Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Defense of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional

Via Towleroad: More great news in the equality front. U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White -- a George W. Bush appointee, no less -- ruled today against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. (I'm actually smiling as I write this!)

Politico reports:

Another federal judge has found unconstitutional a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law which forbids providing federal government benefits to same-sex spouses.

U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White, who sits in San Francisco and was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, issued the ruling Wednesday afternoon in a case involving federal judicial law clerk Karen Golinski's request for benefits for her female spouse. White said the stated goals of DOMA, passed in 1996 and signed by President Bill Clinton, could not pass muster under a so-called "heightened scrutiny" test or even a lower "rational basis" threshold.

"The imposition of subjective moral beliefs of a majority upon a minority cannot provide a justification for the legislation. The obligation of the Court is 'to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code,'" White wrote. "Tradition alone, however, cannot form an adequate justification for a law. ... The 'ancient lineage” of a classification does not render it legitimate .... Instead, the government must have an interest separate and apart from the fact of tradition itself."

  • Read Ari Ezra Waldman's analysis of the ruling HERE.

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