The president and attorney general conclude the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex married couples. Decision is a major policy shift on gay rights.
The DC Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that Washington was within its rights to block a popular vote on same-sex marriage because the results could violate its human rights law. The city legalized gay marriage in March.
Gay marriage cannot be overturned by a ballot initiative, ruled the District of Columbia's highest court Thursday.
Lawyers for two same-sex couples, over nine days of testimony, have examined general attitudes about modern marriage, homosexuality, and whether sexual orientation warrants special legal protection. They seek to overturn Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in California. Defenders of the ban are up next.
The court says the measure only takes away the term 'marriage' – not a gay couple's legal rights. The ruling also preserves 18,000 marriages that took place before the ban.