Timothy Williams, writing on October 18, 2012 in the New York Times, details the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sitting in Manhattan, that DOMA, the federal statute defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, unlawfully discriminates against same-sex married couples by denying them equal federal benefits.
The Second Circuit Court is the second federal appeals court to reject a central portion of the federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act. Last May, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, also held DOMA unconstitutional.
The court's rationale was, according to Judge Dennis Jacobs, who wrote the majority opinion, that the federal law was “not related to an important government interest.” The majority position concluded that “homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public.”
According to Williams, the Supreme Court may take up the issue as soon as the current term.
The New York Times article, A Second Appeals Court Calls Marriage Law Unfair to Gays, Timothy Williams, October 18, 2012 may be read here.
The decision, Windsor v United States may be read here: Download Windsor v United States
Coverage of the earlier First Circuit Court ruling is here: Appeals Court Turns Back Marriage Act as Unfair to Gays, Katharine Q. Seelye and Ethan Bronner, May 31, 2012 may be read here.
The opinion in this case, Massachusetts v United States DHHS, may be read here. Download Massachusetts v DHHS
Same-sex marriage is on the ballot this November in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington State.