Monday, July 12, 2010

Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional?

Did you know that Massachusetts U.S. district court Judge Joseph Tauro ruled that parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are unconstitutional? Did you know that he also used conservative principles to do so?

Ready the mass panic and renunciation of their own "principled" beliefs by people on the right.

Tauro ruled that Section 3 of DOMA "interferes with the traditional state right to define marriage and forces the state to 'violate the equal protection rights of its citizens.'" This is because Section 3 denies federal benefits to all but heterosexual couples (since DOMA clearly defines marriage as between a man and a woman). So when a state, Massachusetts in this case, decides to allow same sex marriage, DOMA then stands in the way of those married couples receiving the same federal protection and benefits as straight married couples. That denial of rights violates the Fifth Amendment (equal protection) Tauro ruled.

Basically Tauro just delivered the smack down by arguing that the state has the right to define marriage and the federal government must respect that right. This is both a "state's rights" argument and a argument against "big government." (I wait to see if any Republican actually follows their principles logically and supports this.) Too bad the Justice Department is already planning on appealing the ruling. Can't have that authority ever challenged now can we?

You can read more about the details here (Tauro even says "irrational prejudice plainly never constitutes a legitimate government interest").

4 comments:

  1. Confusion: so, is he for or against gay marriage...?

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  2. Tauro is for it. (Or at least his ruling is. I have no idea what his personal opinions are.)

    The problem is that since the Defense of Marriage Act is a federal law that explicitly defines marriage as between a man and a woman, even when a state decides to recognize same-sex marriages they can only recieve state benefits/protections but not federal ones (because of that DOMA). Tauro is saying this forces the state to treat one set of married couples different from another and that violates the fifth amendments equal protection premise. Hope that was more clear.

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  3. Oooh. It's kind of a complicated arguement xD

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  4. Anything having to do with the constitution is complicated I've found lol. I could have probably explained it more clearly though. I especially love the fact state's rights and limited government are such strong Conservative ideas but are being used to defend same sex marriage (which is obviously not conservative). I like it when you can beat them at their own game.

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