Federal Judges Using Supreme Court’s DOMA Ruling to Halt State Statutes Protecting Marriage


Supreme CourtIn what some are describing as a ‘reverberation’ throughout America, several federal judges across the nation are citing the Supreme Court decision that struck down a key component of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as their basis to halt state statutes pertaining to marriage protections.

As previously reported, last month, a federal judge in Ohio granted two homosexual men an injunction against a state law that prohibits the recognition of same-sex “marriage” ceremonies performed in other states. The men had traveled to Maryland after the state began issuing licenses, but found that their home state of Ohio would not recognize the union.

Therefore, they sued the state, and Judge Timothy Black, an Obama appointee, put a temporary halt on the law as the case moves forward, citing the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling in U.S. v. Windsor.

“The purpose served by treating same-sex married couples differently than opposite-sex married couples is the same improper purpose that failed in Windsor and in Romer: ‘to impose inequality’ and to make gay citizens unequal under the law,” Black wrote. “Although the law has long recognized that marriage and domestic relations are matters generally left to the states, the restrictions imposed on marriage by states, however, must nonetheless comply with the [U.S.] Constitution.”

Similarly, in Michigan, two separate federal judges granted injunctions against state statutes pertaining to homosexuality, citing the conclusion reached by the Supreme Court in June. One of the cases surrounds two lesbians who are seeking to marry and adopt children.

“Construing the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, and in view of the Supreme Court’s current statement of the law,” Judge Bernard Friedman wrote, “this court cannot say that plaintiffs’ claims for relief are without plausibility. Plaintiffs are entitled to their day in court and they shall have it.”

A second case dealt with two men who were challenging the state’s denial of benefits to the partners of homosexuals.

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“[I]t is hard to argue with a straight face that the primary purpose — indeed, perhaps the sole purpose — of the statute is other than to deny health benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees,” stated Judge David Lawson.

He mocked the state’s defense as being “close to striking [the court] with the force of a five-week-old, unrefrigerated dead fish.”

Therefore, just a few months out from the ruling, some speculate that the Supreme Court decision–although centered on a federal matter–could have an impact nationwide on the states.

“It’s a pattern that’s emerging–and it’s striking,” professor David Cruz from the University of Southern California told the Wall Street Journal. “Judges are embracing [the Supreme Court’s] principles.”

“Needless to say, if other courts follow this lead, we’ll have coast-to-coast legal gay marriage as a matter of Full Faith and Credit with the only limitation on gay couples [being] their ability to travel to a pro-SSM state temporarily to get hitched,” concurred the website Hot Air.

A number of similar lawsuits are currently pending across the country, including in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Carolina and Virginia, with the ACLU and others vowing to file numerous other legal challenges nationwide.

“It’s unfortunate that there are people out there who want to ban this state from defining marriage as it has been defined by virtually everyone since the beginning of recorded history,” the Kentucky Family Association told reporters.

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