Thursday, May 31, 2012

DOMA = Unconstitutional (Still)

The Defense of Marriage Act has gone through several rough patches over the past year plus. In February 2011, the Department of Justice decided that they would not defend Section 3 of the federal DOMA law any more due to strong constitutional concerns. Section C prevents the federal government from recognizing legal same-sex marriages. Then in February 2012, despite the GOP-controlled House of Representatives' high-price private attorneys' best efforts, the U.S. Ninth Circuit of Appeal in San Francisco also declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional in the case of a female federal employee who was denied spousal health benefits for her wife. Basically, the court said that the U.S. government couldn't offer health benefits to the spouses of some federal employees and not others.

Guess what happened today? A three panel judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit just declared Section C of DOMA unconstitutional. This was a unanimous decision and most of those unanimous decision-makers were Republican-appointed federal justices. Once again, the federal court ruled that it is totally unconstitutional for the federal government to treat married gay and lesbian couples differently than other legally married couples in matters of federal recognition or benefits.

Now the case will go before the U.S. Supreme Court. Unlike others, I'm not sure that I want them deciding the fate of my marriage. Then again, I have no control over that decision.

In the meantime, it is good to see another court decision that re-affirms the idea that the U.S. Government cannot treat some legally married couples differently than most other legally married couples, just because a chunk of people disagree with the nature of our families.

1 comment:

Katy Anders said...

I was happy to see this, but it just made good sense - and I think the reasoning will be upheld by the Supremes should it go that way.

The feds have to take the state's definition of marriage to heart for purposes of determining federal benefits of couples within that state.

It's almost a "Duh" moment.