In two separate cases, Federal Judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts ruled on July 8 that part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.

DOMA was signed into law in 1996 by former President Bill Clinton while Republicans held majorities in both bodies of Congress. The two major parts of DOMA are Section 2 and Section 3. Section 2 gives states the right to not recognize same-sex marriages from other states where they are valid; this part of DOMA was not considered in either of the two cases. Section 3 bars married same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits which in this ruling was found to be in violation of three parts of the U.S. Constitution.

In Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, Judge Tauro rules that Section 3 violates the Fifth Amendment because of the unequal treatment given to same-sex couples. Judge Tauro also found in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that Section 3 violates the Spending Clause of the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment because it “plainly intrudes on a core area of state sovereignty — the ability to define the marital status of its citizens.”

It is expected that both cases will be appealed by the Justice Department and will eventually go to the Supreme Court.

For more, read Chris Geidner’s in-depth analysis at Metro Weekly.

Tyler DeVere

Tyler DeVere is a former editorial intern for QNotes.

One reply on “DOMA ruled unconstitutional”

  1. YES! It’s about time that law was recognized for the bigotry that it is. I wonder if the people who oppose same sex marriage and the giving of rights realize that they are saying the same exact words that bigots throughout history have said about black and white’s marrying, about segregration, about women’s rights…etc. Do they realize that you can quote tradition and the Bible to support almost any suppression of rights that you want? On both sides it can be done, and has been done. Do they furhter realize that a law cannot be based on religious beliefs.

    The truth is, if two people who are eligible to marry. Who aren’t married to anyone else, who are adults, who are human (not animals), who aren’t directly related to each other, who fit all of the criterion of someone who is allowed to legally marry, want to legally marry each other, there is no legal standing to say that those two eligible people cannot choose each other as marrital partners.

    Also the argument that the state is trying to channel couples who accidentally have children into marriage for the kids’ sake, doesn’t even make sense. Because if I, as a woman, were to marry another woman, how does it stop the girl next door from marrying her boyfriend if he gets her pregnant on accident? I don’t see how those two things are related unless the state wants to make heterosexual couples feel more special than same sex couples and so that specialness will encourage them to marry. If that is the logic, then that logic is descrimination on the face of it, as it’s trying to promote a feeling of superiority. Besides marrying someone because of a baby, when you don’t love and respect and trust them will only end in divorce, or a miserable household. And how exactly does it make sense to tell Mary and Sue that they can’t get married because Bill next door doesn’t know how to wear a condom and he might have accidental kids? Um..what? How does that make any sense at all?

    How can same sex marriage be anything but good for the kids involved in same sex families? And kids will be involved in same sex families no matter what the law is, so why no protect them by having their parents with all the marital and parental rights that need to be there? All of the children born to that union will ALL be wanted, and appreciated. None of them will be on accident, or unwanted. That can only be a good thing! And I would imagine the anti-abortion people would appreciate the fact that Lesbians aren’t likely to be the ones having abortions. And marriage is available to heterosexuals all the time, and they have far more abortions, so I’m not seeing how the state is channeling people in to marriage. They will marry or they won’t at their own will. That’s all the same sex couples are asking for. The right to choose a mate that is already eligible to marry them.

    If parents are worried about the same sex influence on their kids in the classroom and on the play ground, and in every day life, then they need to realize that children are going to see the reality of the loving relationships around them, no matter how they would like to shelter them. Isn’t it easier to say that little Johnny’s parents are married like everyone else’s should be, and to teach them as every decent individual knows, that real love in any form is a good thing! And it’s only a decent thing to do not stand in the way of the happiness of someone else when they’re not hurting anyone. Same sex couples are going to exist, there’s no hiding that, and denying them the right to marry simply because you can decide the course of their lives for them at the ballot box, is only employing the tyranny of the majority.

    One last thing, I think far too few people realize that true equality means that you can turn the tables on someone and it will still be fair and even. If one group dictate the validity of another’s marriage, then that other group should be able to dictate the validity of the first group’s marriages. If that doesn’t seem fair that I am able to tell you who to marry, than it’s not fair or even or equal for you to tell me who to marry. Two legally eligible people to marry, should be allowed to do so, without the government having to approve of their choice of partner.

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