Breaking: Federal appeals court strikes down DOMA

posted at 10:41 am on May 31, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Can’t wait to see how this plays in November, along with Barack Obama’s flip-flop on gay marriage:

 An appeals court ruled Thursday that a law that denies a host of federal benefits to gay married couples is unconstitutional.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, discriminates against gay couples.

The law was passed in 1996 at a time when it appeared Hawaii would legalize gay marriage. Since then, many states have instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, led by Massachusetts in 2004.

Here’s the court decision, via ThinkProgress.  The court points out that, contra some hysteria among activists, DOMA does not invalidate marriages, but it gives states leeway to disregard marriages performed in other states, and puts the federal government in the position of denying the validity of such marriages — which the court found:

Its adverse consequences for such a choice are considerable. Notably, it prevents same-sex married couples from filing joint federal tax returns, which can lessen tax burdens, see 26 U.S.C. § 1(a)-(c), and prevents the surviving spouse of a same-sex marriage from collecting Social Security survivor benefits, e.g., 42 U.S.C. § 402(f), (i).  DOMA also leaves federal employees unable to share their health insurance and certain other medical benefits with same-sex spouses.

DOMA affects a thousand or more generic cross-references to marriage in myriad federal laws. In most cases, the changes operate to the disadvantage of same-sex married couples in the half dozen or so states that permit same-sex marriage. The number of couples thus affected is estimated at more than 100,000.3 Further, DOMA has potentially serious adverse consequences, hereafter described, for states that choose to legalize same-sex marriage.

The court also ruled that both precedent and equal-protection issues combine against DOMA:

Although our decision discusses equal protection and federalism concerns separately, it concludes that governing precedents under both heads combine–not to create some new category of “heightened scrutiny” for DOMA under a prescribed algorithm, but rather to require a closer than usual review based in part on discrepant impact among married couples and in part on the importance of state interests in regulating marriage.

The decision also includes a stay as the respondents plan an appeal to the Supreme Court.  On its face, it appears that the court supports the idea that states can define marriage any way they like, but that DOMA has so many implications for federal treatment of couples that would then discriminate between states that it can’t be constitutional.  Some libertarians and Tenth Amendment supporters disliked DOMA for federalist reasons anyway, so I’d expect a mixed reaction to this decision, tempered by knowledge that the Supreme Court will eventually decide this anyway.

Update: The Boston Globe clarifies an important point:

The court didn’t rule on the law’s other provision, which said states without same-sex marriage cannot be forced to recognize gay unions performed in other states.

This looks like a Solomon-like attempt at splitting the baby along federalist lines.  If I’m reading this correctly, the court is ruling that the federal government has to recognize marriages performed in states, including same-sex marriages, regardless of whether the couples’ marriage is recognized in the state in which they later reside.  However, the states don’t have to recognize the marriages, which may make for some confusion at tax time, but otherwise means that couples get non-discriminatory treatment within each level of government.  Perhaps that kind of compromise would carry the day at the Supreme Court as well.


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One thing I’ll say for Libfreeordie, she’s not one of those trolls who just tosses out a stupid comment and then disappears. She actually sticks around and tries to defend her positions.
 
UltimateBob on May 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM

rogerb on June 1, 2012 at 7:03 AM

It wasn’t always like that – it became that late in its life, concurrent with the widespread acceptance of sodomites.

Interesting connection, don’t you think? – splink on June 1, 2012 at 5:58 AM

Rome was always a cruel slave society. At it is zenith Romans had some acceptance of homosexuality. But then that goes contrary to your assertion that all societies thought of homosexuality as an abomination.

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 8:31 AM

Rome was always a cruel slave society. At it is zenith Romans had some acceptance of homosexuality. But then that goes contrary to your assertion that all societies thought of homosexuality as an abomination.

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 8:31 AM

.
How much acceptance is “some”?

The word was “civilizations”.

