Well this is pretty much unqualifiedly good news:
Married gay and lesbian couples are entitled to federal benefits, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a major victory for the gay rights movement.
In a second decision, the court declined to say whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Instead, the justices said that a case concerning California’s ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, was not properly before them. Because officials in California had declined to appeal a trial court’s decision against them and because the proponents of Proposition 8 were not entitled to step into the state’s shoes to appeal from the decision, the court said, it was powerless to issue a decision.
The ruling leaves in place laws banning same-sex marriage around the nation. Its consequences for California were not immediately clear, but many legal analysts say that same-sex marriages there are likely to resume in a matter of weeks.
I never expected the court to issue a sweeping ruling in the Prop. 8 case that would’ve enshrined same-sex marriage as a constitutional right. I’m not even sure that would’ve been a good thing, given the backlash it might have created. Under the circumstances, this may be the best outcome supporters of marriage equality could’ve reasonably hoped for.