Second Federal Judge Declares DOMA Unconstitutional
By Kirsten Ott Palladino
A second federal judge in California has struck down DOMA, which precludes gay couples from receiving federal marriage benefits.
According to the Associated Press, “U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken says the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act violated constitutional standards when it denied federal benefits to same-sex spouses married under California law and barred domestic partners of state workers from long-term health coverage.”
Wilken cited some of the deliberations Congress had in the run-up to passing DOMA, saying their congressional record showed “evidence of moral condemnation and social disapprobation of same-sex couples.”
“It wasn’t a revolutionary decision by any stretch,” says Brian Moulton, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, “but the fact we have yet another judge ruling on DOMA, it’s a constant drum beat at this point, and we’ll see what Supreme Court has to say about it. Sooner rather than later.”
A San Francisco judge also declared the federal law unconstitutional in February in a separate case. That ruling is currently under appeal and will go before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September.