Supreme Court issues two landmark rulings in gay marriage debate

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In a victory for same-sex marriage supporters, the Supreme Court this morning voted to overturn a key part of the the Defense of Marriage Act and let stand a lower court ruling overturning California’s Proposition 8.

“The principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in a 5-4 decision on DOMA. “This requires the Court to hold, as it now does, that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.”

DOMA defined marriage, for federal purposes, as a relationship between a man and a woman.

The court also voted 5-4 that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the Prop 8 case. That left in place a San Francisco federal district court ruling that overturned the law.

Proposition 8 banned California from allowing same-sex marriages.

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US Supreme Court