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MA Challenges the Defense of Marriage Act

July 8, 2009

The state of Massachusetts is suing the federal government over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), alleging that, as the Wall Street Journal says,

The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act infringed on a state’s sovereign right to define marital status. The state wants a judge to rule that part of the act, known as DOMA, is unconstitutional.

As most know, the Justice Department very recently defended a challenge to DOMA, and Obama has said that he favors a legislative reversal of DOMA.  Ideally, yes, we would have Congress act to overturn the legalization of discrimination.  However, the reality is that I’m just as happy to take a court overturning the law.  There may be more backlash to “activist judges” (AKA judges doing their job), but I’d take the victory in court and I’m sure the people who are in married without the title and currently denied equal rights would too.  There wouldn’t be enough support for a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage, so while it might make for nasty political fight, it would ultimately work out.  Loving v. Virginia was a court decision that advanced the cause of equality and we all survived that.

If you disagree, go ahead and leave a comment.  I may very well be missing some unintended consequence of a court decision to dismiss part or all of DOMA.


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