WASHINGTON (AP) -- According to the Supreme Court opinion that rejected part of the Defense of Marriage Act, the effect of that law was to "identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal."
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote those words as part of the majority opinion in one of the two gay marriage rulings today from the high court. The court struck down the law that withheld federal benefits from legally-married same-sex couples, even though the same benefits went to other married couples.
Kennedy wrote that under the Defense of Marriage Act, "same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways."
In the other case, the ruling was a technical one that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage. Instead, it left in place the declaration of a trial court that California's Proposition 8 -- banning gay marriage -- is unconstitutional. Writing for the court in that case, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, "We have no authority to decide this case on the merits."
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