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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…Surprise!

KOOLAID2 on May 31, 2012 at 10:43 AM

….because we’re not broke enough.

Deafdog on May 31, 2012 at 10:44 AM

…States rights!…what’s that?

KOOLAID2 on May 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM

If Obama wins a second term and gets more liberals on the court, gay marriage will eventually be imposed on the American people. As a Christian, I have to say that spitting in God’s face is never a good idea.

Gladtobehere on May 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Would that be the Boston in Massachusetts where the Democrat House and Senate illegally left the one man/one woman referendum off the ballot?

Little Boomer on May 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Since then, many states have instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, led by Massachusetts in 2004.

Interesting that they numerate the number of states that have legalized it, but leave vague the number that have banned it(about 30, I believe).

MadisonConservative on May 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Will we ever be rid of the constant parade of plagues and grotesqueries that come from California and Massachusetts?

lm10001 on May 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM

So I guess DOMA will be the controversial issue for the media to focus on next week, all week, as more doomsday economic news trickles out quietly in the background.

Super! :-(

Punchenko on May 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM

I think there is a good chance that the SCOTUS will strike down DOMA in a 5-4 decision by Justice Kennedy.

McDuck on May 31, 2012 at 10:47 AM

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”

Samuel Adams

Polarbearpapa on May 31, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Legal folks — help me out.

Is it unconstitutional because gay marriage is “good”

or is it unconstitutional because gay marriage is already ‘legal’ according to other states?

because if it’s the first one, how do they not justify the same argument backing up polygamy and incest?

if it’s the second one, then why wouldn’t some southern states’ “ban” on gay marriage be just as important as a “legal” status in some northeastern state?

very confused as to why/what is going on…

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Yep.. marriage should have no definition at all. It can be anything for anyone. Who are we to judge. If you want to marry your sister, your mom or 16 of your neighbors and their dog, their car and your couch.. who are we to judge. No definitions for anything or anyone.

JellyToast on May 31, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Good. Let it go to the SCOTUS. If this is upheld and DOMA squashed, it opens the door to a constitutional amendment that would be ratified by 40 states in a heartbeat. If it is overturned then justice is done. Any way you look at it, Obama loses.

Excellent.

spiritof61 on May 31, 2012 at 10:51 AM

If a ruling clarifies that a state can recognize/perform certain marriage decided upon by the voters, but all legal rights must be granted, fine. If a gay couple goes to NY to be married, but lives in PA where it’s not recognized, they should then have access to a domestic partnership/civil union that grants them recognized legalities.

If that’s not good enough, and they continue down the Prop 8 “civil unions label creates a distress of mental health” path, then let ‘em get crushed at the ballot box, time and again.

budfox on May 31, 2012 at 10:52 AM

And BOOM goes the dynamite. On it’s way to a gay rights friendly SC (thanks, Kennedy). 50 states or bust, baby!

inthemiddle on May 31, 2012 at 10:53 AM

So apparently, if one state legalizes marriage between a man and his dog, it has to be recognized by all states? Stupid.

mouell on May 31, 2012 at 10:53 AM

I was thinking, if I expanded my marriage to include my cat and dog, I could increase the number of dependents I have for tax purposes. This might be good.
Don’t judge! I hate bigots!

JellyToast on May 31, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Love, exciting and new
Come Aboard. We’re expecting you.
Love, life’s sweetest reward.
Let it flow, it floats back to you.
The Love Boat soon will be making another run
The Love Boat promises something for everyone
Set a course for adventure,
Your mind on a new romance.
Love won’t hurt anymore
It’s an open smile on a friendly shore.
Yes LOVE! It’s LOVE!

GhoulAid on May 31, 2012 at 10:54 AM

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”

Samuel Adams

Polarbearpapa on May 31, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Great words from a wise man, and his Boston Lager is pretty good, too!

