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REAL WORLD EVENT DISCUSSIONS
Boston court: US gay marriage law unconstitutional
Thursday, May 31, 2012 4:28 AM
Quote:BOSTON (AP) - An appeals court ruled Thursday that a law that denies a host of federal benefits to gay married couples is unconstitutional.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, discriminates against gay couples.
The law was passed in 1996 at a time when it appeared Hawaii would legalize gay marriage. Since then, many states have instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, led by Massachusetts in 2004.
The appeals court agreed with a lower court judge who ruled in 2010 that the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns.
During arguments before the court last month, a lawyer for gay married couples said the law amounts to "across-the-board disrespect." The couples argued that the power to define and regulate marriage had been left to the states for more than 200 years before Congress passed DOMA.
An attorney defending the law argued that Congress had a rational basis for passing it in 1996, when opponents worried that states would be forced to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere. The group said Congress wanted to preserve a traditional and uniform definition of marriage and has the power to define terms used to federal statutes to distribute federal benefits.
Since DOMA was passed in 1996, many states have instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Washington state and the District of Columbia. Maryland and Washington's laws are not yet in effect and may be subject to referendums.
Last year, President Barack Obama announced the U.S. Department of Justice would no longer defend the constitutionality of the law. After that, House Speaker John Boehner convened the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend it.
Thursday, May 31, 2012 4:33 AM
Freedom is Important because People are Important
Thursday, May 31, 2012 4:43 AM
Gettin' old, but still a hippie at heart...
Thursday, May 31, 2012 4:45 AM
Quote:when opponents worried that states would be forced to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere.
Thursday, May 31, 2012 7:17 AM
Thursday, May 31, 2012 9:23 AM
Thursday, May 31, 2012 10:08 AM
Quote:This case does not address the issue of bans on same sex marriages. If the SCOTUS upholds the decision it will only mean that same sex couples that are married in states which allow it will be able to get the federal benefits other married couples get. It will not force states to recognize same sex marriages.
Friday, June 01, 2012 1:58 AM
"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." -- William Casey, Reagan's presidential campaign manager & CIA Director (from first staff meeting in 1981)
Friday, June 01, 2012 8:47 AM
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