The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday.
The law, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, enabled the federal government to deny benefits to same-sex couples who were considered legally married in the states they resided in.
Some of the benefits that same-sex couples will see as a result of the Supreme Court decision include entitlement to file tax returns jointly, Social Security survivor benefits and the right to be informed if a spouse is killed in action.
The 5-4 vote from the justices underscored the discord on the issue. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion and Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the dissent.
U.S. President Barack Obama spoke of his support of the Court’s decision later in the day, characterizing the now-defunct law as “discrimination enshrined in law.”
Sam Zuidema, chairman of OSU College Republicans and a third-year in history and political science, though, voiced a different opinion on the ruling.
“It would do us well to remember that the legal opinions on the constitutionality of laws rarely provide, and aren’t intended to provide, the answer on what is right and wrong. The ruling regards federal benefits, and does not decide on the propriety or legality of states choosing their own marriage laws,” Zuidema said in an email.
The court also formally concluded the supporters of California’s Proposition 8 did not possess the standing to appeal the lower court rulings that had declared it unconstitutional. This decision will allow same-sex marriages to resume in California in at least 25 days, according to the Associated Press.
Proposition 8 was a 2008 voter initiative banning same-sex marriage.
Some establishments in the Columbus area showed their support of the Supreme Court’s decisions later in the day. The Union Cafe, for example, hosted an event called “DOMA is Dead” Wednesday evening.
Some Ohio State students felt the Supreme Court came to the appropriate verdict in both cases.
“It seems like a reasonable decision. I don’t know how they could have come to another decision,” said Marc Dotson, a doctoral student in marketing.
Other students echoed Dotson’s opinion.
“I think it’s great,” said Robey Patrick, a graduate student in Spanish and Portuguese. “It is unfortunate that the court is taking a wait and see approach to marriage equality instead of preserving rights even when it is unpopular.”