In a unanimous ruling at the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston Thursday, a three-judge panel again declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and discriminatory against gay couples. The decision by the appeals court, which covers a few states in New England as well as Puerto Rico, confirms a 2010 ruling in a lower court that also declared the law unconstitutional because it interfered with each state's right to define marriage and denied federal benefits for gay couples.
Yesterday's ruling did not touch on some of the other aspects of the discriminatory act, such as a provision that allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex unions granted by other states. A lawyer for the anti-DOMA side argued that the law is "across-the-board disrespect," while DOMA defenders claimed the law made sense back in the nineties when states were utterly terrified that they would have to recognize a marriage or civil union performed outside their borders.
The 1st Circuit Court ruling won't be enforced until the Supreme Court finally gives their own decision on the constitutionality of the act. In the meantime, same sex couples will continue to be denied economic benefits.
Last year, President Obama also declared the act unconstitutional, saying his administration would not be defending it in court. House Speaker John "Boner" Boehner, on the other hand, vowed to protect it with the House General Counsel.