Federal Court Rules DOMA Is Unconstitutional
US appeals court slams Defense of Marriage Act
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 31, 2012 9:39 AM CDT
A gay couple holds hands in San Francisco in this 2008 file photo.   (AP Photo/Darryl Bush, File)

(Newser) – A US appeals court today declared that the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married gay couples, a groundbreaking ruling all but certain to wind up before the Supreme Court. The unanimous ruling said the 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman discriminates against gay couples because it doesn't give them the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples. The three-judge panel of the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals wasn't asked to address whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry.

The panel also didn't rule on the law's other politically combustible provision, which said states without same-sex marriage cannot be forced to recognize gay unions performed in states where it's legal. The appeals court, the first federal appeals panel to deem the benefits section of the law unconstitutional, agreed with a lower-court judge who ruled in 2010 that DOMA 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.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 52 comments
XYandZ
May 31, 2012 11:49 PM CDT
Then it's unconstitutional to not me to have multiple-wives, to not be able to marry my hot cousin..government keeps pushing the gay lifestyle and yet it wonders why anti-gay has risen..
el_polacko
May 31, 2012 11:47 PM CDT
what do you think being 'married' is ? there's a whole slew of rights and responsibilities that are a part of legally registering as a couple. it's as much "all about the money" for straight people as it is for gay people. but it's also about things like making medical decisions for your spouse as well as inheritance and property rights.
Plato
May 31, 2012 12:17 PM CDT
Same sex couples are not satisfied that society will accept them as being married. Oh no, that is not enough, they want all the state, federal and private employer benefits that were put in place expressly for opposite sex couples. It is all about money, "gimmy me too !" I predict this issue will go to our Supreme Court, and I predict that our Supreme Court will rule that state, federal and private same sex marriage entitlements cannot be demanded by same sex couples. Remember, you heard it first from me.