State Laws, Federal Laws and the Institution of Marriage

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The federal Defense of Marriage Act was cobbled together in 1996, after the Supreme Court of Hawaii suggested there might be a right to same-sex marriage. Because of DOMA, more than 1100 rules and regulations limit taxes and benefits only to heterosexual couples. Bill Clinton now says he regrets having signed it. Lesbian plaintiff, 83-year old Edith Windsor, challenged the law, and today the US Supreme Court considered arguments that it violates the rights of gays and lesbians in states that recognize same-sex marriage. We hear about the arguments and ask whether this week's disputes are all about a declining institution — with fewer Americans getting married than ever before.




Warren Olney