June 07, 2012

DOMA Falls Short Again

The District Court Judge in New York City became the third federal judge in recent weeks to strike down the 1996 federal law that barred legally married same-sex couples from obtaining any benefits available under federal law. U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones ruled on Wednesday that Congress in enacting the Defense of Marriage Act had no justifiable reason for disrupting the states’ power to decide who may marry. Lyle Denniston of SCOTUS Blog further explores this issue:
“This marked the first time that a federal judge was free, because of the lack of controlling precedent in the judge’s judicial region, to adopt a broad form of protection for gay rights. Some gay rights advocates … have wanted the courts to rule that gays and lesbians are a class of people entitled to special constitutional protection, so that any law limiting their rights would have to satisfy the strictest constitutional test — that is, 'strict scrutiny.' Laws that must meet that test seldom are upheld.”