AubieJon on May 31, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Bubbas bill

cmsinaz on May 31, 2012 at 10:54 AM

And BOOM goes the dynamite. On it’s way to a gay rights friendly SC (thanks, Kennedy). 50 states or bust, baby!

inthemiddle on May 31, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Apparently you can’t read.

darwin on May 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Good. Let it go to the SCOTUS. If this is upheld and DOMA squashed, it opens the door to a constitutional amendment that would be ratified by 40 states in a heartbeat. If it is overturned then justice is done. Any way you look at it, Obama loses.

Excellent.

spiritof61 on May 31, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Provided the Republican Party has the political cojones to move forward with one.

Rixon on May 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Yeah, that whole 14th amendment thing really sucks, huh?

This is why government should not be in the marriage business at all.

I find it ironic that a judge will point out that DOMA violates the equal protection clause and cites taxes as an example, but yet they would never rule that the tax structure itself violates the equal protection clause.

Funny that.

ButterflyDragon on May 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM

it opens the door to a constitutional amendment that would be ratified by 40 states in a heartbeat. If it is overturned then justice is done. Any way you look at it, Obama loses.

spiritof61 on May 31, 2012 at 10:51 AM

This.

If the progressive homosexual activists want to play the all or nothing game, we should oblige them.

Rebar on May 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Polygamy, incest, and all sorts of communal marriages on the way. It’s all Equal Protection. Singles are also entitled to the same Equal Protection when it comes to the value of any benefits of any members of a couple/incestual group/commune receive and will also be able to line up for adoptions getting equal standing.

ANother tradition and cornerstone of Western civilization gone down the cr@pper. These idiots should be proud. They will be recorded long into the future for their stupidity and destruction of society.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM

If Obama wins a second term and gets more liberals on the court, gay marriage will eventually be imposed on the American people. As a Christian, I have to say that spitting in God’s face is never a good idea.

Gladtobehere on May 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Curious.

I’m a Christian, and I’ve got no problem with gay marriage. In fact, I can’t fathom why so many other followers of Christ feel it’s perfectly fine to discriminate against homosexuals.

But then again, I’m not teaching toddlers anti-gay songs or what not.

Vyce on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

On its face, it appears that the court supports the idea that states can define marriage any way they like.

If the issue is whether “same-sex spouse” is a nonsense phrase or not, just the quotes you provided settle that. Marriage, spouse, marriage, joint-returns — “disadvantage of same-sex married couples” — none of that language suggests the author believes the definition is arbitrary. More, sounds like the author has a pretty good working definition going.

Not even a “so-called” (or something like it) in there.

The equal-protection argument alone says everything. Some married couples are treated differently than others … married couples.

Axe on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 10:49 AM

The constitutional argument is from the “Full Faith and Credit” clause–a state must recognize the legal acts of other states. One of the bedrock arguments used to enforce Fugitive Slave Laws, by the way.

The Founding Fathers never expected a few states to enact outrageous and absurd laws and have them by virtue of the FFC Clause extended to the entire Union. One of the few weaknesses of the Constitution as written. But Madison et al. never reckoned on the Democratic Party.

spiritof61 on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Notably, it prevents same-sex married couples from filing joint federal tax returns, which can lessen tax burdens

Why would anyone want to take the unpatriotic and selfish step of lessening his tax burden? Why do gays hate poor people?

/Joe Biden

mankai on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Is the judge gay?

slickwillie2001 on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

it’s all about the money. That’s all that it has ever been about. It’s not about a relationship, or denying someone a right, it’s merely about money.

ted c on May 31, 2012 at 10:58 AM

ButterflyDragon on May 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM

It just takes one person out of 300 odd million people to be recognized as an aggrieved party by some lower court lefty judge and then it becomes precedent, which leads directly to legislating from the bench.

It took 100 years to get to where we are now. 2012 is just the beginning of a VERY long road back to sanity and constitutionalism.

Rixon on May 31, 2012 at 10:59 AM

The constitutional argument is from the “Full Faith and Credit” clause–a state must recognize the legal acts of other states. One of the bedrock arguments used to enforce Fugitive Slave Laws, by the way.

