Seizing the moment

The Supreme Court should agree to take on issues affecting same-sex couples.

Daily Editorial Board

This Friday, the Supreme Court is scheduled to discuss whether it should take on one of five cases against the Defense of Marriage Act sometime next year.

DOMA, enacted in 1996 to limit marriage between one man and one woman, has been found unconstitutional by eight federal courts and the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, citing an array of problems from bankruptcy laws to public employee benefits. This will make it likely that the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the case.

The last time the court confronted a LGBT rights case was in 2010, when the justices voted 5-4 to let stand lower court rulings holding that a California law school could deny recognition to a Christian student group that does not allow gay members.

Issues faced by same-sex couples continue to plague numerous parts of daily life in our country. LGBT individuals may be unable to access Social Security survivor benefits, file joint income taxes, inherit a deceased spouse’s pension or obtain family health insurance because of DOMA. Regardless of a stance on the right to equal marriage, these are problems that should be bipartisan issues and a question of basic rights for all individuals.

Earlier this month, Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court should seize this moment as a chance to reject DOMA, which is clearly a problem for many Americans today, through one of these cases. Doing so would follow the precedents set by the numerous courts before it and allow same-sex couples to obtain similar rights that most Americans already have.