A federal judge in New York (joining a Boston federal judge) ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional yesterday, the Associated Press reports.
The ruling came in a case brought by Edith Windsor, a woman whose partner died in 2009, two years after they married in Canada. Because of the federal law, Windsor didn’t qualify for the unlimited marital deduction on her late spouse’s estate and was required to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax. Windsor sued the government in November 2010.
As part of her ruling, [Judge] Jones ordered the government to reimburse Windsor the money she had paid in estate tax.
As it is, President Obama has already stated his opposition to DOMA and has ordered the Justice Department not to defend DOMA.
Clearly, the groundwork is being laid for federal courts to force states holding out against same-sex marriage to recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay residents. The courts will cite the Constitution’s equal protection and commerce clauses as justification. The courts will as well cite reciprocity – whereby states recognize the portability of certain licenses conferred in other states.
I suspect now that Mitt Romney, a Mormon, will be the Republican presidential nominee, orthodox Mormons will file federal lawsuits to overturn anti-polygamy laws. (Mormons and other ethnic groups have had to renounce the practice of polygamy.) If the government cannot define marriage as between one man and one woman, how does it have the authority to impose monogamous marriage? The proverbial slippery slope will become a gushing waterslide.
Will the demise of DOMA lead to the recognition of polygamy? Leave a comment.
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