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Supreme Court Extends Gay Marriage Rights With Two Rulings

Publication Date: 
June 26, 2013
Source: 
National Public Radio - All Things Considered
Author: 
Nina Totenberg

Professor Michael McConnell spoke with NPR's Nina Totenberg after the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage rulings to discuss what the future holds for other cases that challenge state bans on same-sex marriage and why he believes it now leaves states in a "holding pattern." 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. The court's 5-to-4 decision means that the federal government will now have to provide the same benefits to gay couples as to heterosexual couples.

In a second case, from California, the court declined to say whether state bans on gay marriage are constitutional, but in staying its hand, the court cleared the way for the most populous state to become the 13th that permits same-sex marriage.

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"We are in something of a holding pattern," says Michael McConnell, a former federal appeals court judge who now directs the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. "In the short term what this does is leave the question of same-sex marriage to the states. I don't expect that necessarily to be the long-term solution."