Though the matter won’t be fully resolved until an inevitable Supreme Court case, for now, a federal appeals court this morning ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston issued the ruling in a unanimous, 3-0 decision. Of particular interest is the fact that two of the appeals court judges are Republican appointees – and the decision was written by Judge Mike Boudin, a traditional conservative appointed by George H.W. Bush, who was the deputy assistant Attorney General in the Reagan administration.
From today’s decision:
To conclude, many Americans believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and most Americans live in states where that is the law today. One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity of governance based on local choice, but this applies as well to the states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage. Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress’ denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest.
The full ruling is online here. The DOMA decision will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is widely expected to hear the case.