they should decide on the merits of the case. Kennedy, who is from California, said the court should have allowed people not in government to defend the Prop 8 initiative.

    Ariane de Vogue points out: 

    Chief Justice John Roberts writing for 5-4 said, “petitioners did not have standing
    to appeal the District Court’s order”

    “We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state  statute when state officials have chosen not to. We decline to do so for the first time here. Because petitioners have not satisfied their burden to demonstrate standing to appeal the judgment of the District Court, the Ninth Circuit was without jurisdiction to consider the appeal.

    Roberts was joined by Justices Scalia, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan.

    Kennedy wrote a dissent and said “In the end, what the Court fails to grasp or accept is the basic premise of the initiative process. And it is this. The essence of democracy is that the right to make law rests in the people and flows to the government, not the other way around. Freedom resides first in the people without need of a grant from government.

    was joined in dissent by Justices Thomas, Alito and Sotomayor. 

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  • Hollywood is going nuts!
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  • Terry Moran interveiws Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo, two of the plaintiffs in the Prop 8 case, who can soon marry in California. Their story HERE.
    by Zachary.B.Wolf on Jun 26, 2013 at 3:12 PM

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  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., is the only openly gay U.S. Senator... here's what she says about today's decisions:

    “The debate over marriage equality is about fairness – about whether gay and lesbian Americans deserve to be treated just like their family members, their friends, and their neighbors. It’s about opportunity – about whether every American gets to dream the same dreams, chase the same ambitions, and have the same shot at success. And it’s about freedom –the freedom to love, the freedom to commit, the freedom to build a family. Most of all, it’s about whether the progress our country has made will be reflected in our laws. 
    One thing is clear; people’s views on marriage equality are changing because they believe LGBT family members, friends, and neighbors deserve to be treated like everyone else in the United States.
    Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued decisions in two historic cases that reflect the progress we have all witnessed across our country. This progress is defined by the ideal that more and more Americans want to leave to the next generation a country that is more equal, not less. 
    The nation’s highest court reaffirmed our founding belief that all Americans are created equal under the law. The Court made a strong statement for equality and freedom, overturning discrimination against gay and lesbian American citizens simply because of who they love.
    While this is a huge step forward for our country, the fight to make America more equal does not end with a Supreme Court decision. There is more work to be done to fulfill the promise of freedom and equality for all – in which America becomes a place where every family’s love and commitment can be recognized and respected under the law.

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  • Bachmann - 'Not Even a Supreme Court Can Undo What  a Holy God Has Instituted

    Conservative lawmakers have been largely silent on the supreme court so far this morning. The first reaction we've seen comes from Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who says in a statement: 

    "Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a
    Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.
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  • The court is not high enough to overturn what is written in the Bible. Same sex is against the only law that matters and will be handled in eternity as it should be handled in the world. God have mercy on this decision, they no not what they do.
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  • This is a COP OUT by the Supreme Court! Either there is equality or there is not, it cannot now be determined by the individule states!
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  • Thank you to Edie Windsor, who after suffering incredible loss had the courage to stand up against great injustice #LGBT #SCOTUS #DOMA
  • Speaker John Boehner says: 

    “Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis and President Clinton signed it into law.  The House intervened in this case because the constitutionality of a law should be judged by the Court, not by the president unilaterally.  While I am obviously disappointed in the ruling, it is always critical that we protect our system of checks and balances.  A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

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  • Amid Celebration, a Marriage Proposal

    ABC's Shushannah Walshe watched celebrations in front of the court and says the most emotional part of the plaintiffs' bpresser was when at the end of his statement Paul Katami turned to Jeff Zarillo and said that today means he can finally say, "Will you marry me?"

    There was a brief pause and then they kissed. Huge cheers from the crowd. 

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  • Jeff Zeleny has the reaction of Sen. Rob Portman, the Republican from Ohio who backed gay marriage earlier this year after he said publicly that his son is gay. Portman is one of three Republican senators to back gay marriage before today's decisions.

    "The Supreme Court ruled today on an issue that is
    important to me and millions of Americans.
    Although I would have preferred to see Section 3 of DOMA repealed by
    Congress rather than by judicial edict, the most important consequence of
    today's ruling is something I agree with: Section 3 should be repealed because
    marriage laws should remain in the hands of the states, where they have been
    since the beginning of the Republic.
    People of good faith differ on the marriage issue.
      I believe that gay couples deserve the
    opportunity to marry, but I believe change should come about through the
    democratic process in the states, through the process of citizen persuading
    fellow citizen that civil marriage should be allowed.

