Defense Of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional By NY Federal Appeals Court
The Defense of Marriage Act has been ruled unconstitutional once again. A federal appeals court in Manhattan, New York joined an appeals court in Boston by declaring DOMA unconstitutional.
The case is expected to go before the Supreme Court next year.
The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-to-1 that DOMA, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote for the majority that the LGBT community deserved equal protection from the courts.
“Homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public … (DOMA’s) classification of same-sex spouses was not substantially related to an important government interest … Even if preserving tradition were in itself an important goal, DOMA is not a means to achieve it.”
Reuters reports that the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals was looking at a lawsuit filed by 83-year-old Edith Windsor and the American Civil Liberties Union when they made their ruling on DOMA. Windsor married her longtime partner Clara Spyer in 2007, but, when Spyer passed away in 2009, the marriage was not recognized by federal law. Because of this, Windsor had to pay more than $360,000 in federal estate taxes.
The court ruled that Windsor was unconstitutionally denied federal benefits.
Gay marriage has been legalized in six states, but, due to DOMA, which was passed in 1996, the federal government does not recognize those marriages. The Obama administration has said that it believes that DOMA is unconstitutional and would no longer defend the law.