Marriage Equality Victory: Federal Judge Rules DOMA Violates Constitution

July 8, 2010
A federal judge ruled today that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional on a number of fronts. U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro of Boston ruled that DOMA, signed into law by President Clinton, interferes with the right of states to define marriage and violates the Constitution's equal protection clause, The Associated Press reports.

"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.

Judge Tauro in Gill et al v. Office of Personnel Management et al, also concluded that the DOMA subverts the equal protection clause. Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) on behalf of seven married same-sex couples and three widowers lodged the lawsuit against the federal anti-gay marriage law.

In a press statement, Mary Bonauto (pictured), GLAD's Civil Rights Project Director, who argued the case, said, "I'm pleased that Judge Tauro recognized that married same-sex couples and surviving spouses have been seriously harmed by DOMA and that the plaintiffs deserve the same opportunities to care and provide for each other and for their children that other families enjoy. This ruling will make a real difference for countless families in Massachusetts."

GLAD notes that the federal government has 60 days to decide whether to appeal Tauro's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Judge Tauro's decision is available here.

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