June 13, 2011
CDCB Rules that DOMA Is Not "Cause" for Dismissal of Married Gay Couple's Joint Petition
In a landmark decision, written by Judge Thomas Donovan and signed by 19 other members of the court, the Central District of California Bankruptcy Court has ruled that same-sex partners who are legally married in California may file a joint bankruptcy petition, despite Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which restricts the meaning of "marriage" in any federal law to "only a legal union between one man and one woman."
The opinion in In re Balas & Morales reasoned that recent 9th Circuit jurisprudence and the recent Holder memo describing the President's stance on the constitutionality of DOMA suggests that legislation which disadvantages people on the basis of their sexual orientation must be subjected to heightened judicial scrutiny. Applying this scrutiny, the court ruled that DOMA, as applied to invalidate the joint petition of a legally married gay couple in California, unconstitutionally violates the equal protection clause of the 5th and 14th Amendments.
Read the opinion here.
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