2nd Circuit Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In a 2 to 1 decision, a three judge panel of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has ruled that Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

The majority opinion written by Judge Dennis Jacobs rejected a section of the law that says “marriage” only means a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and that the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. A federal appeals court in Boston earlier this year also found it unconstitutional.

The issue is expected to be decided by the Supreme Court. The decision came less than a month after the court heard arguments on Sept. 27. [..]

In striking down the law, the Jacobs wrote that the law’s “classification of same-sex spouses was not substantially related to an important government interest” and thus violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

He said the law was written so broadly that it touches more than a thousand federal laws. He said “homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public.”

He rejected arguments that the definition of marriage was traditional.

“Even if preserving tradition were in itself an important goal, DOMA is not a means to achieve it,” he said.

Judge Chester Straub dissented, saying that if the government was to change its understanding of marriage, “I believe it is for the American people to do so.”

As noted in another New York Times article, acceptance of same sex marriage has grown even among Latinos:

Just six years ago, 56 percent of Latinos were against same-sex marriage. Today, their rate of approval stands at 52 percent over all and slightly higher – 54 percent – among Latino Catholics, the survey by the Pew Research Center found.

Latino evangelicals, on the other hand, remain strongly opposed to same-sex marriage, affirming their conservative credentials in a demographic group whose politics and positions, liberal and conservative, have become more in line with Americans over all.

The Republican House took up defending DOMA after the Obama Justice Department stopped defending it in February 2011. House leaders committed $1.5 million of tax payer funds to hire lawyer, Paul Clement, to represent them in DOMA cases. So far they have argued in 14 cases and have spent nearly all of the allocation. As of today they have lost six.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) criticized Boehner for ignoring “critical issues like comprehensive jobs legislation” while wasting “time and taxpayer money defending the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.”

“Despite losing multiple court cases, Speaker Boehner continues to insist on racking up even more taxpayer-funded legal bills, even as Republicans claim to be concerned about the deficit,” Hoyer said in a statement.

It remains unclear if House Republican leaders plan to extend their contract with Clement — and spend more taxpayer dollars — to continue defending DOMA. They maintain they are obligated to defend current law, regardless of what it is. A Boehner spokesman deferred all DOMA-related questions to Clement. A request for comment from Clement was not immediately returned.

So much for those deficits concerns.

1 comment

    • TMC on October 19, 2012 at 1:14 am
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