Wednesday, June 26, 2013

POTUS suprises victors: Congratulatory call during Prop. 8 victory interview

Live TV often captures cool moments, and sometimes captures strange moments. On Wednesday, shortly after the Supreme Court issued a "narrow" decision on California's Prop. 8, two of the pro "marriage equality" plaintiffs in the case received a congratulatory email that was caught on camera.

Just as Kris Perry and Sandy Stier were giving a live interview on MSNBC, someone ran over with a cell phone and said that the POTUS was on the line. The phone was switched to speaker mode, and all were able to listen as Obama congratulated the couple.

We'll see if Obama can clear space on his docket: One of the people in the crowd surrounding the phone invited the President to a wedding.

On Wednesday, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court basically invalidated California's same-sex marriage ban, Prop. 8, saying that the activists who put Proposition 8 on California ballots in 2008 did not have standing to defend the law in federal courts after the state refused to appeal its loss at trial.

“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “We decline to do so for the first time here.”

It does not, however, mean that marriage equality -- or same-sex marriage -- is now legalized across the nation. The ruling was narrow in that it only invalidated California's Prop. 8. This leaves the decision on marriage equality at the state level.

However, also on Wednesday, the court struck down DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, saying it was unconstitutional.

"The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. "By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment."

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