, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

June 27, 2013

Rulings a partial victory for gay couples

High court steps don't change states' ability to ban same-sex marriage

In a historic day for gay rights, the Supreme Court gave the nation’s legally married gay couples equal federal footing with all other married Americans on Wednesday and also cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.
But the decisions left intact states’ authority to allow or disallow gay marriage.
The thought of tying the knot outside of Texas is a difficult one for Jasper native Chance Henson.
And though the Supreme Court decision that ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional Wednesday does not affect how gay marriage is handled on a state level, Henson is optimistic that one day he will be able to marry his partner, Shawn, in his home state.
“I felt a huge rush of relief and happiness when I read that the Supreme Court struck down DOMA,” Henson, who now lives in Beaumont, said. “It was as if I could see the future opening up for me, Shawn and other same-sex couples.”
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion for the DOMA case and stated that “under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways.” He added that the provision’s “principal effect [was] to identify a state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.”
Another case, dealing with California’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, was resolved in a technical legal fashion that said nothing about gay marriage. But the effect was to leave in place a trial court’s declaration that California’s Proposition 8 ban was unconstitutional, clearing the way for that state to perform same-sex marriages. 
On social media and major news networks, it is obvious that the two decisions have further polarized the left and the right on the subject of LGBT rights.

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