Yet Another Court Strikes Down DOMA
Via press release from GLAD:
Today, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional as a violation of equal protection guarantees. Her ruling comes with respect to claims brought by six married same-sex couples and one widower from the states of Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont who were denied federal tax, social security, pension and family medical leave protections only because they are (or were) married to someone of the same sex. Under the ruling, the plaintiffs’ marriages must be accorded the same federal protections and responsibilities as those of other married couples. The ruling by Judge Vanessa L. Bryant, an appointee of President George W. Bush, stems from the lawsuit Pedersen et al v. Office of Personnel Management et al, filed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in November 2010 in the Federal District Court in Connecticut.
“Section 3 of DOMA obligates the federal government to single out a certain category of marriages as excluded from federal recognition,” Judge Bryant wrote, “thereby resulting in an inconsistent distribution of federal marriage benefits as all marriages authorized by certain states will receive recognition and marital benefits, whereas only a portion of marriages authorized by other states will receive federal recognition and benefits.” “Judge Bryant’s ruling is very clear: married people are married and should be treated as such by the federal government. There is no legitimate basis for DOMA’s broad disrespect of the marriages of same-sex couples,” said Mary L. Bonauto, GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director. “We are very pleased that the Court recognized that DOMA’s creation of second-class marriages harms our clients who simply seek the same opportunities to care and provide for each other and for their children that other families enjoy.”