There’s a second part to that:

And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

which our courts never seem to have read. I guess they don’t include this piece in the Ivy League’s version of the Constitution.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 31, 2012 at 10:59 AM

“Here’s the court decision, via ThinkProgress.”

ThinkProgress?

There goes the neighborhood.

locomotivebreath1901 on May 31, 2012 at 11:00 AM

So the federal government shouldn’t define marriage. That’s what this ruling is basically saying.

I can definitely live with less federal intrusion in our lives.

cpaulus on May 31, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Is this really a surprise?

Once the Justice Department (Ha!) said they wouldn’t defend DOMA in court it was only a matter of time.

Mitoch55 on May 31, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Vyce on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

i wonder how you would feel about sharia law in the u.s.? hmmmmm?

GhoulAid on May 31, 2012 at 11:02 AM

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.

It’s all about the bennies folks. Always follow the money in politics.

DanMan on May 31, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Yep.. marriage should have no definition at all. It can be anything for anyone. Who are we to judge. If you want to marry your sister, your mom or 16 of your neighbors and their dog, their car and your couch.. who are we to judge. No definitions for anything or anyone.

JellyToast on May 31, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Right, and no age stipulations either. Do you want us to become Sodom or Gommorah?

I trust you forgot the sarcasm note???

stenwin77 on May 31, 2012 at 11:02 AM

it’s all about the money. That’s all that it has ever been about. It’s not about a relationship, or denying someone a right, it’s merely about money.

ted c on May 31, 2012 at 10:58 AM

It’s also about suing people.

Rebar on May 31, 2012 at 11:03 AM

The federal government has no business deciding what is marriage anyway. Restructuring the federal tax forms and calcs to make tax rates marital status neutral would take about a half an hour (three weeks on government time), and would be much simpler than the gordian knot they are creating.

Vashta.Nerada on May 31, 2012 at 11:03 AM

The constitutional argument is from the “Full Faith and Credit” clause–a state must recognize the legal acts of other states. One of the bedrock arguments used to enforce Fugitive Slave Laws, by the way.

The Founding Fathers never expected a few states to enact outrageous and absurd laws and have them by virtue of the FFC Clause extended to the entire Union. One of the few weaknesses of the Constitution as written. But Madison et al. never reckoned on the Democratic Party.

spiritof61 on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Thanks.

SEcond question: why is this only a deal with gay marriage?

I’m sure places like Texas or Mississippi have wide open laws that pretty much let you hunt and fish as you like. West Virginia, etc.

Wouldn’t those laws conflict with all sorts of over-regulation with the extreme side of wildlife protection, like the endangered species list (where animals never go off, even if there are 1 million of them)?

So why don’t hunters sue in court to end the endangered species list?

Another example: guns. Why can’t Florida sue to force the other states to recognize stand your ground, when Florida residents travel abroad?

Yet another example: capital punishment.

I just don’t get how *THIS TIME ONLY* having different state laws is the end of civilization.

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 11:03 AM

10,000 comments or bust.

Jeddite on May 31, 2012 at 11:04 AM

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.

If a state describes a marriage as “legal”, as Massachusetts does for homosexual marriages and Arizona and Utah once did for plural marriages, then how can the federal government deny benefits defined in the law as marriage- based?

Either the federal laws at issue need to change away from a marriage based definition, state laws need to change so as to conform to one spouse heterosexual definition of marriage across all states, federal law (DOMA) needs to be made Constitutional be way of amendment, or we will have to get used to a national same-sex marriage standard.

MTF on May 31, 2012 at 11:04 AM

it’s all about the money. That’s all that it has ever been about. It’s not about a relationship, or denying someone a right, it’s merely about money.

ted c on May 31, 2012 at 10:58 AM

well, it’s also all about getting ‘revenge’ on those meanie Christians that teased you as a child and have this uncomfortable bible that mentions that your sexual activity is what they call “wrong”.

99% of the committed ‘activists’ for this hate hate HATE the Church. like a jealous ex boyfriend hate.

