SCOTUS Blog reports from the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriage, "is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment... DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty... The opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages."
The upshot: Same-sex couples who are legally wed in their respective states (such as Washington State and New York) are equally entitled to roughly 1,000 federal benefits as straight marriage couples, including tax breaks and Social Security coverage.
Authored by Justice Kennedy—on behalf of himself and with Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan—the majority opinion finds, "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."
The dissent telegraphs that—as many people predicted, based on oral arguments—that the court will punt on Proposition 8, California's law banning same-sex marriage. In Chief Roberts's minority opinion, he notes that "we lack jurisdiction to consider it in the particular context of Hollingsworth v. Perry." The court still hasn't released an opinion on that case, which will come later, but it seems the court won't make a definitive ruling, thereby passing on the larger issue of whether same-sex marriage bans are inherently unconstitutional.
(Much more to come)