Thursday, February 23, 2012

Federal court rules DOMA unconstitutional

U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional for violating the Constitution's guarantee of equality.

Politico's Josh Gerstein writes: Judge 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" threshhold.

"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."

Check out the ruling here.

Towleroad has MUCH more reaction on this major ruling here and Ari Ezra Waldman provides ample analysis here.

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