DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional by 2nd Federal Judge

By Bob Egelko on SF

The government’s denial of all federal benefits to same-sex married couples is an irrational and unconstitutional act of discrimination, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, a step toward a likely Supreme Court test of the law known as the Defense of Marriage Act.

DOMA is based on unfounded assumptions about marriage and the suitability of gays and lesbians as parents and was enacted in 1996 by a Congress avid to show its disapproval of homosexuality, said U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco.

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Bill Passed to repeal DOMA

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. The Human Rights Campaign successfully delivered over 135 thousand petitions calling for this repeal. The bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California (D) fears that the bill will have no chance in the House that is controlled by Republican conservatives. Even with 31 Democratic Senate sponsors, there is Republican hindrance.

President Obama announced this past February that the law would no longer be defended by his administration. He stated recently that he supports “civil unions” but, what about “same-sex” marriages? This federal law has economically impacted all gay and lesbian couples around the nation, not giving them the same government privileges as heterosexual couples. There are currently six states which now recognize gay and lesbian marriages (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire) however, couples’ rights are still limited. They cannot file for joint federal tax returns, nor do they have spousal Social Security benefits. Also, couples are not a part of the Family and Medical Leave Law or protected from estate taxes if their partner dies.

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New cases challenge Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

Joanne Pedersen, left, and Ann Meitzen are planning to sue because federal law does not recognize their Connecticut marriage. Photo by Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

State and Federal laws often come into conflict, and gay marriage is a prime example of how confusing that confluence can be. Couples that are married in states where it is/was legal (5 states plus DC) may get all the state benefits to which they are entitled, but many benefits are given at the Federal level…which is where things get sticky…but not in a good way.

One big example of this is health insurance, which is a tough subject to tackle in itself. The New York Times reports on two cases where plaintiffs are suing the government in an effort to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples.

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DOJ compares same sex marriage to incest, Rachel Maddow comments

Another take on the disturbing brief that was issued by the US Department of Justice in support of DOMA. It compares same-sex marriage to ” marriages between cousins or an uncle and a niece” and that as a result, they do not have to be recognized.

Rachel Maddow commented on this in her show, and you can watch it here.

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Is the Obama administration abandoning it’s promises to LGBT Americans? (and immigrants, too)

Obama – Don't support the DOMA. Equality for queer people NOW


Backto reality. The comedown is here, personal and political, small scale and large scale. While we are still dealing with the shambles left behind of a fantastic Pride, we are also hearing about gay bashings of queer/trans people here in our fair city and community. And now this- it seems that the Obama administration may be […]

Rep. Barney Frank breaks it down

Logo news interviews prominent and openly gay Congressman Barney Frank about the current major political issues facing the LGBTQ community today. He keeps his comments quick, simple to the point and, for the most part, fairly positive.

He identifies 3 major steps forward he believes Obama can accomplish in his first term:

1 – A trans inclusive ENDA (Employee Non-Discrimination Act)

2 – A trans inclusive hate crimes bill

3 – Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

And while he was less sure about the timeline of a repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) he thinks the fight is coming and it is worth it. Best yet, he blatantly and loudly calls Justice Antonin Scalia a homophobe. Go Barney! (I love you…You love me…)

For the full video (which is actually only 3 minutes) click below

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