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  • Rand Paul on ruling, telling @ABC : "As a country we can agree to disagree. The party is going to have to agree to disagree on these issues."
  • ABC News' Terry Moran is on Facebook and answering your questions about today's Supreme Court rulings. Check it out:
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  • Paul agrees w/Kennedy, calling him: “Someone who doesn’t just want to be in front of opinion, but wants government to keep up with opinion.”
  • Bill and Hillary Clinton have released a statement on today's Supreme Court Decisions: 

    By overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court recognized
    that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form
    a more perfect union.
    We are also encouraged that marriage equality may soon
    return to California.
    We applaud the hard work of the advocates who have fought
    so relentlessly for this day, and congratulate Edie Windsor on her historic

    No mention of the fact that Clinton signed DOMA into law as president in 1996.

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  • Edie Windsor is the 83 year-old woman who brought the suit against DOMA -
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  • Nice Moment - Paul Katami proposed to his boyfriend after the Supreme Court cleared the way for new same-sex marriages in California:
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  • Pentagon to Extend Benefits - 

    ABC's Luis Martinez reports...

    Defense Secretary Hagel's responded to the Supreme Court's DOMA decison in a ppaer statement It will have a big impact because until now DOMA had prevented the DoD from providing all benefits to same sex married couples in the military following the repeal of don't ask, don't tell.  Now with the ruling spouses in same sex marriages will be eligible for all benefits, until now the DoD could provide some benefits -- those that didn't use the word spouse in their availability-- they were to become available in September.   Now benefits like health care for military spouses and life insurance beneficiaries will be available.  Hagel says the benefits will become available as soon as possible

    "The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court's decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act.  The Department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court's decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies.  The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses - regardless of sexual orientation - as soon as possible.  That is now the law, and it is the right thing to do.

    "Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment.  All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country and their qualifications to do so.  Today's ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve."

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  • Kennedy's Passionate Opinion

    Ariane de Vogue selects some of the more interesting and passionate bits from Anthony Kennedy's DOMA decision.

    (federalism )

    “The definition of marriage is the foundation of the State’s broader authority to regulate the subject of domestic relations with respect to the protection of offspring, property interests, and the enforcement of marital responsibilities.”

    (Equal Protection) 

    ”The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States. “

    “DOMA writes inequality into the entire United States Code. ….Among the over 1,000 statutes and numerous federal regulations that DOMA controls  are laws pertaining to Social Security i, housing, taxes, criminal sanctions, copyright, and veterans benefits.

    “By creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State, DOMA forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect. By this dynamic DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same sex marriages; for it tells those couples and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition. This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second tier marriage.

    (the children) 

    “And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.

    “the effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage.”

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  • Scalia's Diss - No 'Respectfully'

    A final note from Ariane de Vogue - "Normally a justice ends a dissent with “I respectfully dissent” but sometimes they don’t if they are super miffed . (see Ginsburg in Bush v. Gore)

    Today Scalia rips apart Kennedy’s decision and then simply says “I dissent."

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  • How Kennedy Used the Court's Most Powerful Tool - 'Substance'

    Analysis from Terry Moran:

    Kennedy uses the most powerful of all jurisprudential tools to strike down DOMA—what they call “substantive due process,” the idea that the Constitution’s guarantee of due process is more than mere legal mechanics. It has substance. It protects the full range of the liberty of the human person from unwarranted intrusion by government. Conservatives hate this concept, because it can seem unbounded. They note it was used to deny Dred Scott his freedom. It was also used to desegregate the schools of Washington, D.C. on the same day the Court decided Brown v Board of Education. By
    wielding substantive due process to decide this case—and applying fundamental equal-protection guarantees—Kennedy (and the four liberal justices who joined him) are operating at the height of judicial power.

    And this is the real long-lasting import of Kennedy’s ringing words. By placing the marital status of gay couples under the protection of these strongest principles of constitutional law, today’s DOMA ruling seems almost certain to bring gay Americans into full constitutional citizenship in every aspect of their lives. It will be very hard to pass laws that discriminate against people simply on account of their sexual orientation after today.

    Because, Kennedy strongly suggests, there is no longer any valid, constitutional justification for doing so. He writes:

    "DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to 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."

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