By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling declaring parts of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act invalid. The Court ruled that part of the Defense of Marriage Act is a violation of the fifth amendment. Specifically the Court struck down the provision of DOMA preventing lawfully married same sex couples from receiving federal benefits that opposite sex couples routinely receive.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said, “I am disappointed to learn that SCOTUS has struck down DOMA and will now require that federal benefits be extended to homosexual couples. This is an affront to the Christian principles that this nation was founded on. The federal government is hijacking marriage, a uniquely religious institution, and they must be stopped.”
The controversial decision means that same sex couples will be entitled to over 1100 federal benefits. The court struck down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act that prevented same sex marriages from receiving those benefits.
Chairman Armistead continued, “Whether by a constitutional amendment or other means, US taxpayers should not be forced by their government to reward those who choose to engage in activity that had been banned in 35 states. This is a nation founded on Christian values and the Bible is very clear on marriage – one man and one woman. Alabama’s state law banning gay marriage will prevent these benefits from being extended in Alabama, but our tax dollars will still go to support a lifestyle that we fundamentally disagree with”
Outspoken Alabama Public Service Commissioner Terry Dunn (R) said on Facebook of the ruling, “It’s not surprising that this happened when we live in a world of diminishing morals.”
Prominent attorney and Republican candidate for the Alabama House of Representatives Matt Fridy said on Facebook, “I’m really too disgusted by today’s rulings from the philosopher kings, er, the Supreme Court, to say very much yet. But I will share my favorite quote so far in my reading of the opinions: “We have no power to decide this case. And even if we did, we have no power under the Constitution to invalidate this democratically adopted legislation. The Court’s errors on both points spring forth from the same diseased root: an exalted conception of the role of this institution in America.” Take that, John Marshall.
Where states allow same sex marriage, those marriages are now accepted as fully valid under federal law. The federal government is now required to accept the validity of same sex marriage. This will have enormous affect on inheritance and estate laws as the same sex marriage partner would have the same rights of an opposite sex marriage couple. For example, when in the case of a wealthy traditional husband and wife couple when one dies, the other can defer the federal estate tax on that estate until after the death of the second spouse allowing the surviving spouse to continue to live the lifestyle that the two had enjoyed in life.
Until today, in a same sex marriage the surviving same sex partner would have to pay the estate taxes shortly after the death of the first spouse even if the same sex couple had a will giving them all the assets.
The Obama administration has already refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act and actually supported the challenge of the law. According to the U.S. Census there are over 606,000 same sex house holds in this country.