3 States to Feds: You Can't 'Unmarry' Gay Marriages

DOMA is gone, but fights over law's provisions continue
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2012 6:29 AM CDT
3 States to Feds: You Can't 'Unmarry' Gay Marriages
DOMA has been struck down, but legal wrangling continues over the law's most contentious provisions about federalism.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The Defense of Marriage Act was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge in February, but that ruling did not touch on the most controversial aspect of DOMA, the federalist test—that is, whether gay marriages have to be legally recognized in other states or by the federal government. With a federal appeals court expected to start hearing arguments on Sept. 27, three states that support gay marriage have filed amicus briefs saying that the federal government cannot "unmarry" anyone after a state has granted a marriage license, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

The specific case is over a $350,000 tax bill that feds say a lesbian widow owes, since DOMA states her marriage didn't really exist so she cannot claim a marital tax deduction.The White House announced last year it would stop defending DOMA, which led House Speaker John Boehner to create the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend the 1996 law. But even DOMA's author, former Rep. Bob Barr, says he no longer supports the law, saying its conception of federalism is unbalanced and offers only "one-way" protection. (Read more Defense of Marriage Act stories.)

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