No, the Supreme Court Probably Didn’t Signal the Imminent End of Gay-Marriage Bans Today

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Greg Sargent reports that some supporters of gay marriage are excited by a “tell” buried in today’s Supreme Court decision on DOMA. Here it is:

State laws defining and regulating marriage, of course, must respect the constitutional rights of persons, see, e.g., Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967); but, subject to those guarantees, “regulation of domestic relations” is “an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the States.”

Loving struck down state laws against interracial marriage, so the idea here is that the court might be suggesting that someday it will strike down laws against gay marriage too.

Maybe. But I’m not sure I’d read that much into this. The court is basically expressing a tautology: If we decide something is a constitutional right, then state laws have to respect that constitutional right. Unfortunately, that really doesn’t say anything about whether or not the court will declare same-sex marriage a constitutional right anytime soon. It just says that if they do, then states will have to go along. Needless to say, we already knew that.

But who knows? Maybe my Supreme Court Kremlinology is just rusty.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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