Slatest PM: Twin Victories For Marriage Equality

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 26 2013 4:19 PM

Slatest PM: Twin Victories For Marriage Equality

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Gay rights activists gather outside the US Supreme Court building in Washington, DC on June 26, 2013

Photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

Marriage Equality: New York Times: "In a pair of major victories for the gay rights movement, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits and, by declining to decide a case from California, effectively allowed same-sex marriages there. The rulings leave in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation, and the court declined to say whether there was a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. But in clearing the way for same-sex marriage in California, the nation’s most populous state, the court effectively increased to 13 the number of states that allow such unions."

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The Legal Nitty-Gritty: SCOTUSblog: "The federal Defense of Marriage Act defines 'marriage,' for purposes of over a thousand federal laws and programs, as a union between a man and a woman only. Today the Court ruled, by a vote of five to four, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy, that the law is unconstitutional. The Court explained that the states have long had the responsibility of regulating and defining marriage, and some states have opted to allow same-sex couples to marry to give them the protection and dignity associated with marriage. By denying recognition to same-sex couples who are legally married, federal law discriminates against them. … This decision means that same-sex couples who are legally married must now be treated the same under federal law as married opposite-sex couples."

Scalia’s Scathing Dissent: Politico: “Reading his dissenting statement from the bench, the Reagan-era [Scalia] blistered Kennedy and his four liberal colleagues for even assuming the Supreme Court had jurisdiction over DOMA, let alone striking down the 1996 law on its merits. The majority, Scalia argued, had shown with its opinion 'an exalted notion of the role of this court in American democratic society. … It takes real cheek for today’s majority, as it is going out the door, to leave us with that comforting assurance, when what has preceded is a lengthy lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it,' he said."

Kennedy’s Stand for Equality: Emily Bazelon in Slate: "It’s a rare moment when a court can write a stream of words and make the lives of many thousands of people instantly better. That’s what five Supreme Court justices have done today by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. Their historic, tremendously exciting, and full-throated stand for equality will bring federal benefits raining down on legally married gay couples in a dozen states—and resonate far beyond even that important change."

More Slate Coverage on the Big Day:

Happy Wednesday. Welcome to The Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and enjoying the most exciting news day in recent memory. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.

Wendy Davis, Rising Star: CNN: "The Texas state senator whose filibuster of an abortion bill became a national phenomenon has a long history of persisting against tough odds. Wendy Davis -- the 50-year-old Democrat who stood and spoke for 13 hours Tuesday at the Texas Capitol -- went from being a teen mom to graduating from Harvard Law School… With tens of thousands of new followers Wednesday as a result of her filibuster, Davis tweeted, ‘Thanks to the powerful voices of thousands of Texans, #SB5 is dead. An incredible victory for Texas women and those who love them."

Long Layover Ahead for Snowden: New York Times: "Ecuador signaled on Wednesday that it may deliberate slowly on the asylum application from Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive former security contractor wanted in the United States, raising the possibility that he could spend weeks in legal limbo as he plots his next steps inside a Moscow airport transit area. … The signals from Ecuador ... came as the Obama administration sought to further lower the cold war atmospherics over Mr. Snowden with Russia, which said on Tuesday that it would not extradite him in defiance of American demands."

Senate Approves Border "Surge": Politico: "The Senate on Wednesday passed the so-called border surge proposal that would dedicate tens of billions of dollars to securing the United States-Mexico border by employing more agents, adding more high-tech surveillance equipment and finishing hundreds of miles in fencing. The 69-29 vote propels the Senate closer to approving the comprehensive immigration reform bill by the end of the week."

NFL Star Hernandez Charged With Murder: NBC News: "Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was formally charged Wednesday afternoon with murder, more than a week after a body was found near his Massachusetts home. Hernandez was also charged with several counts of unlawful possession of firearms. A judge ordered him to be held without bail... Hernandez showed no emotion as attorneys for the victim laid out a bruising account of what allegedly happened the night semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd was killed, citing what they say is surveillance camera footage, text messages, and witnesses who were working the overnight shift who heard gunshots as evidence."

Zimmerman Trial Continues: CBS News: "A resident of the Florida gated community where former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman fatally shot unarmed teen Trayvon Martin last year testified Wednesday that she heard a boy's voice yelling for help the night of the altercation. The court heard a dramatic 911 call in which neighbor Jayne Surdyka, crying, calls police to report the shooting. 'Oh my god, I see someone killed, laying on the grass,' Surdyka said in the recording. 'I want to know what happened. Why would this man shoot him?'"

Mandela on Life Support: CNN: "Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was on life support in a Pretoria hospital late Wednesday, said an official who had been briefed in detail on his condition.Considered the founding father of South Africa's democracy, Mandela, 94, has been hospitalized since June 8 for a recurring lung infection. Authorities have described his condition as critical since Sunday, and President Jacob Zuma said earlier Wednesday that Mandela's condition remained unchanged, South Africa's national news agency reported."

That’s all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or forward on the newsletter and let them decide for themselves.

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