It was certainly accepted a little more than “some” in Sodom and Gomorrah. But I wouldn’t define those as civilizations.

I still stand by the premise/belief that all documented civilizations considered homosexuality to be an abomination.

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 8:43 AM

Yep, and slavery and a host of other things were approved of in the Bible that we now consider abominations. All societies have always found minorities that it disapproves of persecute.

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 5:18 AM

.
It wasn’t approved of by God.

All societies have people who look to increase their own sense of “status” by degrading others. Those kind of people are going to pick-on the most “different” other people they can to justify degrading them. If they try degrading other persons very much like themselves, it doesn’t work.

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 8:52 AM

It wasn’t always like that – it became that late in its life, concurrent with the widespread acceptance of sodomites.

Interesting connection, don’t you think?

splink on June 1, 2012 at 5:58 AM

In the later part of the empire Rome became Christian. Then in 390 Valentinian II outlawed homosexuality. Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410. Rome was sexually decadent at its zenith and it was during the decline that the government became focused on personal sexual behavior. Obviously, Rome had a lot of problems that led to its fall but acceptance of gays decreased rather than increased during its disintegration.

dedalus on June 1, 2012 at 9:23 AM

I believe what I said was, no society in history approved of what you would call “gay marriage.” It is also a fact that, except in utterly paganized societies, most men and women have detested or at least marginalized homosexuals, all down throughout history, even in non-Judeo-Christian influenced societies. Because it’s unnatural, and everyone – even sodomites – know it. – splink on June 1, 2012 at 9:16 AM

No you said the following:

It wasn’t always like that – it became that late in its life, concurrent with the widespread acceptance of sodomites.

Interesting connection, don’t you think? – splink on June 1, 2012 at 5:58 AM

dedalus is right in this statement:

In the later part of the empire Rome became Christian. Then in 390 Valentinian II outlawed homosexuality. Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410. Rome was sexually decadent at its zenith and it was during the decline that the government became focused on personal sexual behavior. Obviously, Rome had a lot of problems that led to its fall but acceptance of gays decreased rather than increased during its disintegration. – dedalus on June 1, 2012 at 9:23 AM

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Obviously, Rome had a lot of problems that led to its fall but acceptance of gays decreased rather than increased during its disintegration. – dedalus on June 1, 2012 at 9:23 AM
SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 9:52 AM

Well, people often quit smoking when they find out they have lung cancer.

Akzed on June 1, 2012 at 11:09 AM

All societies have always found minorities that it disapproves of persecute. – SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 5:18 AM

Yes, and you are contributing to it. – blink on June 1, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Blink would you care to elaborate on this?

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 12:05 PM

dedalus on June 1, 2012 at 9:23 AM

.
SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 9:52 AM

.
A contrary conclusion:

. . . . . . the Roman ruling class saw the decline coming, and realized (too late) that all of the hedonistic behavior (including homosexuality) was causing the decline, and in a frenzied panic was trying desperately to put a halt to it all.

.
That conclusion has no less validity or historic proof than yours.

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Because of your refusal to support True Marriage Equality.

You’re contributing to the discrimination being perpetrated on minorities, and you have nothing buy silly, social-stigma based excuses for doing so. – blink on June 1, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Even though I am gay and have in past taken the position that full marriage equality is not necessary, doesn’t mean that I would not support it if I could vote for it. I have always prayed that my nieces and nephews would not go through the torment that I went through in being gay. I am sixty years old. I tried to pray the gay away until I was 55. I remained reclusive, silent, anxious, depressed, celibate and sometimes suicidal. Five years ago I had a major bout of depression and almost took my own life. I played Russian roulette for around five days. When I was released from the mental hospital. I picked up the phone and began calling friends and family telling them that I was gay. I’ve had no regrets about finally trying to come to terms with my homosexuality. I just wish I had come out decades ago. I feel that I missed out on a lot what life has to offer in the way of happiness. If there was only a time machine.