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Vyce on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

I’m not sure what Bible you’re reading. It says Jesus ate with sinners, so there were probably homosexuals in the mix. Okay. He didn’t shun them. But nowhere in the Bible will you find it said that we should legitimize the homosexual lifestyle. We find exactly the opposite.

AubieJon on May 31, 2012 at 11:05 AM

My son this thing with a blade and those little sharp teeth is feeling left out and wants to be treated equally. He wants to hit those nails so henceforth he must be used same as a hammer. Therefore when you build your house a saw must be called, and used, same as a hammer. By the way no Big Gulps or 32 oz. sugary sodas are allowed on the job or in your hew house.

Herb on May 31, 2012 at 11:05 AM

gay marriage

Oxymoron?

faraway on May 31, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Is the judge gay?

slickwillie2001 on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

we should ask this every time.

i had no idea the judge that overturned prop 8 in california was guy, WITH A “PARTNER” NO LESS, and yes that absolutely does matter. he should have recused himself.

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 11:06 AM

So basically, the court determined that a new “heightened” standard was needed beyond the three standards that have been used for years. Suprise, suprise. Because constitutional questions that do not involve a supsect class only have to be rational, the Court had to find a way to make it irrational. However, the Court has stated time and time again, that the legislature could have based the law on any reason that is rationally based- even those that it did not actually consider when passing the law. In short, this is judicial activisim.

the dude abides on May 31, 2012 at 11:07 AM

thanks for that link Rebar. Very ominous.

ted c on May 31, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Would that be the Boston in Massachusetts where the Democrat House and Senate illegally left the one man/one woman referendum off the ballot?

Little Boomer on May 31, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Yes (and we haven’t forgotten)

catquilt on May 31, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Curious.

I’m a Christian, and I’ve got no problem with gay marriage. In fact, I can’t fathom why so many other followers of Christ feel it’s perfectly fine to discriminate against homosexuals.

But then again, I’m not teaching toddlers anti-gay songs or what not.

Vyce on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

I don’t know any Christians that think its okay to discriminate against gays. Maybe the odd pastor you read about on the Internet, but nobody in real life thinks its okay to discriminate.

Unless you mean “won’t marry whoever wants to marry in their church sanctuary” = “discrimination”

In that case, preventing a father and daughter from marrying is also “discrimination”

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Oh my god! People are gonna be marrying DOGS next! What is this immoral, un-christian country coming to!

*rolls eyes*

Good, hope it gets struck down in the Supreme Court. The federal government shouldn’t have any say in who does and doesn’t get married.

Cyhort on May 31, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Cant have utopia without the absolute destruction of the family.

tom daschle concerned on May 31, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Good.

DOMA is unconstitutional, violating and attempting to change the full faith and credit clause of Article IV, Section 1.

Dante on May 31, 2012 at 11:11 AM

So I guess this means my conceal and carry permit from Tennessee is good for Illinois and Chicago, right? I mean gun rights is ACTUALLY in the Constitution…

melle1228 on May 31, 2012 at 11:11 AM

So I guess this means my conceal and carry permit from Tennessee is good for Illinois and Chicago, right? I mean gun rights is ACTUALLY in the Constitution…

melle1228 on May 31, 2012 at 11:11 AM

No.

Dante on May 31, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Good.

DOMA is unconstitutional, violating and attempting to change the full faith and credit clause of Article IV, Section 1.

Dante on May 31, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Read the whole clause, including the second part:


And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

DOMA is EXACTLY what the federal government is supposed to do when there are inter-state and federal clashes of state law.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 31, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Curious.

I’m a Christian, and I’ve got no problem with gay marriage. In fact, I can’t fathom why so many other followers of Christ feel it’s perfectly fine to discriminate against homosexuals.

But then again, I’m not teaching toddlers anti-gay songs or what not.

