DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional
Julie Bolcer of the Advocate reports that the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court in Boston. The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel marked the first time a federal appeals court has issued a ruling against the law.
According to the Associated Press, “The appeals court agreed with a lower court judge who ruled in 2010 that the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns.”
Judge Michael Boudin, an appointee of President George H.W. Bush, wrote the opinion for the appeals court.
"To conclude, many Americans believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and most Americans live in states where that is the law today," he wrote. "One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity of governance based on local choice, but this applies as well to the states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage. Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress' denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest.”