BY MICHAEL DOYLE, MCCLATCHY WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday made history with two victories for marriage equality, both in California and nationwide.
In a pair of highly anticipated decisions, the divided court effectively undercut California’s Proposition 8 and struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Though one of the decisions was written narrowly, together they provide an emphatic, if incomplete win for same-sex marriage advocates.
The same-sex marriage decisions, issued on the final day of the term that started last October, address different issues. In each, a slim 5-4 majority rallied for the position that effectively supported same-sex marriage.
The Proposition 8 case involved a challenge to the California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, the court concluded that the supporters of Proposition 8 lacked the legal standing to defend the ballot measure.
“Because we find that petitioners do not have standing, we have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the Ninth Circuit,” Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote.
The decision leaves intact a trial judge’s order blocking Proposition 8 from taking effect. At the very least, this means two same-sex couples who filed the lawsuit against the ballot measure can marry. Advocates say other same-sex couples in California should be able to take advantage of the same ruling, though that might still require further trial-level clarification.