Minutes after 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the world learned that the Supreme Court had struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, enacted in 1996, which defined marriage as a legal relationship between a man and a woman. (Soon after, they learned that the Court reinstated a lower court's ruling over Proposition 8, thereby invalidating it.) Among those who had closely followed the twists and turns of the legal case for gay marriage — in other words, the pundit class of Washington, D.C. and New York — reaction spanned the gamut of emotion: elation, relief, conviction, surprise, even peace. Of course, many were simply unfazed. And a few were resigned. Here's a guide to what they're saying:
Finally. DOMA is unconstitutional!— Chris Hughes (@chrishughes) June 26, 2013
HUGE decision on #DOMA. sweeping, according to Pete Williams.— Howard Fineman (@howardfineman) June 26, 2013
Equality wins. DOMA unconstitutional!— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) June 26, 2013
DOMA IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!!!!!!!!— Victor Fehrenbach (@FehrenbachV) June 26, 2013
I see you there, doing a little fist pump in your cubicle like no one's watching #DOMA— Marin Cogan (@marincogan) June 26, 2013
BuzzFeed's Liza Tozzi pointed to a video of President Obama congratulating the plaintiffs of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenged California's Proposition 8:
Oh thank god. Thank god.— Lisa McIntire (@LisaMcIntire) June 26, 2013
EQUAL PROTECTION!!! We won clean and big! #DOMA— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) June 26, 2013
Thank you #SCOTUS for your enlightened decision on gay marriage today. All men and women are created equal. One down, one to go.— Fred Karger (@fredkarger) June 26, 2013
At The American Prospect, however, Gabriel Arana warns gay marriage supporters not to lose steam:
Some gay-rights supporters are breathing a sigh of relief. When star legal team of Ted Olsen and David Boies first filed their challenge to Prop. 8 in 2008, many in the LGBT legal rights movement feared it was too soon to ask the "big question"—do same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry?—and that the Court would issue a broad ruling finding that discrimination against gay people was fairly easy to justify. Today’s decision amounts to a side-step; this is not the Court’s last word on the same-sex marriage question. But for the moment, the fight is back in the hands of the states.
Incredible day. Savor the victories and then: Keep. Fighting.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 26, 2013
On this day of triumph for equality, let's also acknowledge & appreciate the intellectual spadework @sullydish did here for 25 years.— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 26, 2013
Most liberating feeling to hear your once near-solitary voice blend finally into a communal roar until it isn’t your voice at all any more.— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) June 26, 2013
Great to see Pete Williams analyze the opinion for NBC—a long time after he was brutally outed, even when he was always out, always principled, and in a relationship that has lasted much of his lifetime. Proud of you, Pete, for thriving through all of it … until you got to do this. Amazing, innit?
(In 1991, the radio host Michaelangelo Signorile revealed that Williams, then serving as Assistant Secretary of Defense, was gay.)
Meanwhile, as The Atlantic Wire's Elspeth Reeve points out, many opponents of gay marriage are equally convicted about reversing the expansion of gay rights, especially those pertaining to the legal recognition of marriage.
The 5-4 ruling, with Justice Kennedy writing the majority opinion, caught even the most hardened media types off guard:
Wow RT @SCOTUSblog: DOMA is unconstitutional— Ted Nesi (@tednesi) June 26, 2013
DOMA struck down on equal protection grounds, 5-4. Wow.— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) June 26, 2013
Wow. RT @chrisgeidner: BREAKING: DOMA, Section 3, is unconstitutional. Justice Kennedy writes the 5-4 majority opinion.— Leo Shane III (@LeoShane) June 26, 2013
Wow, the pride parade in NY this weekend is going to be insane.— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) June 26, 2013
Later on Wednesday, others focused on a statement issued by Bill and Hillary Clinton celebrating the reversal of DOMA, which as President Clinton signed into law:
BILL CLINTON HAILS RULING STRIKING DOWN DOMA... FLASHBACK: Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law...— Paula Froelich (@Pfro) June 26, 2013
At RedState, Missouri radio host and CNN personality Dana Loesch suggests that Clinton's role in DOMA's enactment indicates today's ruling is in fact a loss for Democrats, who have forcefully campaigned on behalf of expanding gay rights:
The bottom line is that today’s ruling was once again a failure of Democrats’s big government. Democrats campaigned on DOMA, championed it, Clinton signed it. The party who filibustered the Civil Rights Act will say they “evolved,” which is code for “waffle.” If after today Democrats want to finally agree with conservatives that big government is bad, I’m sure we’d accept their admission of error.
In the end, it is pretty simple. Are we homosexuals lesser than heterosexuals? Are our loves inherently worth less? http://t.co/cK72UqxyiV— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) June 26, 2013
Terry's still asleep. I'm going to go wake my husband & tell him we're married. Wish all same-sex couples in US could say the same. #37ToGo— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) June 26, 2013
This President did a truly noble, gutsy thing when he declined to defend DOMA. It was definitely *not* the path of least resistance.— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 26, 2013
20 years from now, people will instantly recognize the "Defense of Marriage Act" for the creepy, cynical, offensive euphemism it always was.— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 26, 2013
Oddly enough, many right-leaning pundits treated Court ruling as basically inevitable (Girls creator Lena Dunham excepted):
Good. It is. RT @SCOTUSblog: DOMA is unconstitutional.— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) June 26, 2013
DOMA doesn't surprise me. Even I thought it was unconstitutional.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) June 26, 2013
So in sum: DOMA gone, as long expected; marriage remains state issue for 2016 cycle; big blow to direct democracy.— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) June 26, 2013
Don't wanna traffic in stereotypes but let's be real: I'm gonna love a gay wedding.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) June 26, 2013
The aforementioned inevitability shaded into cynicism among the same cohort:
Let's all pretend that the Supreme Court justices are the wisest moral arbiters in the history of mankind.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 26, 2013
Serious question: Now that line is moved, please explain to me why more than two consenting adults should not be allowed to marry?— John Nolte (@NolteNC) June 26, 2013
Yes, Dems campaigned on DOMA, championed it, Clinton signed it, GOP group led fight against. Some need to know what they’re talking about.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) June 26, 2013
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.