The L.A. Times is reporting that it looks like the Supreme Court will lift the ban on same sex couples receiving federal benefits reserved for married couples. This would mean that same sex couples who have legally married in a state that allows them to would be able to get survivor Social Security benefits and a few other things they haven’t been able to get at the federal level.
They also report that it looks like the court will strike down California’s Prop 8, but not in a way that prevents all states from banning gay marriage. It’s my understanding that same sex couples have certain rights under California’s constitution which conflict with not having the right to marry, so if my understanding is correct, this makes sense – another state that doesn’t grant gays any constitutional rights would not have a constitutional conflict with also denying them the right to marry.
These changes in the right direction are exciting, and I believe the rest will come as public sentiment strengthens behind the idea that same sex couples have as much right to marry as anyone else does. We may have a few holdout states for some time that are determined not to allow same sex marriage, but it won’t go well for them. Businesses thinking of moving to these states will think twice as they realize how it might look to the world and their own LGBT employees if they locate in a state like that. Generations of frustrated kids will move from these states to ones that present them with some opportunities.
Or maybe eventually the federal government will realize it has a duty to encroach on states’ rights when the states are infringing on the rights of certain classes of US citizens.