DOMA takes another hit

The Defense of Marriage Act was just dealt a major blow.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled on Thursday that the federal statute defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman unlawfully discriminates against same-sex married couples by denying them equal federal benefits.

As The New York Times points out, it is the second time a federal appeals court has ruled against DOMA.

But this decision on Thursday is the first time that an appeals court has subjected the law to a relatively tough test for constitutionality that, in effect, elevates issues of sexual orientation to the constitutional level of cases involving sexual discrimination.

Think Progress described the decision this way:

This is a really big deal. Jacobs is not simply saying that DOMA imposes unique and unconstitutional burdens on gay couples, he is saying that any attempt by government to discriminate against gay people must have an “exceedingly persuasive” justification. This is the same very skeptical standard afforded to laws that discriminate against women. 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.


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