DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars same sex couples from obtaining any of the 1,100 federal rights afforded to opposite sex couples, has moved one step closer to demise. Like a Boston federal court before it, today a New York federal appeals court declared DOMA unconstitutional...
NEW YORK (AP) -- Saying the gay population has "suffered a history of discrimination," a divided federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled Thursday that a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional, adding fuel to an issue expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court soon.
In a majority opinion written by Judge Dennis Jacobs, the 2nd Circuit, like a federal appeals court in Boston before it, found no reason the Defense of Marriage Act could be used to deny benefits to married gay couples. It supported a lower court ruling after a woman sued the government in 2010, saying the law required her to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax after her partner of 44 years died.
The 2nd Circuit said the law's "classification of same-sex spouses was not substantially related to an important government interest" and thus violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
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