Inconsistent chatter from a Sacramento-based 'Sconi attorney.

Friday, June 17, 2005

DOMA of 1996 is Constitutionally Sound

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996 is constitutionally sound. So claims a U.S. District Court judge in Orange County, California.

For those not in the know, DOMA was the federal legislation signed into law by President Bill Clinton that "protects" states from having licensed marriages of a sister-state (say Massachusetts) foisted upon them by way of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Full Faith and Credit Caluse of the U.S. Constitution states that all states must give full faith and credit to all judgments, rulings, and decisions of sister-states, so long as they do not violate the state's existing public policy.

Therefore, those who feared same-sex marriage believed that if one state instituted it (say Massachusetts) that the rest of the states of the country would be forced into recognizing those marriages. Well, DOMA was implemented to fill that loophole, although creating questions of its very own in regards to its legality.

The significance of this decision is that it was only the third in the nation to address the validity of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the only one headed for appeal to higher courts. Rulings in Washington state and Florida, upholding other aspects of the law, have not been appealed.

Many gay rights advocates do not support the timing of this appeal, for two reasons. First, they fear that if the 9th Circuit upholds the law, it sets bad precedent for spreading same-sex marriage across the country once it becomes more common place. Second, they fear that if the 9th Circuit overturns the law, that it will cause a massive uproar. The anti-same-sex marriage groups will be strengthened and grow, and could potentially lead to an amendment to the U.S. Constitution eliminating all same-sex marriage from the country.

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