Appeals Court Ruling on DOMA is the “Tail Wagging the Dog”

Posted by Guest Writer on May 31, 2012 under Why | Be the First to Comment

Boston, MA—Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA defines marriage as one man and one woman for purposes of federal law and federal benefits, specifically joint federal tax returns, Social Security survivor benefits, and federal employee health insurance and medical benefits. Not at issue in this ruling are the other parts of DOMA, including the section that says states may define their own marriage policy and are not required to accept a sister state’s same-sex marriage.

“This ruling makes no sense. A state cannot dictate the kind of benefits the federal government must provide,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “If a state recognizes polygamy, does that mean that the federal government must also recognize multiple spouses? Absolutely not! This decision is the proverbial tail wagging the dog.”

The Obama Administration refused to defend DOMA, and the President has recently come out in support of same-sex marriage. “President Obama has been actively promoting an agenda to undermine the nation’s marriage laws. When you weaken the family, as President Obama is doing by his policies, you weaken society. Children fare best when raised with a mom and a dad. Redefining marriage to something it was not intended to be weakens the family and is not in the best interest of children or society,” said Mat Staver.

It is not over for DOMA. The Court of Appeals said that the Supreme Court would ultimately have to decide this case: “We have done our best to discern the direction of these precedents, but only the Supreme Court can finally decide this unique case.”

The case arose out of Massachusetts, which now recognizes same-sex marriage. Couples who obtained same-sex marriages filed a law suit seeking federal benefits. What does not make sense in this case is that this ruling essentially allows a state to tell the federal government what kind of benefits it should give, even when the state has a minority law not followed by the other states.

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