DOMA and Prop 8 Takeaway

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Don't be distracted by the quagmire of a decision on California's Proposition 8, though the standing issues there are pretty riveting for those of us who perversely enjoyed law school.

The main event today is clearly the Supreme Court's forceful Equal Protection decision in the DOMA case, which can only be read as an invitation for plaintiffs in states that don't allow gay marriage to file a 14th Amendment claim in federal court. Today's decision lays a clear predicate for the landmark decision that will surely come in 2 or 3 years imposing a national constitutional right to marry whomever you want.

Until then, while we've come a long way, it is deeply unsatisfying to find ourselves in a time when gay Americans in some states enjoy more basic rights than their fellow gay Americans in other states.  I hope, one week before we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, that progressives don't hasten to embrace states' rights for political expediency. 

We need to insist, as I wrote last year here, that the "privileges and immunities" of American citizenship aren't defined by the state you happen to live in.