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July 8, 2010

Federal court finds DOMA unconstitutional on Tenth Amendment, equal protection grounds

A federal district judge in Massachusetts has ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which established the federal government’s definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, is unconstitutional.

The court issued rulings in two related cases.  In the first, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, brought by same-sex couples, the court agreed that Section 3 of DOMA denied the couples certain federal marriage-based benefits that are available to similarly-situated heterosexual couples, in violation of the Fifth Amendment's equal protection clause.  Click here to read the decision.
 
In the second case, Commonwealth v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, brought by the Massachusetts attorney general, the court "determined that it is clearly within the authority of the Commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights, and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status. The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and, in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid.”  Click here to read the decision.
 
Professor Ruthann Robson has a report and analysis at Conlawprof Blog. 
 
-SS

July 8, 2010 | Permalink

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