HRC Blog

Another District Court Finds DOMA Unconstitutional

wedding ringsPost submitted by Brian Moulton, Former HRC Legal Director

Today, a Connecticut federal judge appointed by President George W. Bush became the latest to rule that Section Three of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act – which denies federal recognition and more than 1,100 rights and benefits to even lawfully married same-sex couples – is unconstitutional, according to BuzzFeed. This is the fifth district court to find DOMA unconstitutional, following similar decisions in Massachusetts, California, and New York.

The plaintiffs in this case are represented by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, which also brought the DOMA challenge, Gill v. OPM, that brought the first victory in a federal appeals court and has now been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  In this case, Judge Vanessa Bryant concluded that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more rigorous review – what courts call “heightened scrutiny” – but even under the most deferential standard “no conceivable rational basis exists” to deny recognition to lawfully married same-sex couples, and therefore DOMA violates the equal protection principles of the Fifth Amendment.

You can read the full opinion here

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