US District Judge Finds DOMA Unconsitutional

I was very happy to read this last night. It is now law in Massachusetts that same-sex couples can marry and receive all the same State and Federal benefits as any other couple. DOMA has been ruled unconstitutional, and we are a step closer to marriage equality in this country.

The judge passed a Summary Judgement on the case, which will hopefully make the Justice Department be more cautious about appealing the case.

In the wake of DOMA, it is only sexual orientation that differentiates a married couple entitled to federal marriage-based benefits from one not so entitled. And this court can conceive of no way in which such a difference might be relevant to the provision of the benefits at issue. By premising eligibility for these benefits on marital status in the first instance, the federal government signals to this court that the relevant distinction to be drawn is between married individuals and unmarried individuals. To further divide the class of married individuals into those with spouses of the same sex and those with spouses of the opposite sex is to create a distinction without meaning. And where, as here, “there is no reason to believe that the disadvantaged class is different, in relevant respects” from a similarly situated class, this court may conclude that it is only irrational prejudice that motivates the challenged classification. As irrational prejudice plainly never constitutes a legitimate government interest, this court must hold that Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The full decision.

In addition to the distinction between classes of married citizens being prejudicial, the judge also found that DOMA forces Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens in order to receive Federal funding.  The act "plainly encroaches" on the state's right to make legislation regarding marriage.  Generally the 10th Amendment gets drug through the streets by conservatives opposed to the federal government forcing states to protect equal rights (which would be trumped by the 14th Amendment), so it's ironic that it has been appropriately used to decide against this very conservative statute.  Nothing gets me moving in the morning like a good dose of irony.

In search of reason,


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your thoughts!

Please read our 'No Drama Comment Policy' before posting.