Defense of Marriage Act Declared Unconstitutional

Jim Burroway

July 8th, 2010

We have just received word that a Federal Court Judge has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

According to a press release issued by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD):

This afternoon, a federal court judge issued a decision in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders’ lawsuit challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The judge also issued a decision in Commonwealth v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s lawsuit challenging Section 3 of DOMA, which is separate from GLAD’s lawsuit and based on a different legal theory.

 One Tweet has it that GLAD’s case was decided on “equal protection principles.” Of course, we eagerly await the text of the ruling itself, which I presume will not be in the form of thousands of tweets.

This is an important first step in the long slog to the Supreme Court. Given that the U.S. Justice Department is likely to appeal the ruling, it’s unclear what immediate affect this ruling might have.

Update 1: Bay Windows has more information:

In one challenge brought by the state of Massachusetts, Judge Joseph Tauro ruled that Congress violated the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution when it passed DOMA and took from the states decisions concerning which couples can be considered married. In the other, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, he ruled DOMA violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

Both cases were argued separately last May, although both decisions were handed down simultaneously today. Bay Windows notes that this is an extremely quick turn for a decision like this.

Update 2: Reporter Rex Wocknoer sent out this key snippet from the Commonwealth vs US HHS decision:

This court has determined that it is clearly within the authority of the Commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights, and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status. The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and, in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid.

Update2  3 and 4: The Gill decision has been uploaded here. The Commonwealth decision is here. I’m pretty busy right now, so feel free to discuss them in the comments.

occono

July 8th, 2010

Whoooo!

Timothy Kincaid

July 8th, 2010

Both the Tenth Amendment and Due Process? Very cool.

John in the Bay Area

July 8th, 2010

So, will Obama file an appeal?

Burr

July 8th, 2010

Very cool.. and well very fricking obvious.

Can’t wait to hear how the retards in SCOTUS get it wrong, though.

Timothy (TRiG)

July 8th, 2010

Are there any links to the original PDFs instead of the ad-ridden flash Scribd version?

PDF is an open standard, which can be viewed with Free Software. Flash isn’t.

Also, Woot! Excellent news!

TRiG.

Burr

July 8th, 2010

TRiG, click the download button. :)

Mark

July 8th, 2010

Conservatives ought to be receptive to the 10th Amendment argument…not saying they will be, but they ought to be.

Timothy (TRiG)

July 8th, 2010

It seems Scribd isn’t using flash after all, though I’m sure they do on their embedded version. They’re using some very clever HTML and CSS instead, which are open standards.

You still can’t download it without signing in, though. The original PDFs must be available somewhere.

TRiG.

bearchewtoy75

July 8th, 2010

So, what does this mean, really?

Will US Gov. recognize same sex marraige if the state does also? Does it have to go through the appeals process first?

Michael

July 8th, 2010

I urge everyone to contact their senators and representatives to request that they take immediate action to repeal all aspects of DOMA. Doing so will save the government millions in what amounts to a ridiculous effort defend a law that is so clearly a violation of the constitution.

Mark

July 8th, 2010

“So, what does this mean, really?

Will US Gov. recognize same sex marraige if the state does also? Does it have to go through the appeals process first?”

Well, if the decisions stand it will mean the Feds have to recognize legal state marriages. However, the decisions will almost certainly be appealled all the way up to the SCOTUS.

Timothy Kincaid

July 8th, 2010

No word yet on appeal. The Justice Department is “reviewing the ruling”

Burr

July 8th, 2010

Apparently a ruling in CA is expected soon?

Priya Lynn

July 9th, 2010

Timothy said “No word yet on appeal. The Justice Department is “reviewing the ruling””.

If I remember correctly Obama said something to the effect that although this law is discriminatory his government has to defend laws that are constitutional. This is his opportunity to show some intregrity and refuse to defend this law based on his own assessment of the situation.

Neon Genesis

July 10th, 2010

If DOMA is unconstitutional because it infringes on states’ rights to decide, does this mean states are required now to put gay marriage to a vote? Is it now unconstitutional for the federal government to make gay marriage in all 50 states? Is Loving v Virginia unconstitutional now?

John in the Bay Area

July 10th, 2010

Neon Genesis,

A lower court does not have the authority to overturn Loving v. Virginia.

Patrick Garies

October 12th, 2010

Neon Genesis wrote: “If DOMA is unconstitutional because it infringes on states’ rights to decide, does this mean states are required now to put gay marriage to a vote?”

The answer is “no”. These decisions just mean that, if a state chooses to make marriage inclusive of same-sex couples, the federal government must respect that state’s decision and recognize those state-sanctioned marriages as it would any other marriage from that state rather than selectively denying that state’s couples benefits as they do today.

Neon Genesis wrote: “Is it now unconstitutional for the federal government to make gay marriage in all 50 states?”

I would think so.

Congress could presumably circumvent that though by issuing a non-discrimination law covering sexual orientation.

Neon Genesis wrote: “Is Loving v Virginia unconstitutional now?”

No. Only the Supreme Court or a constitutional amendment can change that.

Timothy Kincaid

October 12th, 2010

No, Congress cannot circumvent the constitution. But the Courts can find that anti-gay marriage laws are in violation to Due Process and Equal Protections.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Will the FDA Gay Blood Ban Finally Go Away?

How the Media Misses The Big Story

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

This Month In History, 1940: Homosexuality and Lesbianism Treated With Metrazol

Born On This Day, 1940: Mel White

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1808: Australian Court Convicts Two Of "Most Disgusting and Abominable" Crime

Today In History, 1865: Dr. Barry's Death Reveals a Lifelong Secret

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.