Court Rules Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional, Irrational

Here is some great news that should be no surprise to anyone really paying attention — after the Proposition 8 kerfluffle, this was inevitable: A federal court ruling was just issued that is based upon the notion — one held by decent and intelligent people all along — that the un-American, anti-equality, anti-LGBT Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and irrational.

‘Bout damned time.

Interestingly, the story comes from right-wing site OneNewsNow:

Two administrative judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California have ruled the U.S. government must pay health benefits to the same-sex partners of two federal lawyers — one of whom is on the 9th Circuit’s staff.

In one of the rulings, Judge Stephen Reinhardt stated that the government’s refusal to grant those benefits amounted to unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex and sexual orientation. Neither a “distaste for or disapproval of same-sex marriage” justifies denial of federal benefits, Reinhardt stated. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski issued the ruling in the other case.

According to Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), there is another interesting part of the rulings. “The 9th Circuit judges in that administrative matter ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] was unconstitutional and that it had no rational basis,” he explains.

So great to see jurists talking sense. The only basis for banning marriage for all consenting adult couples is a certain religious viewpoint. How is that rational in a pluralistic, diverse nation supposedly governed by secular laws separate from church?

People are free to hate gays or anyone based on their deity of choice’s alleged dictates or their own opinions. If marriage equality becomes a reality for the entire US, it will have no effect on anti-gay churches or schools, whatever the bigots tell you. Codifying these divisive and punitive views into law to harm citizens — and yes, the institutionalized discrimination and stigmatization of same-gender couples causes untold harm to way too many American families — is evil that must be stopped. If it takes judges to do it, so be it.

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natalie-davis.gifIf Loving v. Virginia had been put up to a popular vote, it likely would have lost. Same for Brown v. Board of Education. Same for the Civil Rights Act. Same for too many decisions that had to fix flaws in the nation’s founding documents. Equality and citizens’ rights cannot and should not be put up to a popular vote — that may work for American Idol, but it is not the American way. That this irrational tyranny goes on, as in the hateful Prop 8 situation, makes the US evil and hypocritical and deceitful.

Kudos, kudos, kudos to California’s 9th Circuit Court for doing their job by attempting to protect a minority of citizens from the tyranny of the majority.

Natalie Davis
http://gratefuldread.net
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Articles by Natalie:

Published by the LA Progressive on February 7, 2009
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