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DOMA ruling’s impact on the future of gay marriage


In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled June 26 that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits, and declined to decide a case from California, effectively allowing same-sex marriages there.

The decision voids a section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was adopted with bipartisan support in Congress in 1996 to deny all benefits and recognition to same-sex couples.

After the news broke, FIU News asked students on social media what they thought of the decision. Natalie Merola tweeted, “It’s vindicating that #SCOTUS crushed the ideologies of #DOMA. May we continue to revolutionize the history of marriage in the U.S.”

Michael Collado said, “#loveislove and congratulations! but also 5-4, really?”

Alumnus Christian Williams ’12 wrote on Facebook: “I’m so proud to be an American. And I’m proud to be a part of the LGBT community. I learn more about the community every day, and the battle to earn our civil rights makes me more and more proud to be a part of it…. When I do meet my soul mate, get married and – possibly – have a child, I’ll look back on this day with the greatest sense of pride.”

College of Law professor Jose Gabilondo sat down with FIU News earlier today to explain key points of the landmark decision and what it all means. Gabilondo has published extensively on how law and legal institutions promote heterosexual supremacy at the expense of equal rights for gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities. His articles have critiqued straight supremacy in marriage, legal education, religious expression and the treatment of young people.

He has chaired the Association of American Law Schools’ Section of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues and the Law School Admissions Council Subcommittee on GLBT issues. His work on heterosexual identity has been used in court-ordered diversity training for Florida judges and judicial staff. He regularly lectures on the issues, comments in the Spanish-language media and debates opponents of gay marriage in a variety of fora.

Back in April when the high court first heard the cases, Gabilondo and Rebecca Mae Salokar, chair and associate professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations, explained Proposition 8 and DOMA.

Salokar, has published articles and book chapters on state constitutional change, state judicial elections and campaign speech, judicial selection, and legal representation for Congress. While her teaching interests center on law and courts, her research interests bridge the disciplines of law and political science. Most recently, her research has been in the area of gay and lesbian families and the law, and she has worked on cases involving same-sex adoptions in Florida.

She is quoted in media on issues of judicial politics; constitutional law and politics; gender and law; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) politics.

What do you think of the Supreme Court’s ruling? Leave your comment below.