DOMA is dead! Here's where to celebrate

The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and essentially negated Prop 8 today, and local LGBT activists will be celebrating in NYC.

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The Stonewall Inn

The Stonewall Inn Photograph: Grace Chu


Today the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and dismissed a case about California's Proposition 8 based on lack of standing. What does that mean for us in New York? The details are still shaking out, but a few things: Legal marriages performed here over the last two years will now be federally recognized, so same-sex married couples will now have access to more than 1,100 rights previously denied to them under DOMA, covering everything from Social Security benefits to estate taxes. Federal workers' same-sex spouses, as well as those of military personnel, should become eligible for the same benefits given to opposite-sex marrieds, and Edie Windsor—who happens to be one of the marshals in NYC's Pride March this weekend—will become a much wealthier woman.

The Prop 8 dismissal doesn't have a direct impact in NYC right now. Civil marriages will  likely become legal in the state of California (that happens right away for the couples actually involved in the case), but the court avoided weighing in on whether or not same-sex marriage is a constitutionally protected equal-protection right, which would have had much wider implications. On the bright side, the SCOTUS is now unlikely to hear cases from random groups of people who claim to be "injured" by recognition of gay families. (For a helpful primer on what was at stake in these two cases—it wasn't just about marriage—check out this excellent page from Chicago-Kent's Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States.) Even though Prop 8 was a bit of a draw, today is all about celebrating, and you should plan for a mailbox full of invitations to weddings in San Francisco and L.A.

Back to NYC: This week's Pride festivities are going to be especially…festive right here in the birthplace of the modern gay-rights movement. Stonewall Democrats have organized a rally—after today's DOMA decision, it may be more appropriate to call it a celebration—at the historic Stonewall Inn for today at 5:30pm. You can also check our Pride Guide to make your plans, and get ready for a massive party this weekend.

Keep your eyes here throughout today for updates about impromptu celebrations around town (e-mail tips to gay.ny@timeout.com).

Updates:
-The LGBT Center is inviting all community members to watch the news and celebrate in Room 301 before heading over to Stonewall at 5:30pm.


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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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