Saturday, February 17, 2018

Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, another federal court rules

SAN JOSE, Calif. — From California to Boston, the legal storm over gay marriage is moving swiftly and inexorably toward the U.S. Supreme Court.

A federal appeals court in Boston put yet another legal dent in the federal government's ban on same-sex marriage rights Thursday, saying the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal benefits to gay and lesbian couples.

The unanimous three-judge decision was the first federal appeals court ruling invalidating federal same-sex marriage restrictions and could wind up as the case that pushes the contentious gay marriage question to the Supreme Court this year.

With legal challenges to DOMA and state laws such as California's Proposition 8 unfolding across the nation, the Boston court made it clear that the Supreme Court must weigh in.

"Only the Supreme Court can finally decide this unique case," the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote.

The ruling marks the latest blow in the courts to state and federal bans on same-sex marriage, and represents part of a fast-moving puzzle of cases that appears destined to force the Supreme Court to tackle the argument that gay and lesbian couples should have the same legal right to marry as heterosexual couples.

There are at least two California cases that are moving in a similar direction, and might reach the Supreme Court's docket as quickly as Thursday's decision out of the Massachussetts federal courts.

In Thursday's ruling, the 1st Circuit said the 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman discriminates against gay couples because it doesn't give them the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples.

The three-judge panel was made up of two Republican appointees and one Democrat.

Legal experts were quick to point out that the court took a fairly narrow approach, finding that Congress did not have the authority to trample on the rights of states such as Massachusetts to legalize same-sex marriage and confer equal benefits to gay and lesbian couples.

One of the California cases may pose broader constitutional issues because it involves a state that outlaws same-sex nuptials.

Comments

Groves beats Eubank Jr to retain WBA super middle belt

George Groves has retained the WBA super middleweight belt after outsmarting Chris Eubank Jr by unanimous decision in Manchester Arena
Updated: 10 minutes ago

Watanabe, Nolan pace George Washington past VCU 80-56

Yuta Watanabe scored 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds, Terry Nolan Jr. matched his career high with 18 points and George Washington clobbered VCU 80-56
Updated: 11 minutes ago

E. Michigan uses late spurt to beat C. Michigan 72-67

James Thompson IV posted his 19th double-double of the season and Elijah Minnie joined him and Eastern Michigan downed Central Michigan 72-67
Updated: 12 minutes ago
LeBron says he 'will definitely not shut up and dribble'

LeBron says he 'will definitely not shut up and dribble'

LeBron says he 'will definitely not shut up and dribble'
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Ducks outlast Wild 3-2 in 11th round of shootout

Ducks outlast Wild 3-2 in 11th round of shootout

NHL Capsules
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Big East showdown: No. 3 Villanova 95, No. 4 Xavier 79

Big East showdown: No. 3 Villanova 95, No. 4 Xavier 79

Mikal Bridges led an early 3-point shooting spurt that put Villanova in control, and the third-ranked Wildcats showed they're not ready to relinquish their reign in the Big East, beating No. 4 Xavier 95-79 in a showdown for the league lead
Updated: 15 minutes ago

Mitchell, McDaniels boost San Diego St. past UNLV 94-56

Matt Mitchell scored 21 points, Jalen McDaniels added 18 and San Diego State beat UNLV 94-56
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Florida, angry and grieving, takes gun protest to streets

Florida, angry and grieving, takes gun protest to streets

Thousands of angry students, parents, teachers and neighbors of a Florida high school where 17 people were killed are demanding immediate action be taken on gun-control legislation
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Tyler Reddick needs 5 overtimes to win at Daytona

Tyler Reddick needs 5 overtimes to win at Daytona

Tyler Reddick took Dale Earnhardt Jr. to victory lane in a nail-biting opener to NASCAR's second-tier Xfinity Series
Updated: 25 minutes ago

AP Top News at 6:44 p.m. EST

AP Top News at 6:44 p.m. EST
Updated: 25 minutes ago