New York’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled in the case of Windsor v. United States, which challenged section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. And as BuzzFeed’s Chris Geidner reports, for the second time a federal court has found the U.S. government’s exclusionary definition of “marriage” unconstitutional:
“[W]e conclude that Section 3 of the 5 Defense of Marriage Act violates equal protection and is 6 therefore unconstitutional,” the judges wrote.
Geidner notes that Supreme Court appeals are pending.
UPDATE: Metro Weekly has posted the court’s ruling and one judge’s dissent, along with some additional information about the current status of DOMA as it pertains to the Supreme Court:
Four DOMA challenges, including Windsor, have been petitioned for review by the Supreme Court, the ruling from conservative Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs is another win for marriage equality advocates and another loss for the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), created by House Republicans to defend DOMA in court.
UPDATE #2: ThinkProgress reports that the author of the majority opinion, Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs, is “severely conservative” with a long list of conservative decisions. Yet Jacobs, who was appointed by George H. W. Bush, not only concluded that DOMA was unconstitutional, but ruled that laws which discriminate against gay people should be subject to heightened scrutiny — the same standard of judicial review applied to laws that discriminate against women. This is a major milestone in the fight against DOMA as it’s the first time that a federal appellate court has ruled that government attempts to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation ought to be reviewed with this level of skepticism. And TP’s Ian Milheiser speculates:
If Jacobs’ reasoning is adopted by the Supreme Court, it will be a sweeping victory for gay rights, likely causing state discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to be virtually eliminated. And the fact that this decision came from such a conservative judge makes it all the more likely that DOMA will ultimately be struck down by the Supreme Court.
UPDATE #3: According to the Washington Blade, the House Republican leadership, which
heroically took up the defense of the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act after the Obama administration stopped defending it in court, has spent nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars ($1,447,996.73, to be exact) in their noble cause malicious effort to postpone the inevitable arrival of federal marriage equality for as long as possible.