Second Circuit Court finds DOMA unconstitutional

Second Circuit Court finds DOMA unconstitutional

A seventh federal court has ruled against DOMA. From the Washington Blade:

A federal appeals court has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional in case filed by a New York widow who’s challenging the statute on the basis that it forced her to unfairly pay $363,000 in estate taxes.

The court ruled against Section 3 of DOMA on the basis that it violates equal protection under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The majority opinion came from Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs and Judge Christopher Droney.

“DOMA’s classification of same-sex spouses was not substantially related to an important government interest,” the decision states. “Accordingly, we hold that Section 3 of DOMA violates equal protection and is therefore unconstitutional.”

The plaintiff in the case, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, is 83-year-old lesbian Edith Windsor, who had to pay $363,000 in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer, because DOMA prohibits the federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

The court also ruled that DOMA should be subject to heightened scrutiny, or a greater assumption that the law is unconstitutional, because, among other reasons, gays and lesbians have faced a history of discrimination and have a distinguishing characteristic from others.