Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

The Irony of the Death: The first nails in the coffin of DOMA were all done by Republicans.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 3, 2012

The stinking irony of the whole matter is that the folks who are primarily responsible for the federal death of DOMA is that…


So who’re your hypocrites?

Who’re your radicals now?

In Defense of Marriage

Published: June 2, 2012

The federal appeals court ruling last week that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act did not say whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, but the decision sets the stage for what will almost certainly be a Supreme Court showdown over the unfair treatment of gay people and their families.

The ruling on Thursday by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, based in Boston, marked the first time a federal appellate court had ruled against the 1996 law, which excludes same-sex couples from federal benefits accorded heterosexual married couples. (like being allowed to filed joint tax returns and to receive Social Security survivor payments).

The case was heard by two judges nominated by Republican presidents and one Democratic nominee. It involved married couples in Massachusetts, which is among the handful of states where gay couples may lawfully wed. The marriage law was being defended by lawyers hired by the Republican majority in the House after the Obama administration finally acknowledged that it was unconstitutional and decided to stop defending it in court.

The panel’s key finding was that there was no “demonstrated connection” between the law’s hurtful treatment of same-sex couples and “its asserted goal of strengthening the bonds and benefits” of heterosexual marriage. It also said another rationale for the law — that it preserves scarce federal resources — was simply not true.

We were disappointed that the panel declined to formally adopt the “strict scrutiny” standard of review in evaluating the measure’s legitimacy, as the plaintiffs and the Justice Department had urged.

Laws like the Defense of Marriage Act that focus on a group long subjected to unfair discrimination, as gay people have been, should be presumed invalid unless lawmakers’ purpose in adopting the law is shown to serve a real and compelling interest.

Even so, the panel took unusual care in reaching a conclusion grounded in current equal-protection jurisprudence. The court was clear that neither tradition nor the law’s stated aim of showing “moral disapproval of homosexuality” were legitimate grounds to discriminate.

“Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress’s denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest,” according to Judge Michael Boudin, who wrote the opinion.

This is unlikely to be the final word. The case appears headed for the Supreme Court. The nation would be well-served if the justices let the panel’s ruling stand. Better yet, Congress should just repeal the dreadful law.

A version of this editorial appeared in print on June 3, 2012, on page SR12 of the New York edition with the headline: In Defense of Marriage.


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