Monday, October 22, 2012
Second Circuit Joins First in Striking DOMA
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York just became the second of the intermediate-level federal appeals courts (circuit courts) to find the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. The first was our First Circuit Court of Appeals here in Boston back in May of this year. The Second Circuit decision, which found the federal statute to be an unconstitutional violation of equal protection under heightened scrutiny (the "intermediate level scrutiny" for "quasi-suspect" classifications), is the most likely case on gay marriage to reach the US Supreme Court.
Two other same-sex marriage cases likely to reach the Supreme Court are the First Circuit decision in Boston also striking down DOMA, and the Ninth Circuit decision overturning California's ban on gay marriage out there.
For a short explanation of this Second Circuit case, with some discussion of related federal court decisions, see David Kemp's The End of an Unjust Law: The Second Circuit Strikes Down DOMA and Sets the Stage for Supreme Court Review. Also see the New York Times article for an overview.
For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.