Equality California Hails Historic Court Decision Striking Down Portion of DOMA

San Francisco – Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors issued the following statement hailing today’s historic ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro striking down Section 3 of the discriminatory federal policy known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Under the ruling, the plaintiffs are entitled to the same federal spousal benefits and protections as every other married couple.

“This is a great victory for same-sex couples and their families in California and across the nation who will gain access to the vital federal protections and freedoms afforded to married couples, should this groundbreaking decision be upheld.

“Given that part of the arguments in the Federal District Court case to overturn Prop. 8 are similar, we are hopeful for a favorable decision in California, affirming that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry is unconstitutional.”

The Massachusetts Attorney General  Martha Coakley had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004.

Tauro agreed, and said the act forces Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens.

“The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid,” Tauro wrote in his ruling.

Ruling in a separate case filed by Gays & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Tauro found that DOMA violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“We’ve maintained from the very beginning that there was absolutely no basis for this law treating one class of married Massachusetts couples different from everybody else and the court has recognized that,” said Gary Buseck, GLAD’s legal director.

Good news for equality. It would be great if Attorney General Holder were to decide not to appeal, but I’m not holding my breath.

  2 comments for “Equality California Hails Historic Court Decision Striking Down Portion of DOMA

  1. July 8, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Chris,
    Go you read your posts?
    In the 3rd paragraph you hope that Prop. 8 (Marriage shall be between a man and a woman)will be found unconstitutional.

    Then in paragraph 8:
    Judge Joseph Tauro rules that it’s the States province to legislate in Marriage issues, and that the U.S. Constitution gives no authority to Congress to legislate in these matters (marriage). Therefore Prop 8 can not be found unconstitutional.

    The Judge sites the Tenth Amendment.
    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

    • July 9, 2010 at 7:14 am

      Consistency. An interesting concept. Often elusive. Full disclosure: I’m not an attorney. I bet you’re not either since you can’t spell “cite” properly. Back to the point. In a comment you made on July 7 with regard to Obama Administration suing Arizona over the immigration law, you said, “Under the Supremacy Clause, everyone must follow federal law in the face of conflicting state law.” It can reasonably be argued (and apparently was argued successfully) that DOMA violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. The states can still regulate marriage — so long as everyone is treated equally.

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