The victories keep stacking up in court. Today, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest court to rule that the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, this time in the case involving Edith “Edie” Windsor.
The Second Circuit determined that DOMA violates the equal-protection guarantee provided by the U.S. Constitution, and sided with Windsor, the 83-year-old widow who was forced to pay estate taxes after the 2009 death of her wife.
On July 16, Windsor petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her DOMA case, hoping to bypass the Second Circuit, but the appeals court reached a decision before the nation’s highest court decided whether to take on the case.
The Supreme Court has several other DOMA cases as well as California’s Proposition 8 to consider for review, but has yet to address that matter since the fall session opened Oct. 1. Many legal observers believe that the high court will not conference on the gay issues until after the Nov. 6 presidential election.
Meanwhile, today in New York, the DOMA defense continues to crumble in court. DOMA defines marriage as between a man and a woman and declares that states do not have to recognize same-sex marriages. Since the law was enacted during the Clinton era, marriage equality has spread to progressive states and the federal law clashes with state law over such issues as taxes and inheritance.
The Obama Administration and the Justice Department have determined that DOMA is unconstitutional and are refusing to defend the law in court, but House Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner are spending $1.5 million in taxpayer money to defend DOMA in court.
Read the full story on San Diego Gay & Lesbian News here.