Giving tens of thousands of already married same-sex couples in a growing list of states fully equal access to all benefits that the federal government provides for those who are wed, a closely divided Supreme Court struck down a 1996 law on the theory that it was aggressively anti-gay. And, by a different combination of Justices, the Court came close to assuring that millions of still-single gays and lesbians in California will very soon be able to legally marry.
Even while the Court firmly insisted that it was not saying anything about the authority of states to deny marital rights to same-sex partners — as thirty states still do — the obvious practical and political impact of two five-to-four decisions was to advance the cause of equality for homosexuals everywhere in the country, perhaps further than it had ever gone in more than four decades of gay activism.
Justice Kennedy announces DOMA opinion (Art Lien)
... Here, in summary, is what the Court did — and did not do — on same-sex marriage on the final day of its 2012-13 Term.
... One of the ironies of the demise of the defense of ”Proposition 8″ in the Supreme Court’s procedural ruling on “standing” was that this case had been put together explicitly to be an ultimate test of a constitutional right to equal marriage for homosexuals — a test that ultimately the Supreme Court would settle. In the end, the Court did not pass upon that issue, but appeared to have cleared the way for gays and lesbians to marry in that state, when whatever legal maneuvering remains reaches its end.