Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional: Fed. Court

The country's largest consumer bankruptcy court has ruled that the federal law prohibiting same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

For background, read White House Torpedoed Marriage from Start

-- From "Bankruptcy court rules against gay-marriage ban" by Paul Elias, Associated Press 6/14/11

The Los Angeles-based federal court made the ruling Monday in the case of a gay couple seeking to file a joint bankruptcy petition. The couple wed during the 2008 window when same-sex marriage was briefly legal in California.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Donovan wrote Monday that the Defense of Marriage Act violates equal protection laws. He allowed the couple to file a joint petition.

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From "Bankruptcy Court declares Defense of Marriage Act invalid" posted at Los Angeles Times 6/14/11

The decision signed by 20 judges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California is the first bankruptcy court to address the constitutionality of the law passed by Congress 15 years ago which prohibits federal government recognition of same-sex marriage. The decision came in a case in which a legally married gay couple was seeking to jointly file for bankruptcy.

The ruling by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas A. Donovan in Los Angeles adds weight to decisions by a federal judge in Boston a year ago that the law amounts to discrimination against legally married gay couples and is therefore invalid.

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From "Bankruptcy Court Declares DOMA Unconstitutional" by Patrick Fitzgerald, Wall Street Journal 6/14/11

In their 24-page decision, the judges noted the joint bankruptcy filing will have “no effect on procreation” or “in any way harm any marriage of heterosexual persons.”

They also took Congress to task for having passed DOMA in the first place.

“Although individual members of Congress have every right to express their views and the views of their constituents with respect to their religious beliefs and principles and their personal standards of who may marry whom,” the decision said, “this court cannot conclude that Congress is entitled to solemnize such views in the laws of this nation in disregard of the views, legal status and living arrangements of a significant segment of our citizenry that includes the debtors in this case.”

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From "Bankruptcy judges refuse to dismiss case involving gay couple" by City News Service 6/14/11

The case involves Gene Balas and Carlos Morales, who were married legally in Southern California during the six months prior to the 2008 passage of Prop. 8, which banned same-sex marriages.

The couple filed for joint bankruptcy protection as a married couple in February, according to court documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in downtown Los Angeles.

The U.S. Trustee’s Office, an arm of the Justice Department that oversees bankruptcy cases, asked the court to dismiss the case based on the marriage act.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.