U.S. ‘Defense of Marriage’ Act ruled unconstitutional

A U. Federal District court has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and that  a same-sex married couple is entitled to the same employment benefits as other married couples.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White was the first since the Obama administration announced a year ago that it would no longer defend a law it considers discriminatory….

Ironically, the plaintiff, Karen Golinski, is an attorney for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the extension of federal benefits to same-sex spouses and Golinski’s wife, Amy Cunninghis, had been repeatedly denied coverage since the couple married in 2008.

“The court finds that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law … without substantial justification or rational basis,” wrote White.

The judge was appointed by George W. Bush.

White’s ruling echoed that of a Massachusetts judge who in 2010 deemed parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, a case now on appeal before the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.

A Republican group had argued that the law protects “traditional” marriage.

In his 43-page ruling, White said “tradition alone” doesn’t justify legislation that targets a vulnerable social group. “The obligation of the court is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code,” White wrote.

The Republican congressional group can appeal, but any appeal

… would go through the 9th Circuit, where Chief Judge Alex Kozinski has already ruled in administrative orders that the federal government’s refusal to provide benefits to Golinski’s spouse violates her rights.

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