Thanks to yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling invalidating the federal Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex couples who are married are one step closer to receiving federal benefits. And since Maryland legalized same-sex marriage last November, this state’s celebrations were especially sweet. But that didn’t stop Baltimore Archbishop William Lori from raining on the parade.
“The Supreme Court’s decisions to overturn Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act are the latest in a troubling trend of decisions by lawmakers, judges and some voters which ignores the fundamental truth about marriage: it is the most valued, most important social unit in our society and as such is deserving of the protection and special recognition societies have afforded it throughout human history. Today’s decisions will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences, most especially for children, and are another serious blow to the institution of marriage,” read Lori’s statement, in part.
The consequences for children were exactly what Justice Anthony Kennedy had in mind when he decided with the majority. DOMA “places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage” and “humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples.”
Thanks to yesterday’s ruling, that’s no longer the case. The many couples who’ve married in Maryland since same-sex marriages officially began in January will now be able to get Social Security survivor benefits and file joint federal tax returns. And then, of course, there are the non-material benefits:
“To have the Supreme Court affirm our relationships and our marriages and our children is incredibly profound,” said Equality Maryland’s executive director Carrie Evans, according to the Baltimore Sun. “For the [gay] teen who’s living in Cumberland right now, I think having this message from the court that the Constitution is going to protect our marriages and our kids is incredibly significant.”