UCC leaders celebrate major victory for equality in Supreme Court ruling
Written by Anthony Moujaes
June 26, 2013
The Supreme Court of the United States struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, ruling it unconstitutional on Wednesday, June 26, because it denied benefits to all legally married couples. In its 5-4 decision the court said that DOMA deprived same-sex couples of the "equal liberty of persons protected by the Fifth Amendment."
The Rev. J. Bennett Guess, executive minister of the United Church of Christ's Local Church Ministries, applauds the court for its decision in the case. He believes the time has come for the rights of all people to be recognized.
"The undeniable shift in support for marriage equality, in large measure, has happened in this country because of the leadership of the United Church of Christ," he said. "I really believe that. The UCC has been at the forefront, in every state and in thousands of communities, preparing people to accept and love LGBT people and affirm our relationships."
In a quote from the court's opinion, the majority wrote that "DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty."
The opinion continues, "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and 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."
What this means, in plain terms, is that same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law -- with regard to, for example, income taxes and Social Security benefits.