People For the American Way Foundation

DOMA Decision Slices Right Wing Talking Point on Referendums

Today's 5-4 Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA devastates one of the Far Right's most ridiculous talking points: that state legislatures behave anti-democratically when they pass marriage equality legislation without a statewide referendum.

Here are a couple of choice quotes from Justice Kennedy's majority opinion:

After a statewide deliberative process that enabled its citizens to discuss and weigh arguments for and against same-sex marriage, New York acted to enlarge the definition of marriage to correct what its citizens and elected representatives perceived to be an injustice that they had not earlier known or understood. (page 14)


In acting first to recognize and then to allow same-sex marriages, New York was responding to the initiative of those who [sought] a voice in shaping the destiny of their own times. These actions were without doubt a proper exercise of its sovereign authority within our federal system, all in the way that the Framers of the Constitution intended. (page 19, internal quotes and citations removed)

The idea that marriage equality legislation adopted without a referendum is anti-democratic was always a ridiculous sign of desperation. But it is nice to see it countered in today's DOMA decision.


Anthony Kennedy, Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Supreme Court, United States v. Windsor