A federal appeals court in New York became the nation's second to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, finding that the Clinton-era law's denial of federal benefits to married same-sex couples is unconstitutional.Emphasis mine.
...The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined Thursday that the federal law violates the Constitution's equal protection clause, ruling in favor of a widow named Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian who sued the federal government for charging her more than $363,000 in estate taxes after being denied the benefit of spousal deductions.
The case centered on the money Windsor wanted back, but raised the more looming question of whether the federal government can continue to ignore a state's recognition of her marriage and financially penalize her as a result.
For a very long time (8 years!), I have been writing that DOMA would be increasingly untenable as individual states began to recognize same-sex marriage, that the irony of the "states' rights" argument was that it would eventually be DOMA's undoing. (Ha. Good.) And now the falling of the dominoes is quickening.
Just this year:
* The US District Court for the Northern District of California rules that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal definition of marriage, is unconstitutional.
* The First US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston rules that DOMA unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples.
* The US District Court for Connecticut rules that Section 3 is unconstitutional.
Most of the "activist judges" who have ruled against the constitutionality of DOMA are Republican appointees. Game over.
Well, ideologically anyway. Decent people are in agreement that DOMA is indecent. All that remains is forging a new path to federal equality.
Let us hope that the Supreme Court, which will likely hear a DOMA case next year, does not stand in the way.