Legal News

Defense of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional by Massachusetts Court
Download PDF
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

On Thursday, a federal appeals court in Boston ruled that a United States law that defines marriage as between a woman and a man unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to same-sex couples legally married. The law was created in 1996 and is known as the Defense of Marriage Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit ruled by a vote of 3-0 that gay couples are discriminated against by the law. Gay marriage is legal in eight states and the District of Columbia.

“Congress’ denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest,” Judge Michael Boudin wrote.

  
What
Where


Joe Solmonese, the president of Human Rights Campaign, said, “For the first time, a federal appeals court has recognized that our Constitution will not tolerate a law that forces the federal government to deny lawfully married same-sex couples equal treatment. The writing is clearly on the wall for the demise of this unjust and indefensible law that hurts real families.”

The plaintiffs included seven same-sex married couples and three widowers. The plaintiffs claim that the law prohibits them from acquiring survivor benefits from the Social Security retirement program and prevents them from filing joint tax returns at the federal level. One of the plaintiff’s Bette Jo Green, has been married since 2004 to Jo Ann Whitehead.

“How thrilling it is for us to know that the court believes in protecting our right to Social Security benefits as with all the other married couples in the country,” Green said.

Get JD Journal in Your Mail

Subscribe to our FREE daily news alerts and get the latest updates on the most happening events in the legal, business, and celebrity world. You also get your daily dose of humor and entertainment!!




Mary Bonauto, from the group Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, said the following:

“We think this is a case that really could appeal to all members of the court because it is not only a double standard … this law is also a real outlier because it inserts Congress into an area that states govern,” Bonauto said.



In another case also being appealed, Martha Coakley, the Massachusetts Attorney General, said that the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution was violated when the law was passed. The law was defended by the lawyers of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2010, a federal judge from Massachusetts said that a major section of the law is unconstitutional and the appeals court followed suit.

“It is unconstitutional for the federal government to create a system of first- and second-class marriages,” Coakley said in a statement.

The president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, Kri Mineau, said the following: “For a Massachusetts-based court to just audaciously proclaim that the federal government is wrong and has to recognize a unique social experiment in Massachusetts for the purpose of providing benefits is bizarre and a violation of the principles of our federalist system.”



 

RELEVANT JOBS

Staff Attorney- Public Benefits

USA-CA-Bakersfield

Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc.  (GBLA), a non-profit law firm that provides free ci...

Apply now

Staff Attorney- Community Homeless Law Center

USA-CA-Bakersfield

Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc.  (GBLA), a non-profit law firm that provides free ci...

Apply now

Patent Attorney/Agent

USA-FL-Plantation Acres

Full-service intellectual property law firm in a great location near Miami and Fort Lauderdale is ac...

Apply now

Associate Attorney

USA-TX-San Antonio

The Amsberry Law Firm is a boutique law firm focused on representation in the areas of...

Apply now

BCG FEATURED JOB

Locations:

Keyword:



Search Now

Corporate/Transactional Attorney

USA-IA-Des Moines

Des Moines office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks corporate/transactional attorne...

Apply Now

Corporate Attorney / Counsel

USA-NY-New York City

New York City office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks corporate attorney with 5+ y...

Apply Now

Housing Finance Associate Attorney

USA-MN-Minneapolis

Minneapolis office of a BCG Attorney Search Top Ranked Law Firm seeks a housing finance associate at...

Apply Now

Most Popular

SEARCH IN ARCHIVE

To Top