Supreme Court

DOMA is Done: Damon Root on a Supreme Win for Gay Rights

A report from this week's oral arguments before the Supreme Court.

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"This week is not going to be the sweeping victory for gay rights that many supporters and advocates hoped for," says Reason.com's Damon W. Root. "However, I think the Defense of Marriage Act is in trouble, which is definitely a win for gay rights." Root, who writes frequently about legal issues, attended both days of oral arguments at the Supreme Court this week for two cases pertaining to same-sex marriage.

Today's case, United States v. Windsor, looks at whether the Defense Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection. Signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the law denies federal marriage benefits to same-sex couples.

"What we saw today," says Root, "was Justice Kennedy really ready to strike down the law as an overreach of federal power, and many of the liberal justices ready to go right along with him."

Root sat down with Reason magazine's Katherine Mangu-Ward to discuss what today's proceedings—and yesterday's arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which looked at the constitutionality of California's ban on same-sex marriage—mean for gay rights and personal freedoms.

About 5.30 minutes. Camera by Jim Epstein and Joshua Swain, and edited by Epstein.

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