US, the DOMA is unconstitutional
The news was welcomed with enthusiasm by President Obama as well as the crowd awaiting the ruling outside the building. The President personally congratulated Chad Griffin, the leader of the Human Rights Campaign, along with the plaintiffs that followed the case; he described the response of the Supreme Court as «a historic step forward for equality».
The Court didn’t enter into the merits of Proposition 8, the Californian law prohibiting marriage between same-sex couples, remitting the abrogation to the state courts.
White House Spokesperson Jay Carney, paraphrasing the President, commented that finally «the laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans have come to accept – we are all more free when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love».
The fight of the Obama administration in defense of the rights of homosexual citizens began with the abrogation of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prevented military personnel from discriminating against non-openly gay members of the military, but allowed for the forbidding of access to the armed services to those who were openly gay.
In 2011, Obama announced that the Department of Justice would no longer support the DOMA but, on the contrary, would work toward both its abolition and the principle that the federal government has to guarantee the same protection and equal rights to same-sex couples. In 2012, the President openly pronounced himself in favor of the legalization of gay marriage, commenting on television that «it’s important to treat others the way you would want to be treated».
Currently, same-sex unions are legal in thirteen states. The commitment toward equality contemplates, among other things, the legislation regarding the prevention of so-called “hate crimes” – attacks perpetrated on gender or sexual orientation of the victim – and more comprehensive health care protection.
Predictably, the news stirred disapproval in the ecclesiastical environment, but Obama specified that the ruling «doesn’t change the way religious institutions define marriage». However, it does change the lives of millions of citizens in a country where the Declaration of Independence considers “the pursuit of happiness” an inalienable right.