Friday, July 10, 2009

Massachusetts sues over DOMA

Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the country. So it appears that letting its gay citizens participate in the formal commitment of marriage has not caused a massive destruction of the institution.

The Attorney General of the Bay State has become annoyed that the Federal Government treats legally married Massachusetts citizens unequally, and is challenging DOMA on those grounds.
"Our familes, our communities, and even our economy have seen the many important benefits that have come from recognizing equal marriage rights and, frankly, no downside," Attorney General Martha Coakley said this afternoon at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. "However, we have also seen how many of our married residents and their families are being hurt by a discriminatory, unprecedented, and, we believe, unconstitutional law."

The suit filed in US District Court in Boston claims that the Congress, in enacting the DOMA, "overstepped its authority, undermined states' efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people."

At a news conference, Coakley said:

"They are entitled to equal treatment under the laws regardless of whether they are gay or straight."
Way to go, Massachusetts.

For shame, California! For shame!

Update: The Volokh Conspiracy points out this is a very different case from Olson and Boies:
The lawsuit is different from other pending challenges to Section 3, see here and here, because it's brought by a state, not gay couples, and because the core issue is federalism, not individual rights.
, although it sees some danger in this by potentially accelerating a federal, rather than state definition of marriage.

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