For those who saw only the headlines, the immediate question was: is DOMA, the 1996 law limits marriage, for purposes of the federal government, to one man and one woman, dead? The short answer: no. For now, two women or two men who are married in their home states are still single for the purposes of taxes, Social Security benefits, immigration and all other federal legal matters. Although DOMA is clearly on life support, it is still the law, and it will be until Congress repeals it or a higher federal court declares it unconstitutional. (Congress itself can defend DOMA against ongoing court challenges, and outside groups can petition to intervene on DOMA’s behalf.)
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign, which all worked for the freedom to marry in Maryland, released a joint statement today calling on the House of Delegates to follow suit and send the marriage bill to the governor, who has promised to sign it into law.