Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A pair of Supreme Court rulings were a victory for supporters of same-sex marriage. The decision is bringing an emotional response on both sides of the issue.
Kai Jackson has more on the ruling’s impact here and across the nation.
Same-sex couples say there are still hurdles to conquer but receiving federal benefits was one of the biggest they faced.
Cheers and tears from supporters of same-sex marriage outside the US Supreme Court. They celebrated a landmark ruling: the justices struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.
It means that same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples, a challenge that came from an 83-year-old woman forced to pay taxes on her partner’s estate.
“I cried,” said Edie Windsor.
The 5-4 ruling means same-sex married couples will receive Social Security survivor benefits, insurance benefits, immigration and tax filings.
In Maryland, same-sex married couples will now be eligible for the more than 1,000 federal rights and responsibilities that come with marriage. These rights include surviving spouse social security benefits, tax on employer provided health benefits for same-sex spouses and the exemption from estate taxes for a surviving spouses. For a complete listing of these 1,138 protections and responsibilities, click here.
Opponents of same-sex marriage say the court usurped the legislative process.
“We can’t leave it to the democratic process for a new president and Congress to decide rather than repeal it,” said Ken Klukowski, Family Research Council.
Archbishop William Lori, the leader of Roman Catholics in Baltimore, says the Supreme Court decision “deals another serious blow to the institution of marriage.”
“The Supreme Court’s decisions to overturn Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act are the latest in a troubling trend of decisions by lawmakers, judges and some voters which ignores the fundamental truth about marriage: it is the most valued, most important social unit in our society and as such is deserving of the protection and special recognition societies have afforded it throughout human history. Today’s decisions will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences, most especially for children, and are another serious blow to the institution of marriage,” Archbishop William Lori said in a release.
Click here to read Archbishop Lori’s full statement.
The Supreme Court decision is something many lesbian and gay couples have waited decades to see.
In Maryland, a gay and lesbian organization celebrated the court’s decision downtown.
“This has been something that we’ve been struggling for for decades: equal recognition, equal rights,” said Matt Newcomer.
The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Baltimore says the decision about benefits was important but describe it as one step in a long process.