Defense of Marriage Act called unconstitutional in Boston
Panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals claims there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage
A federal appeals court in Boston ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional this week. The decision was the second federal appeals ruling this year to side with those who oppose marriage as between one man and one woman and seek to change the definition to include cohabiting homosexual or heterosexual partners, following a San Francisco court striking down a California voter initiative that rescinded a state constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
Civil-rights project director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Mary Bonauto, who has argued against DOMA in court on behalf of seven homosexual couples, said she believed the Supreme Court would uphold the First Circuit's ruling.
Both courts opined that neither the Federal Defense of Marriage Act nor California's Proposition 8 could be justified in light of what the Judges maintain are the penalties they impose on same-sex couples.Both cases raise issues many observers expect to be resolved ultimately by the Supreme Court.
A three-judge panel, two of which included appointees of Republican presidents, unanimously found the 1996 federal law, passed by bipartisan congressional majorities and signed by President Bill Clinton, shouldn't stand undertheir interpretation of Supreme Court precedents.
This only demonstrates that the issue of defending marriage as between one man and one woman is not a partisan issue. There are Republicans and Democrats who seek to redefine the word to mean something entirely different than a lifelong union between one man and one woman.
Judge Michael Boudin in writing for the three Judge Panel said that Supreme Court precedents limit government's power to take action against "historically disadvantaged or unpopular" groups. He would include homosexuals and lesbians in that category. Thus, he seeks to include those who engage in homosexual and lesbian sexual acts in a "protected class", right alongside of race or gender.
The 1996 law imposes "serious adverse consequences" on them, Boudin wrote, and the apparent justifications of the law-"defending and nurturing the institution of traditional, heterosexual marriage" and "traditional notions of morality," among others-were insufficient, Boudin said.
Under the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government affirms marriage as between one man and one woman.
Massachusetts is one of a half-dozen U.S. states that authorize homosexuals or lesbians to marry under State Law. Several gay couples and surviving partners challenged the federal law, alleging that it violates the constitutional principles of equal protection of the law and due process, as well as the state's authority over family law.
The Civil-rights project director of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Mary Bonauto, who has long argued against DOMA in court on behalf of seven homosexual couples, said she believed the Supreme Court would uphold the First Circuit's ruling.
"We think it is a case that could appeal to all members of the [Supreme] Court," she said. "This law is a real outlier because it inserts Congress into an area that states govern."
Bonauto said the DOMA case wasn't likely to cause the Supreme Court to address the question of whether there is a federal right to same-sex marriage. "I do think it will eventually get there. This is not that case," she said.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Same-sex marriage, Boston, Defense of Marriage Act, Mary Bonauto, gay, lesbian, homosexual,
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