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 3:20 PM

That conclusion has no less validity or historic proof than yours. – listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Simply stated, no one knows what caused the final collapse of the Roman Empire. I certainly don’t think that the adoption of Christianity was the cause. But no one can deny that Christians have since the time of the Roman Empire have been persecuting people with same sex attraction and until the end of the 19th century supported slavery. And, then of course you had the Protestant Reformation that exposed much of the corruption within the Catholic Church at that time and has produced a schism ever since.

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 3:35 PM

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 3:35 PM

You’re going to have to define “persecution”, then.

The Bible defines sodomy as abnormal/wrong.
If Christian believers were shunning homosexuals, then I would say that they are fulfilling New Testament instruction.

But if they’re hunting them down to torture or lynch them (or both), then that’s a different situation entirely.

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 5:42 PM

You’re going to have to define “persecution”, then.

The Bible defines sodomy as abnormal/wrong.
If Christian believers were shunning homosexuals, then I would say that they are fulfilling New Testament instruction.

But if they’re hunting them down to torture or lynch them (or both), then that’s a different situation entirely. – listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 5:42 PM

You really don’t get it. How sad.

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 6:36 PM

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 5:42 PM

.
You really don’t get it. How sad.

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 6:36 PM

.
That’s why I have you . . . . . . except you’re not doing your job.

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 6:55 PM

That’s why I have you . . . . . . except you’re not doing your job. – listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 6:55 PM

My job? If you could only walk in my shoes for the last sixty years to see what I have been through. But there is no kind of machine to make that happen either. When the Christian Roman emperor outlawed homosexual acts people were sentenced to death. This kind of punishment I believe only stopped in the late 1700s. As late as the early 1970s gays were barred from regular Civil Service jobs. In California there was a ballot referendum to ban gays and lesbians from being public school teachers or those who supported gay rights. Ronald Reagan opposed the referendum. If he had not, it would have probably have passed. In 1969, in liberal New York the police held a raid on a gay bar in Stonewall to round up some gays and take them back to the police station for arrest. Such arrests occurred on a regular basis …………… where were all the Christians as these events happened? My guess is they approved all this persecution because of their Bible told them so.

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 10:26 PM

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 10:26 PM

.
‘Charlie, I’m guilty (as much as it can be called “guilt”) of believing that homosexuality should stay “in the closet”, and that practitioners should keep all these activities clandestine.
It should not be openly accepted as a legitimate alternate “normality”.

But as long as sodomy practitioners are discreet, they shouldn’t be “hunted down” or “ferreted out” either.

listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM

SC.Charlie on June 1, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Hello SC. I’ve read your 6/1/12 3:20 PM and 10:25 PM comments. I’m sorry that
you have suffered so much. It seems that you haven’t met any loving Christians in all of this time and that is sad. I’m hoping that those Christians that have posted on this thread will pray for you as I have been doing since I first read your comments.

And yes there is a time machine.

God Bless….

bluefox on June 2, 2012 at 12:25 AM

‘Charlie, I’m guilty (as much as it can be called “guilt”) of believing that homosexuality should stay “in the closet”, and that practitioners should keep all these activities clandestine.
It should not be openly accepted as a legitimate alternate “normality”.

But as long as sodomy practitioners are discreet, they shouldn’t be “hunted down” or “ferreted out” either. – listens2glenn on June 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM

You do recognize that precise attitude led to my situation of feelings of guilt, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, reclusiveness and then a bout of truly major depression five years ago.

Yes, five years ago this week, I played Russian roulette for around five days, before being committed to a mental hospital on June 7, 2007 and finally coming out to my family and friends. Yes, I cheated, but in the condition that I was in at the time, I can’t understand how I did not fail in pulling the trigger on a loaded chamber of that revolver. And, I have no idea how many times I pulled the trigger of that weapon. I am soon to turn 61. I don’t want any young gay teenager to have to live the life such as I felt I had to live.