Vyce on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

That word doesn’t mean what you think it means.

fossten on May 31, 2012 at 11:13 AM

*Axe on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

The point being “This looks like a Solomon-like attempt at splitting the baby along federalist lines.” — seems to be way too much credit for even-handedness. If the core issues are whether the sexual relationships gay persons have are equivalent to marriages, and whether people should be forced to acknowledge/pretend-under-penalty-of-hate-crimes-laws (as the case may be) that they are — then that decision is as even handed as Pilate’s.

Axe on May 31, 2012 at 11:13 AM

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 11:03 AM

The laws you mention regarding self-defense, gun carry, hunting etc. apply only in the jurisdiction of the state. A marriage license does not have to be reapplied for if you move to another state–it is recognized across state lines. A driver’s license is another example on a more limited basis (you have to get a new one if you actually change residence to another state).

Ironically enough, if you dig and do the research you’ll find it was actually fear of having to recognize polygamous Mormon marriages under FFCC that led Congress to deny statehood to Utah Territory in the 19th century. No monogamy, no statehood. The LDS amended their religious laws to abolish polygamy and the rest is history.

spiritof61 on May 31, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Good, hope it gets struck down in the Supreme Court. The federal government shouldn’t have any say in who does and doesn’t get married.

Cyhort on May 31, 2012 at 11:10 AM

They didn’t. DOMA was more of a protective measure for STATES that didn’t want to overhaul their family court system to accomodate gay marriages that they weren’t legalizing..

melle1228 on May 31, 2012 at 11:14 AM

So I guess this means my conceal and carry permit from Tennessee is good for Illinois and Chicago, right? I mean gun rights is ACTUALLY in the Constitution…

melle1228 on May 31, 2012 at 11:11 AM

No.

Dante on May 31, 2012 at 11:12 AM

could you explain why? i know nothing about the law, as seen in my comments above.

it seems like the court did just that…. one liberal state has gay marriage, so we all have to recognize it.

if one state has conceal carry, then all have to recognize that state’s CCL right?

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 11:14 AM

So polygamists should also have full access to federal “benefits”?

Also, why does the government discriminate against me on the basis of my age? (I can’t get SS or Medicare benefits)

Why does the federal government discriminate against me because of my income (I pay more taxes than those who make less than me)?

The government treats all sorts of people unequally based on all sorts of things. But again all people are equal – but gay people are more equal.

gwelf on May 31, 2012 at 11:15 AM

So I guess this means my conceal and carry permit from Tennessee is good for Illinois and Chicago, right? I mean gun rights is ACTUALLY in the Constitution…

melle1228 on May 31, 2012 at 11:11 AM
No.

Dante on May 31, 2012 at 11:12 AM

But, but,but equal protection of the law.. blah, blah, blah…

melle1228 on May 31, 2012 at 11:15 AM

A few here have suggested a constitutional amendment in the event SCOTUS agrees with this decision. Going for a constitutional amendment in reaction to an anti-federal DOMA opinion most likely authored by moderate Republican Justice Kennedy that wouldn’t even deal with the issue of state bans is a battle the anti-gay forces would easily lose, but feel free to waste your money and time trying.

McDuck on May 31, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Never cared for DOMA, had no place in federal law.

That said, the ruling seems to include the notion that states must respect the laws of other states, ie, reciprocity. I’m sure the same court would have no problem ruling that states must respect concealed carry laws for visitors from other states, right?

William Teach on May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

It’s not about equality, it’s about gaining the power to redefine marriage and the family, and thereby, humanity.

I don’t have that power, do you? So giving it to judges and teh gay has nothing to do with equality.

Akzed on May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

No.

Dante on May 31, 2012 at 11:12 AM

awwwww…what’s the matter precious? gay marriage for everyone, but not those scary, dangerous guns?

