Speak Out: Appeals Court Rules Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

What do you think of the court's ruling?

A federal appeals court in Boston ruled Thursday that the Defense of Marriage Act — which defines marriage as between one man and one woman — is unconstitutional because it denies benefits to same-sex couples that heterosexual couples receive.

The justices stayed the ruling pending an anticipated decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on this case or a similar case. The ruling applies to four New England states and Puerto Rico, which are covered by the circuit court’s jurisdiction, Bloomberg reported.

According to the Huffington Post: "The court didn't rule on the law's more politically combustible provision, which said states without same-sex marriage cannot be forced to recognize gay unions performed in states where it's legal. It also wasn't asked to address whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry."

The Wall Street Journal noted that the judge who authored the unanimous decision was appointed by President George H.W. Bush. The other two judges on the panel were appointed by former presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

Speak out: What do you think about the federal appeals court ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional?

Doug Tallman May 31, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Jason Spencer reached out to state Sen. Adam Ebbin, an Alexandria Democrat, and here's what he said: "This is a great step forward for equal protection under the law, which is promised to us as Americans. ... I hope that the court's ruling will be upheld as the judiciary makes clear that denying one group rights for no legitimate reason is unconstitutional and un-American. Or just plain un-American." The Virginia constitution was amended in 2006 to define marriage as between one man and one woman. It prevents the recognition of a legal status for unmarried individuals. Ebbin, who is openly gay, said Thursday's ruling was a start. "It's important to realize that this does not yet have any direct legal impact on Virginia. But this is a great start," he said.
Rob June 01, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Since this decision has no effect in Virginia (or any state in the metropolitan area for that matter), why is it relevant for a news organization that is supposed to be focusing specifically on local issues?
Kenn Bing June 01, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Doug Tallman & Jason Spencer. I see you posted this article and I am not sure why you posted it in different patch locations. I also notice you do not disclose your position in this policticlly charged issue of people's lives and communities about same gender marriage. I wonder if you are consistent with your reporting of other issues, like the churches in Indiana, Kansas and North Carolina who outright use Christianity as the tool to destroy people who are.born gay. Gay people just want to stand up for their God given right to the persist of happiness and the liberty to live a life free of tyranny of religon. So I ask you be transparent to this issue as matter of fair and balanced reporting.
Box 5524 June 01, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Messrs Spencer and Tallman: Is it at possible that LGBT individuals could screw up marriage any more than straights have already done?
Jason Spencer (Editor) June 01, 2012 at 10:28 PM
We occasionally post short "Speak Out" articles on topics that we feel the community would be interested in. In Arlington, people tend to be interested in stories about gay rights. That's our motivation: Trying to post information that people in the community would be interested in.
Kris Day June 01, 2012 at 11:11 PM
A lot of people who stand for traditonal values as I do, will not speak up on this issue because it is devisive. But we will do our voting at the polls.
Karen Gautney June 02, 2012 at 11:43 AM
I can't speak to the Patch's editorial decisions, but I can say that many of us in the community who are impacted by discrimination are VERY interested in this news story. If you look at the string of court cases that eventually led to Brown v. Board of Ed, you'll see that a similar thing is happening re: same sex marriage. Court opinions are building, and this will eventually lead to a SCOTUS case that will settle the matter. If precedents in court decisions to date are predictive, SCOTUS will agree that DOMA is unconstitutional. When the majority votes on rights for the minority, they generally vote to deny them. That is why our system of laws and justice include protections against "the tyranny of the majority." This case will ultimately be decided by what is right according to law, not what is desired by the majority based on their beliefs and feelings.
Jason Spencer (Editor) June 03, 2012 at 06:32 AM
I respect that. Before coming to Patch, I spent more than six years in the conservative core of South Carolina. I've developed great relationships with those on the far right and far left — I just wouldn't necessarily invite them all over for dinner the same night, you know? :)
Jason Spencer (Editor) June 03, 2012 at 06:42 AM
I'll admit, I have not done my job at filling out my bio per Patch standards. Yet. When I think of it, I tend to dwell on how I want to describe certain things. But to get to your point: I'm very cautious in disclosing any of my personal political beliefs — aside from transparency. Openness in government is the one thing that I feel strongly about that I feel I can legitimately take a public position on as a journalist. And both parties (in Virginia) do pretty terrible at it. In the last state I covered, South Carolina, Republicans tended to do OK with it — some more than others. But since Citizens United... that's just made things get worse in the openness/honesty/disclosure world.
Kenn Bing June 05, 2012 at 09:38 AM
Jason Spencer; Thank you for your reply.
Paul June 06, 2012 at 03:43 PM
It is interesting that they did not rule on the part about recognizing other states marriages. That one seems pretty clear cut to me. Full faith and credit. Done. A contract entered in one state is binding everywhere. Without that, we can just go back to the articles of confederation.
T-Bird June 07, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Kenn, when a reporter states his "position" on a subject, it ceases to be news and becomes an opinion piece. this has nothingto do with transparancy, but correct journalism, and not the infotainment that passes for news on TV and in most print. That is what makes Patch good. It's not some political rag with an agenda. If you want a target, or a cheerleader, go somewhere else.


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