To be told that that same-sex attraction is a sin or defect and to be told to remain celibate or just discrete and silent just for the comfort of other people’s sensibilities is not want I think God intended for people such as myself.

SC.Charlie on June 2, 2012 at 5:07 AM

Der lord, the gay heathens are surely taking over the world. It must be the apocolypse. Now, where did i put my ammo and survival seeds?

greataunty on June 2, 2012 at 6:24 AM

SC.Charlie on June 2, 2012 at 5:07 AM

.
‘Charlie, I genuinely appreciate your honesty and being unabashedly up front about this.
These kind of conversations generally end in a very “uncivil” manner. You have been anything BUT uncivil from the start.

I’m left with the following (awkward) question:

Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

You don’t need to go to Church for that, and you don’t even have to go to Church afterward, either.

I’ll leave it there.

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 12:11 PM

listens2glenn. I call myself a Christian and attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. But, I believe that the Bible is written by man and do not believe in many of the myths in the Bible. The miracle of life itself proves to me that God exists. Are you familiar with Jefferson’s Bible?

SC.Charlie on June 2, 2012 at 12:58 PM

listens2glenn. I call myself a Christian and attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. But, I believe that the Bible is written by man and do not believe in many of the myths in the Bible. The miracle of life itself proves to me that God exists. Are you familiar with Jefferson’s Bible?

SC.Charlie
on June 2, 2012 at 12:58 PM

.
Trying to hurry, because we’re about to lose this thread to the Archives.

If anything in the Bible is a myth, then the whole thing can’t be trusted.
Either the “mortal” writers of the scriptures were led by the Holy Spirit without error, or Christianity can be thrown out the window. There’s no use calling yourself a Christian if the Bible’s not true.
Jesus didn’t come to teach us “how to behave towards other people”, he came to restore the relationship man had with God, before Adam blew it.
Christianity is an individual, personal relationship, between God and each individual believer.
It’s not sufficient/good-enough just to “believe in God” (that he exists). Satan and his fallen angels believe in God, and they shudder. Because they knew Him who promised them an eternal “lake of fire”. They know they can bank on it.
They know they can never have a restored relationship with Him.
But thanks to Jesus, WE CAN.
Trying to follow Jesus’ teachings without knowing Him will only bring enormous frustration.

In closing, I honestly haven’t read Jefferson’s Bible.
I don’t know what that makes me (or doesn’t make me), but it’s the honest truth, for now.

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 2:48 PM

If anything in the Bible is a myth, then the whole thing can’t be trusted.
Either the “mortal” writers of the scriptures were led by the Holy Spirit without error, or Christianity can be thrown out the window. – listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Well then using your criteria the entire Bible needs to be thrown out. But, I don’t think it should be.

SC.Charlie on June 2, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Well then using your criteria the entire Bible needs to be thrown out. But, I don’t think it should be.

SC.Charlie on June 2, 2012 at 4:53 PM

.
I don’t believe it should be thrown out, either.

But I believe it’s all true AND doesn’t contradict itself.

Also, I know Jesus. You can too, but I can’t “make you”.

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 6:50 PM

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Appreciate your words of encouragement and testimony to the Truth of the Gospel.

bluefox on June 2, 2012 at 11:14 PM

SC.Charlie on June 2, 2012 at 4:53 PM

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. Jn 14:1

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Jn 14:6

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Eph. 2:8

Not of works, lest any man should boast. Eph. 2:9

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Rom. 5:8

Sirs, what must I do to be saved? Acts 16:30 a

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Rom. 10:9

For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom. 10:10

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. II Cor. 5:20

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. I Tim. 2:4

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; I Tim. 2:5

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. I Tim. 2:6

bluefox on June 2, 2012 at 11:24 PM

In case anyone needs a good online Bible Atlas:

http://bibleatlas.org/

This was on rightscoop 4/3/12 Great site

bluefox on June 2, 2012 at 11:33 PM

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 6:50 PM

.
Appreciate your words of encouragement and testimony to the Truth of the Gospel.

bluefox on June 2, 2012 at 11:14 PM

.
SHHHHHHHHHHH . . . . . . . . .

