News / USA

Gay-Rights Advocates Celebrate US Supreme Court Rulings

American University students Sharon Burk (L) and Molly Wagner embrace outside the Supreme Court after the court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California's gay marriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban, in Washington, D.C., June 26, 2013.
American University students Sharon Burk (L) and Molly Wagner embrace outside the Supreme Court after the court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California by holding that defenders of California's gay marriage ban did not have the right to appeal lower court rulings striking down the ban, in Washington, D.C., June 26, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Gay-rights supporters are celebrating a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the federal government may not restrict the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples.

The court ruling means legally married gay couples are entitled to claim the same federal benefits available to heterosexual married couples, such as tax, health and pension benefits.

  • Michael Knaapen, left, and his husband John Becker, right, embrace outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 26, 2013, after the court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California.
  • Journalists stake out positions early in the morning to report on decisions expected in two cases regarding same-sex marriage at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, June 26, 2013.
  • Vin Testa from Washington, waves the rainbow flag in support of gay marriage in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, June 24, 2013.
  • People wait outside the Supreme Court in Washington as key decisions are expected to be announced.
  • Plaintiffs in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the California Proposition 8 case, react on steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, June 26, 2013, after justices cleared the way for the resumption of same-sex marriage in California.
  • American University students Sharon Burk, left, and Molly Wagner, embrace outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 26, 2013, after the court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California.

The decision invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, but does not require individual states to recognize same-sex marriages that may be legal in other states.

Same-sex marriage is legal, or soon will be, in 13 states and the District of Columbia. 

In another case, the court said a lower-court ruling that struck down a California same sex-marriage ban could not be appealed, meaning gay marriages may resume in the state.   

The High Court did not rule on the overall validity of gay marriage bans in California, though, or three dozen other states.

The justices' decisions, both on a 5-4 vote, were announced in their last session before the court's summer break.

The 1996 federal marriage law, known by its acronym DOMA, defined marriage as between a man and a woman. In 2011, the Obama administration abandoned its defense of the law, but continued to enforce it.
 
Following Wednesday's decision, President Barack Obama said the court "has righted a wrong, and our country is better off for it." He added that the decision applies only to civil marriages and does not change how religious institutions define and consecrate marriage.

Same-sex marriages are legal in California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Carrie from: Philadelphia, PA
June 27, 2013 12:03 PM
I am celebrating!! Thank you to all who have joined in the fight for marriage equality!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid