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


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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