Do you want everyone to hear you ? !
I’ll be PERSECUTED ! ! ! Wait a minute . . . we’re already getting that.
.
In that case, same to you, bluefox. : )
.
JESUS IS LORD

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 11:43 PM

In case anyone needs a good online Bible Atlas:

http://bibleatlas.org/

This was on rightscoop 4/3/12 Great site

bluefox on June 2, 2012 at 11:33 PM

.
Wonderful site. It’s come in handy more than once during some of these “God related” threads.

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 11:50 PM

listens2glenn on June 2, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Oh, oops. Too late for that:-) The way I look at “God related” discussions is when a door is opened, go on in. One never knows what can be helpful or what fruit it will bear. Planting seeds and watering is needed before He can bring the increase.

Thanks and yes Jesus is Lord indeed.

P.S. That Bible Atlas site is the most comprehensive I’ve come acrossed. The Maps are interesting also.

bluefox on June 3, 2012 at 12:44 AM

P.S. That Bible Atlas site is the most comprehensive I’ve come acrossed. The Maps are interesting also.

bluefox on June 3, 2012 at 12:44 AM

.
I never thought to look for maps there; since you mentioned it, I will now.

listens2glenn on June 3, 2012 at 1:00 AM

listens2glenn on June 3, 2012 at 1:00 AM

I was off reading:-) I haven’t seen all that the Bible Atlas contains yet, but did see the maps.

bluefox on June 3, 2012 at 2:14 AM

listens2glenn on June 3, 2012 at 1:00 AM

.
I was off reading:-) I haven’t seen all that the Bible Atlas contains yet, but did see the maps.

bluefox on June 3, 2012 at 2:14 AM

.
I first came upon it looking for an online concordance.

I remember a number of quotes from the Bible, but can’t remember chapter# and verse#.

Since then I’ve used it quite a bit, and it’s GREAT for that. : )

listens2glenn on June 3, 2012 at 12:23 PM

bluefox on June 3, 2012 at 2:14 AM
.
I first came upon it looking for an online concordance.

I remember a number of quotes from the Bible, but can’t remember chapter# and verse#.

Since then I’ve used it quite a bit, and it’s GREAT for that. : )

listens2glenn on June 3, 2012 at 12:23 PM

You were right, this thread went to the archives. I found it at Rightscoop.(the Bible Atlas) They have a nice group over there. Seems to be a lot of Christians among the posters. I’ve been thinking about registering, but just haven’t done it yet.

I’ve never tried to memorize chapter and verse. And I have a very hard time using anyone’s Bible except mine. I “see” and know where most all scriptures are. But when I want to post scripture, I find them in my Bible first, then use the Atlas and copy and paste to Notepad. Of course I have a Concordance(Strong’s) I’m KJV only:-)

Well, off to see what is on HA now. I’ve been burning pictures to CD’s today and other PC related tasks:-)

bluefox on June 3, 2012 at 8:08 PM

bluefox on June 3, 2012 at 8:08 PM

.
I checked in to see if ‘Charlie came back.

Well, there will be other threads.

listens2glenn on June 4, 2012 at 11:42 AM

bluefox on June 3, 2012 at 8:08 PM

.
I checked in to see if ‘Charlie came back.

Well, there will be other threads.

listens2glenn on June 4, 2012 at 11:42 AM

Hopefully he will consider the Scriptures and take our words to heart in the spirit they were given. Not as criticism toward him, since all mankind are sinners and are in need of the Saviour. Many times just reading the Scriptures with a sincere intent to find answers is very helpful.

Yes there will be other threads…..

bluefox on June 4, 2012 at 8:03 PM

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