Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Federal Defense of Marriage Act DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional

Two separate cases decided by the 9th Circuit Court seen a precursor to judicial defeat of DOMA

To all of you people in Washington D.C.: Let's quit with the "it's an issue for the states to decide" rhetoric! Read the writing on the wall. Either Americans amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage, or we'll witness the dissolution of the foundation of society.

Read the details of the Marriage Amendment in Congress.

Tell your congressman to defend marriage!
Illinois residents, CLICK HERE to E-mail your congressman.

-- From "CA Judge Rules Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional" by Kathleen Gilbert, 2/10/09

Two judges in California's 9th Circuit Court have ruled in two separate cases that the same-sex "spouse" of federal employees must be granted the same health benefits as a heterosexual spouse, in spite of federal law to the contrary. One judge declared the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

Judge Stephen Reinhardt ruled last week that Tony Sears, who "married" deputy federal public defender Brad Levenson in July, was being unfairly and unconstitutionally discriminated against by current federal law, which does not recognize a homosexual partner as a claimant to spousal benefits.

The denial of such benefits "cannot be justified simply by a distaste for or disapproval of same-sex marriage or … to discourage exercising a legal right afforded them by the state," wrote Reinhardt, who ordered Sears to be enrolled in the federal spousal insurance program.

In another 9th Circuit decision last month, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski granted benefits to the same-sex "spouse" of a staff attorney for the court, but did not invoke the constitution.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed in 1996, states that marriage is recognized as only the union of one man and one woman for federal law purposes. It also says that states cannot be forced to recognize an out-of-state same-sex union. Reinhardt is the first U.S. judge to openly state that DOMA is unconstitutional.

-- From "Ninth Circuit Strikes Two Blows Against Defense of Marriage Act" by Pete Winn, Senior Writer/Editor 2/10/09

Attorneys on both sides of the same-sex marriage issue agree that two administrative rulings last week from different judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California were blows to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute in Sacramento, Calif., said both decisions are troubling because they ordered the federal government to cover the health benefits of the same-sex partners of two federal lawyers.

“These two judges took administrative actions that basically declared that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, and federal employees who have a partner are entitled to be able to receive benefits if they are in a state – like California – which recognizes homosexual marriage,” Dacus said.

New York Law School professor Arthur Leonard agreed, but added -- “I guess the significance is that it shows that a judge from the right and a judge from the left agree that DOMA raises serious constitutional questions.”

Dacus said defenders of traditional marriage believe the 9th Circuit rulings will inspire other judges to make similar decisions.

Without question, Dacus said, Congress will attempt to repeal DOMA.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.