American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

One month later: marriage equality’s Supreme Court victories

One month ago the U.S. Supreme Court decided two landmark marriage equality cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor.

The effects of the twin decisions, announced on June 26, 2013, were felt almost immediately.

Within minutes, a judge stopped the deportation of a Columbian man who is married to an American citizen in New York. Shortly thereafter, a Florida man was the first member of a same-sex couple to receive approval for a permanent resident visa after over 15 years living in the U.S.

Then, two days after the decisions, AFER’s plaintiffs Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo became the first lesbian and gay couples to marry in California since the 2008 passage of Prop. 8 . For each, the moment fulfilled a decade-long dream.

They were joined by hundreds of couples who flocked to San Francisco City Hall that weekend and to their local county registrar the following Monday.

The two cases may be over, but their effect will be felt for years to come. In California and other states with marriage equality, couples can breathe a sigh relief, knowing that they are fully protected by state and federal law. And LGBT youth who have been bullied and harassed because they are labeled as different, will grow up knowing that they are the same as every other American in the eyes of the law.

While many federal departments including the IRS are still figuring out how to apply the ruling, the Social Security Administration is now accepting benefit claims of married same-sex couples and House Republicans will stop defending DOMA in other cases, including a case regarding spousal benefits for gay members of the military.

And for the people living in states that do not yet recognize the freedom to get married for all, there is renewed hope. The tide has shifted and it no longer a question of “if” we will have full federal marriage equality, but “when.”