GhoulAid on May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

I’m not sure why government or religion is involved in marriage in the first place. Unlike the license required for a skilled profession or privilege (e.g. doctor, hair stylist, motor vehicle operator), there is no training required of marriage applicants. In other words, virtually any idiot can get married. With that in mind, why is marriage licensed at all? The answer is obvious: Government revenue! And why does marriage have to follow a particular religious viewpoint when it was practiced in virtually every culture having very different belief systems? In fact, it doesn’t! It seems to me if the government and religion got out of the marriage business entirely then we would return to the original concept of what marriage should be, which is a private contract between two consenting people of legal age to enter into a private contract. In ages past, marriage did not need permission from political authority, religious approval, lavish ceremony, witnesses, etc. A free person could marry another free person regardless of race, gender, religion, etc. That person could also have as many spouses as they desired. I see nothing wrong with insisting marriages be recorded after the fact in order for them to be recognized, but neither government or religion should be involved. If people want to include a religious component to their marriage then by all means they should have the freedom to do so, but others will simple agree to marry in total privacy. I see little harm in allowing adult humans to make their own marital decisions regardless if that means inviting same-sex unions, polygamy, etc. I see nothing wrong with laws preventing incest, forbidding bestiality, or protecting minors. Neither do I have a problem with religious people complying with their own religious doctrines as it relates to marriage. However, free people should be free to marry whomever they wish in a free country. Just my two cents.

sirmatthew on May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Why would anyone want to take the unpatriotic and selfish step of lessening his tax burden? Why do gays hate poor people?

/Joe Biden

mankai on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Ha ha ha. Priceless.

gwelf on May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

The laws you mention regarding self-defense, gun carry, hunting etc. apply only in the jurisdiction of the state. A marriage license does not have to be reapplied for if you move to another state–it is recognized across state lines. A driver’s license is another example on a more limited basis (you have to get a new one if you actually change residence to another state).

Ironically enough, if you dig and do the research you’ll find it was actually fear of having to recognize polygamous Mormon marriages under FFCC that led Congress to deny statehood to Utah Territory in the 19th century. No monogamy, no statehood. The LDS amended their religious laws to abolish polygamy and the rest is history.

spiritof61 on May 31, 2012 at 11:14 AM

ok, that makes sense. but, in theory, though it would suck, why don’t you have to get a new marriage license in each new ‘permanent residence’ state, like a driver’s license or hunting license? what’s the argument against it, beyond “it would be annoying”?

i dont know why marriage licenses are the only things under full faith and credit. anything else like that?

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

In that case, preventing a father and daughter from marrying is also “discrimination”

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 11:09 AM

And closer to the point, brothers, sisters, father and son or mother and daughter.

Mitoch55 on May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Cant have utopia without the absolute destruction of the family.

tom daschle concerned on May 31, 2012 at 11:10 AM

I’m going to need soma if I have to live in the brave new world. I don’t think I can do it without soma. (sp?)

Axe on May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Unfortunately, this was the correct decision. DOMA is flat-out unconstitutional.

Also, to everyone here who’s anti-abortion, do you really want the same government that gave the green light to abortion on Roe to be defining what marriage means? The last time you fought an “all-or-nothing” battle, you lost. And you lost so badly that decades have gone by without the faintest hope of that bad decision being overturned.

I understand that the gay lobbyists are going too far. I agree with you that they need to be stopped. But this is not the way to do it.

MelonCollie on May 31, 2012 at 11:18 AM

So polygamists should also have full access to federal “benefits”?

Also, why does the government discriminate against me on the basis of my age? (I can’t get SS or Medicare benefits)

Why does the federal government discriminate against me because of my income (I pay more taxes than those who make less than me)?

The government treats all sorts of people unequally based on all sorts of things. But again all people are equal – but gay people are more equal.

gwelf on May 31, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Bingo!

melle1228 on May 31, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Oh dear, we can’t discriminate. Well, I guess the govt will have no problem with me marrying all my friends so we can get tax breaks and insurance benefits and all sorts of other goodies that society will have to pay for. Since marriage has no coherent definition now, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Dongemaharu on May 31, 2012 at 11:19 AM

It took 100 years to get to where we are now. 2012 is just the beginning of a VERY long road back to sanity and constitutionalism.

Rixon on May 31, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Someday we may be back on the road to constitutionality, if the country survives, but that’s not going to be the first stop on this tour.

