Along with millions of other feminists, Ms. magazine and the Feminist Majority Foundation are celebrating the two U.S. Supreme Court decisions today that declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and let stand a lower court decision that California’s Proposition 8 is also unconstitutional.
The second decision opens the door for same-sex marriages to resume in California, and the DOMA ruling will recognize that crucial federal benefits will no longer be denied in California and the 12 other states (and the District of Columbia) where same-sex marriage has been legalized.
Feminists in California fought like hell to defeat Proposition 8 when it came on the ballot in 2008. I joined the board of Equality California, along with Feminist Majority Foundation board member Dolores Huerta, to strengthen the connections between the feminist and LGBT communities in the major human rights issue.
And we continued to fight, in coalition with pro-same-sex-marriage groups in California and around the nation, as the Proposition 8 and DOMA cases wound their way through the court system. The Feminist Majority Foundation submitted an amicus brief against Proposition 8 to the Supreme Court, pointing out among other things that no religious ideology can use the law to impose its belief system on others.
Public opinion nationwide has now swung in favor of equal marriage, and today’s Supreme Court decisions reflect the zeitgeist. We’ve always said that you can’t take away fundamental human rights from any class of people, and we’re thrilled that two Supreme Court majorities recognized that today. This gives a major boost to the ongoing struggle for marriage equality in the rest of the United States and to other significant LGBT rights efforts throughout the nation.
Katherine Spillar is executive editor of Ms. and executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.