U.S. District Judge Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

A just outcome, but I am not sure how I feel about appealing to states’ rights to define marriage for themselves, which could inevitably be used as a justification for individual states to deny gays’  rights to marriage.  The case is about equal rights, not states rights, and should have been settled as such:

A U.S. judge in Boston has ruled that a federal gay marriage ban is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro on Thursday ruled in favor of gay couples’ rights in two separate challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA.

The state had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004.

Tauro agreed, and said the act forces Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens.

“The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid,” Tauro wrote in a ruling in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley.

Ruling in a separate case filed by Gays & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Tauro found that DOMA violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“We’ve maintained from the very beginning that there was absolutely no basis for this law treating one class of married Massachusetts couples different from everybody else and the court has recognized that,” said Gary Buseck, GLAD’s legal director.

Thanks to Marcella for the heads up.

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