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Michael F. Haverluck
A judge in New York has taken advocacy for normalization of same-sex “marriage” to the next level, ruling this week that a major component of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it doesn’t provide the same financial benefits for homosexuals and lesbians.
District Judge Barbara Jones ruled that a federal law defining marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman conflicts with the U.S. Constitution.
DOMA “intrude[s] upon the states’ business of regulating domestic relations,” Jones stated in her decision this week. “That incursion skirts important principles of federalism and therefore cannot be legitimate, in this court’s view.”
A number of judges have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage since the Obama administration said it would refuse to defend DOMA. After explaining his views on the issue were “evolving,” President Obama recently announced be personally supports same-sex marriage.
“President Obama has been actively promoting an agenda to undermine the nation’s marriage laws,” said Liberty Counsel founder and Chairman Mat Staver. “When you weaken the family, as President Obama is doing by his policies, you weaken society.”
The White House’s increased support of same-sex marriage apparently has emboldened more people to challenge laws under the federal DOMA in court.
In 2010, Edith Windsor filed the New York suit against the government to get back $363,053 that she was required to pay in federal tax on her deceased partner’s estate. The two were “married” as a same-sex couple in Canada two years before Windsor’s partner died in 2009. Windsor sued because she was ineligible to claim the unlimited marital deduction.
Striking down federal law, Jones included in her ruling that the government must reimburse Windsor the entire amount she was legally obligated to pay in estate tax.
Supporters of the homosexual agenda are hoping that the Empire State’s ruling against DOMA is more than a fad.
“[The decision is] another example of the trend of the judiciary continuing to see that treating same-sex couples differently than their heterosexual counterparts is not only wrong but goes against the laws of equality and justice here in the United States,” said Marriage Equality USA Executive Director Brian Silva.
The American Civil Liberties Union has endorsed the normalization of homosexual behavior.
“[This] adds to what has become an avalanche of decisions that DOMA can’t survive even the lowest level of scrutiny by the courts,” commented the ACLU director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project, James Esseks.
New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman applauded Wednesday’s ruling, calling it “a major step forward in the fight of equality.”
The decision came less than a week after a similar First Circuit ruling was issued in Boston that declared as unconstitutional a section of DOMA that reserved federal benefits only for couples in marriages that are between one man and one woman. On May 31, the federal court of appeals judge in Massachusetts – which in 2004 became the first state to allow same-sex marriage – affirmed a 2010 decision made by a federal judge.
But Staver says that this battle over DOMA is far from over, as the U.S. Court of Appeals indicates that the U.S. Supreme Court will have the final say in the Bay State’s matter.
“We have done our best to discern the direction of these precedents, but only the Supreme Court can finally decide this unique case,” Staver explained regarding the final outcome of the Massachusetts case, which he believes has been poorly judged.
“This ruling makes no sense. A state cannot dictate the kind of benefits the federal government must provide,” contested Staver. “If a state recognizes polygamy, does that mean that the federal government must also recognize multiple spouses? Absolutely not! This decision is the proverbial tail wagging the dog.”
Yet these types of decisions aren’t only seen on the East Coast. The tide of judicial activism to abolish marriage protections began earlier this year when a couple of federal judges in California ruled that DOMA works to violate “married” same-sex couples’ due-process rights. With the push over the years to legalize same-sex marriage much legislation has taken place across the United States.
Since 1996, more than 30 states have approved and instituted amendments to protect marriage as between one man and one woman, while eight states allow – or are in the final stages of allowing – same-sex marriage, including Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, Iowa, Maryland and Washington state, as well as Washington, D.C. Legislation allowing same-sex marriage is not yet in effect in the latter two states, where referendums could determine their final fate.
Despite all of the political and judicial maneuverings over same-sex marriage that are taking place just months from this year’s presidential election, pro-family advocates want America to remember the most important thing at stake.
“Children fare best when raised with a mom and a dad,” Staver said. “Redefining marriage to something it was not intended to be weakens the family and is not in the best interest of children or society.”