Thursday, June 7, 2012

Another DOMA case

DOMA is the Defense of Marriage Act. Passed in 1996, before anyone even dreamed that gay couples could marry, its clause 3 forbids the Federal Government from recognizing legally married gay couples.  Which is why my marriage is non-existant to the Fed, leading to a pattern of insults large and small from taxes to customs to pensions. Our attorney and accountant make money of this. We are expected to lie to the IRS (it's the law) and we've been routinely insulted by customs agents.

In the latest case, legally married Edie Windsor protested the fact that the IRS charged her wife's estate over $300,000 dollars in estate taxes that would not have been charged had she been married to a man. Edie and Thea were together for 44 years.

The Federal District Court in NY found no reason why Edie's and Thea's marriage should be so disadvantaged or how this disadvantage would somehow promote straight couples marrying or bearing children.

That brings to 5 the cases that have found DOMA unconstitutional. The furthest along is in the 1st circuit (where the 1st circuit appeals court just found DOMA unconstitutional).  There are 3 cases in CA (on appeal to the 9th).  The current case, if appealed, will go to the second circuit.

This is headed to the Supreme Court, for sure.

More here.

Update:  From the decision.
These are interests in the choices that heterosexual couples make:  whether to get married, and whether and when to have children.  Yet DOMA has no direct impact on heterosexual couples at all;  therefore, its ability to deter those couples from having children outside of marriage, or to incentivize couples that are pregnant to get married, is remote at best.  It does not follow from the exclusion of one group from federal benefits (same sex married persons) that another group of people (opposite sex married couples ) will be incentivized to take any action , whether that is marriage or procreation. …the Court cannot see a link between DOMA and childrearing.  DOMA does not determine who may adopt and raise children  Nor could it, as these matters of family structure and relations "belong [] to the laws of the States and not to the laws of the United States." 
Or put another way, last night, BP and I found out the nice young couple next door is expecting a baby.  "Wow", I said, "They must not know we're married lesbians!"


Pfalz prophet said...

The Supreme Court is being challenged to show how any State interest is being advanced by DOMA. Where is the evidence that any straight marriage, current or future, is injured by extending the benefits of same to same-gender couples?

I worry that the presence of so many Roman Catholics on the Court will result in the thumb of dogma being placed on the scales of justice.

IT said...

Don't forget that the Roman Catholic laity is THE MOST supportive religious group re. marriage equality.

A little known fact: John Roberts, the Chief Justice, was on Our Side for Romer v. Evans. .

"John G. Roberts Jr. worked behind the scenes for gay rights activists, and his legal expertise helped them persuade the Supreme Court to issue a landmark 1996 ruling protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

Then a lawyer specializing in appellate work, the conservative Roberts helped represent the gay rights activists as part of his law firm's pro bono work. He did not write the legal briefs or argue the case before the high court, but he was instrumental in reviewing filings and preparing oral arguments, according to several lawyers intimately involved in the case."