DOMA Section Three Held Unconstitutional

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In two companion cases – – – one filed by individual plaintiffs married in Massachusetts alleging a violation of equal protection and one filed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts alleging Spending Clause and Tenth Amendment issues – – – federal district judge Joseph Tauro has held DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional.  Section 3 is the provision limiting federal recognition of marriages to those between a man and woman, regardless of state law.

Judge Tauro has much to say about the federalism and the federal – as opposed to state – interest in marriage and family law, although what he basically says is that the federal government shouldn’t have any interest at all.  Family law is a province of the states.  He also rejects the Obama administration’s newly-minted justification for DOMA: a preservation of the status quo. Applying rational basis under equal protection, Judge Tauro finds ‘staus quo’ not rationally related to the statutory means, especially given the law in 1996 when DOMA was passed. 

More on the cases, and the case opinions, available on ConLawProfBlog here.

Will the Obama DOJ appeal???????

- Ruthann Robson

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