Appellate Court Finds DOMA Unconstitutional
Today a unanimous U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Same-sex couples lawfully married under Massachusetts law had challenged their denial of federal benefits available to opposite-sex couples.
The appellate court found no legitimate federal interest in supporting DOMA and held denying federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married under state law is unconstitutional.
CREW applauds the First Circuit for issuing such a terrific decision. We are especially thrilled that court relied, in part, on an argument in CREW’s amicus brief among the reasons to strike down the statute. CREW had explained that DOMA’s definition of marriage would undermine a host of federal laws, including ethics laws, abuse reporting requirements in the military, anti-nepotism provisions, judicial recusals, prohibitions on bribing federal officials, and restrictions on receipt of gifts and travel reimbursements. The court cited this in footnote 8 of its opinion.
The next step, as the First Circuit recognized, is the Supreme Court. This well-reasoned, unanimous opinion, offers hope that this discriminatory law will finally be stricken from the books.