A federal court in California on
Wednesday declared a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to
be unconstitutional, gay weekly Metro
U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S.
White's ruling found Section 3 of DOMA, which bars the federal
government from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian
couples, in violation of the equal protection rights of such couples.
Karen Golinski, a 9th U.S.
Circuit of Appeals lawyer, sued the government after her employer
denied health insurance coverage to her wife, Amy Cunninghis. The
U.S. Office of Personnel (OPM) has argued that DOMA blocks such
“The Court concludes that, based on
the justification proffered by Congress for its passage of DOMA, the
statute fails to satisfy heightened scrutiny and is unconstitutional
as applied to Ms. Golinski,” White wrote. “Although the Court
finds that DOMA is subject to and fails to satisfy heightened
scrutiny, it notes that numerous courts have found that the statute
fails even rational basis review.”
Defending the law is the House
Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which was created by
Republican leaders in the House after the Department of Justice (DOJ)
announced it would no longer defend the law in court.
In July, the DOJ filed a 31-page brief
in which it argued for the first time that DOMA serves no legitimate
Lambda Legal, which is representing
Golinski in her challenge, said the ruling “spells doom for DOMA.”
“The Court recognizes the clear fact
that a law that denies one class of individuals the rights and
benefits available to all others because of their sexual orientation
violates the constitutional guarantee of equality embodied in the
Fifth Amendment,” said attorney Tara Borelli.