DFCtomm on May 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM

15 years ago gay activists considered marriage a bourgeois institution that modern society had outgrown. Now it’s a fundamental right that is egregiously denied gay couples.

Of course gay couples can get married in every state – but they can’t get the state to license their marriage. They don’t get certain state and federal perks for being married and much like any and all government bennies there are restrictions on who has access to them.

gwelf on May 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM

I would expect the Supreme Court will allow this split decision to stand. Possibly ruling is a way to strengthen the federalist argument of states determining what they do and do not recognize and the feds will have to take guidelines from that.

michaelo on May 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Can’t wait to see what William J. Clinton has to say about this.

SouthernGent on May 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Now you know why they’re persecuting the Catholic church over condoms/abortion coverage. So they can force the church to marry homosexuals.

War on religion and the first amendment.

Rixon on May 31, 2012 at 11:21 AM

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

Yep.

It’s not about equality, it’s about gaining the power to redefine marriage and the family, and thereby, humanity.

I don’t have that power, do you? So giving it to judges and teh gay has nothing to do with equality.

Akzed on May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

It’s a pretty tight race between you and Rebar when it comes to ridiculously asinine statements like that. I better get going…gotta lot to do redefining humanity.

And as always, I’m still waiting for DADT repeal to cause a mass exodus from the military, and render our armed forces ineffective.

JetBoy on May 31, 2012 at 11:22 AM

(cont.)

So there is a direct (and ironic, given Mitt’s religion) parallel to this: Polygamy in Utah. Okay under Brigham Young, and recognized by territorial magistrates. If Utah were to become a state than by spurious interpretation of FFCC polygamy would become legal from sea to shining sea! One rogue state making law for the entire Union.

Now of course it is rogue judges who legislate for all.

November.

spiritof61 on May 31, 2012 at 11:22 AM

In that case, preventing a father and daughter from marrying is also “discrimination”

pamplonajack on May 31, 2012 at 11:09 AM
And closer to the point, brothers, sisters, father and son or mother and daughter.

Mitoch55 on May 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

It is going to happen. The only reason the state has a compelling reason to keep incestuous couples from marrying is procreation, but since gay activist claim marriage isn’t about that anymore… Also two sisters or two brothers can’t procreate, so the state wouldn’t have a valid reason to deny them license. If they are given a license and based on the courts loose definition of equal protection that same right could not be denied to heterosexual incestuous couples. If states do not have the right to regulate who marries in their state; then this applies to all unions.

Furthermore, this DOMA ruling means that gay activists will be moving all over the place with their lawsuits. It seems to be their MO…

melle1228 on May 31, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Curious.

I’m a Christian, and I’ve got no problem with gay marriage. In fact, I can’t fathom why so many other followers of Christ feel it’s perfectly fine to discriminate against homosexuals.

But then again, I’m not teaching toddlers anti-gay songs or what not.

Vyce on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

If you wonder why a lot of people on here don’t like you, Vyce, it’s because you’re coming off as a damn Moby on this topic.

Granted, your gleeful bashing of the Tea Party whenever you get a chance doesn’t help matters.

My personal opinion is that this could have been averted if gay marriage advocates tried an appeal to people based off real grievances that could be addressed via the law.

Instead, this “If you don’t recognize our rights, you’re a hatemonger!” crap is leading to an all-or-nothing campaign that will leave them with less than what they had before.

teke184 on May 31, 2012 at 11:23 AM

Because defending marriage as a union of one man and one women is sooooo out of touch with today’s evolving society. Because homosexuals deserve to be treated “equally” as a civil right, and a “civil society” should accept this lifestyle as a melting pot of our culture. Because two men pounding each others asses, and calling it an act of love, is just as natural as the heterosexual lifestyle, (even if no reproduction of life is possible).

Because defining marriage as a union ONLY between one man and one women is none of the government’s business, yet the gay community demands that the government will dictate what a marriage is, and it must include this lifestyle—as a CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT.

