A U.S. District Judge in Northern California, who was appointed by George W. Bush, ruled in favor of the plaintiff in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. This is the first ruling to come down since the Obama administration decided not to defend DOMA in court; the defense here was done by the U.S. House. Chris Geidner has some quotes from the ruling:
The Court concludes that, based on the justifications proffered by Congress for its passage of DOMA, the statute fails to satisfy heightened scrutiny and is unconstitutional as applied to Ms. Golinski.
Although the Court finds that DOMA is subject to and fails to satisfy heightened scrutiny, it notes that numerous courts have found that the statute fails even rational basis review…
The Court finds that neither Congress’ claimed legislative justifications nor any of the proposed reasons proffered by BLAG constitute bases rationally related to any of the alleged governmental interests. Further, after concluding that neither the law nor the record can sustain any of the interests suggested, the Court, having tried on its own, cannot conceive of any additional interests that DOMA might further…
The Court has found that DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex married couples. Even though animus is clearly present in its legislative history, the Court, having examined that history, the arguments made in its support, and the effects of the law, is persuaded that something short of animus may have motivated DOMA’s passage:
Prejudice, we are beginning to understand, rises not from malice or hostile animus alone. It may result as well from insensitivity caused by simple want of careful, rational reflection or from some instinctive mechanism to guard against people who appear to be different in some respects from ourselves.
Board of Trustees of University of Alabama v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 374-75 (2001) (Kennedy, J., concurring)…
In this matter, the Court finds that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution by, without substantial justification or rational basis, refusing to recognize her lawful marriage to prevent provision of health insurance coverage to her spouse.
A federal court in the 1st District has made a similar ruling, which is now on appeal. This one will likely be appealed as well. At some point, the Supreme Court will have to take up the matter. And the judges are all smartly aiming their rulings right at Justice Kennedy. You can read the full ruling here.
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