Federal gay marriage ban is unconstitutional

In a ruling most interesting for its reasoning, the federal ban on gay marriage has been struck down.

The federal law banning gay marriage is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define the institution and therefore denies married gay couples some federal benefits, a federal judge ruled Thursday in Boston.

This ruling has both an upside and a downside and then another upside. The upside is that it says DOMA is crap. The downside is that it only really says marriage ought to be left up to the states, leaving in place all the bigot-based constitutional bans so many states have in place. But then on the other upside, this opens the door for a strong challenge using the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the constitution that says each state must respect the laws of other states. (The whole reason for DOMA was to circumvent this part of the constitution.)

I doubt many conservatives will see the legal validity in this ruling, instead ranting and raving based upon their bigotry, but this is the correct analysis. DOMA has always been an obvious violation of the constitution, no matter what one thinks about gay marriage.

But there’s a second, better ruling.

In a ruling in a separate case filed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, [Judge] Tauro ruled the act violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“Congress undertook this classification for the one purpose that lies entirely outside of legislative bounds, to disadvantage a group of which it disapproves. And such a classification the Constitution clearly will not permit,” Tauro wrote.

This ruling, while also correct, is the dicier of the two. Bigots will argue that homosexuality is a choice and an act which somehow magically harms society, therefore it is okay to classify those who engage in that life style. People on the right side of history will demolish that weak, weak, weak argument by pointing out that DOMA was classifying a group of people, not particular actions. As Tauro said, the constitution does not allow for any law to specify that any group of people be limited in their rights.

Now it’s time to wait until this gets appealed to the Supreme Court.

One Response

  1. The supreme court will most likely hold (even the liberals) that it is a states rights issue. On the one side it is an easier route to legalizing gay marriage on the other hand most states now have a ban passed by popular vote.

    Both sides of the court will flock to the same idea. I’d would expect two or more opinions however, which will muddy the waters as far as a precedent goes.

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