The Defense of Marriage Act took another hit on Wednesday when a New York federal judge ruled it unconstitutional, this time because it interferes with the states' right to regulate marriage. It's the second victory for DOMA detractors over the last week.
Federal judge Barbara Jones ruled the case in favor of Edith Windsor, who was suing the United States to recover $353,053 in federal estate tax she wasn't allowed to claim because Windsor married her partner, Thea Spyer, who died in 2009, in Canada and their union wasn't legally recognized. Jones ordered the money be returned to Windsor.
In her decision, Jones writes that because DOMA has no effect on heterosexual couples, and "its ability to deter those couples from having children outside of marriage, or to incentize couples that are pregnant to get married, is remote, at best," so, "It does not follow that 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."
Last Thursday, a Federal Appeals court in Massachusetts ruled DOMA unconstitutional for denying federal benefits to same-sex couples. DOMA was ruled unconstitutional in February, too, for violating same-sex couples equal protection rights. Earlier in May, President Obama added repealing DOMA to his to-do list in a speech during a fundraiser.
You can read Judge Jones' decision in full here, thanks to the New York Daily News:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.