And because all of you bigoted heterosexual homophobes continue to believe the foolishness of the Christian scriptures, (and most of the world’s other religious sects), that view the homosexual act as an aberration of human contact, the Supreme Court will set you all “straight”.

Rovin on May 31, 2012 at 11:24 AM

If all the libtards in MA stick to same sex marriage (or just raising puppies instead of children — children cost too much and can’t be euthanized easily once they start growing), in a couple generations, we’ll have a better MA !!

KenInIL on May 31, 2012 at 11:25 AM

JetBoy on May 31, 2012 at 11:22 AM

You’re late. I bet you would be here within 30 min. of posting.

spiritof61 on May 31, 2012 at 11:25 AM

… 2012 is just the beginning of a VERY long road back to sanity and constitutionalism.

Rixon on May 31, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Someday we may be back on the road to constitutionality, if the country survives, but that’s not going to be the first stop on this tour.

DFCtomm on May 31, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Seems to be a one-way ticket every time anyway. A cycle.

Axe on May 31, 2012 at 11:25 AM

And as always, I’m still waiting for DADT repeal to cause a mass exodus from the military, and render our armed forces ineffective.

JetBoy on May 31, 2012 at 11:22 AM

And you think because the bias press isn’t reporting it that there has been no issues..

melle1228 on May 31, 2012 at 11:25 AM

The Founding Fathers never expected a few states to enact outrageous and absurd laws and have them by virtue of the FFC Clause extended to the entire Union. One of the few weaknesses of the Constitution as written. But Madison et al. never reckoned on the Democratic Party.

spiritof61 on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

I’m not sure about that. The states were hardly of one mind on slavery and a full host of others major issues and, as has been pointed out this law is what allowed for fugitive slave laws to be enforced. I’m not too sharp about these things, but this law sounds like a potentially circular argument leaving me wondering how does the court decide which state’s laws take precedent? North Carolina said Bob and Jim can’t get married. Do they go to MA and get hitched with full intent on returning to NC and receiving the state’s blessing as a couple married in MA. Why doesn’t MA have to recognize that NC law has prior juridiction? Am I missing something?

mxt on May 31, 2012 at 11:26 AM

what’s it like, being ruled by perverts?

OldEnglish on May 31, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Read the whole clause, including the second part:

And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

DOMA is EXACTLY what the federal government is supposed to do when there are inter-state and federal clashes of state law.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 31, 2012 at 11:13 AM

I have read the whole part. Have you read DOMA?

Dante on May 31, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Read the whole clause, including the second part:

And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

DOMA is EXACTLY what the federal government is supposed to do when there are inter-state and federal clashes of state law.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 31, 2012 at 11:13 AM

Give it up. Dante lives in his own fantasy world in which things are read and understood only the way he wants them to be. I already buried him several days ago on this issue pointing out to him that there has never been any legal precedent to support his ignorant view concerning this clause. And Ed’s update above to this post concerning this very issue is probably invisible to his blinkered vision.

NotCoach on May 31, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Curious.

I’m a Christian, and I’ve got no problem with gay marriage. In fact, I can’t fathom why so many other followers of Christ feel it’s perfectly fine to discriminate against homosexuals.

But then again, I’m not teaching toddlers anti-gay songs or what not.

Vyce on May 31, 2012 at 10:57 AM

How do you describe discrimination? Is the government discriminating against me by denying me SS and Medicare because of my age?

Liberals have perhaps irreparably perverted the meaning of rights. Rights don’t flow from the government. The government can only prevent others from violating your rights or violate your rights. Gay couples currently enjoy the right to be married – they can co-habitate, have a ceremony, make contracts with each other etc. They don’t have a right to government “benefits”.

As to the religious question…
Homosexuality is condemned in both the New and Old Testaments. Christ taught we should condemn sin and love sinners. Christians should be expected to love sinners but it’s disingenuous to wonder and expect them to approve of the sin or even government encouraging and subsidizing it.

gwelf on May 31, 2012 at 11:30 AM

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