Defense of Marriage Act is struck down a second time
The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, has been struck down yet again by a US court. This time, it was the New York 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled, 2 to 1, that ruled DOMA is unconstitutional. The case was brought before the New York court by Edith Windsor, who sued the government after being told to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax after her wife died. Edith had married her wife in Canada in 2007. Judge Dennis Jacobs wrote that the court’s decision was based on the fact that “classification of same-sex spouses was not substantially related to an important government interest.” The law was deemed to violate the equal protection clause because it allows for the federal government to place restrictions on a certain group of people without evidence that doing so was in the interests of the federal government. Jacobs also wrote that the ruling was in the interests of minority protection and that “homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public.” DOMA is a federal law that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. Under this law, gay couples, even those who are legally married under state law, do not qualify for federal benefits such as the ability to file joint tax returns. In light of this judiciary action and multiple others before it regarding the law, it is expected DOMA will come before the US Supreme Court sometime next year. President Barack Obama instructed the Department of Justice not to defend the law in 2011, in the wake of a Virginia federal court deeming it unconstitutional.