Federal Judge Strikes Down DOMA

UPDATE: Read this excellent analysis of Judge Tauro’s actions.

Yet another federal judge has decided that his opinion is more important that the democratic rule of the people, or a law passed by Congress.

In a ruling today, Federal District Court Judge Joseph Tauro struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), ruling that DOMA discriminates against gays and lesbians and infringes on the rights of states to define marriage.

The ruling is available here.

The National Organization for Marriage released the following statement:


“A Boston judge has no moral right to decide the marriage question for the people of the U.S.”
– Brian Brown, President, National Organization for Marriage

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) released the following statements today in response to a federal judge in Boston ruling the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

“Under the guidance of Elena Kagan’s brief that she filed when she was Solicitor General, Obama’s justice department deliberately sabotaged this case,” charged Brian Brown, President of NOM, referring to the Justice Department’s brief which described DOMA as discriminatory. Despite the explicit language in DOMA that the law was designed to protect children’s right to their mothers and fathers, the judge disavowed that DOMA has anything to do with responsible procreation. “With only Obama to defend DOMA, this federal judge has taken the extraordinary step of overturning a law passed by huge bipartisan majorities and signed into law by Pres. Clinton in 1996. A single federal judge in Boston has no moral right to decide the definition of marriage for the people of the United States,” Brown continued.

“Does this federal judge want to start another culture war?” asked Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of NOM. “Does he really want another Roe. v. Wade? The simple fact is that the right of the federal government to define marriage for the purposes of its federal law and federal territories has been clear since the late 19th century, when Congress banned polygamy. Only an incompetent defense could have lost this case. We expect to win in a higher court.”



Filed under Gay Marriage, Marriage

5 responses to “Federal Judge Strikes Down DOMA

  1. When the Supreme Court upheld the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Law in Reynolds v. United States , it listed as justifications:

    Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and, until the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people. At common law, the second marriage was always void (2 Kent, Com. 79), and from the earliest history of England, polygamy has been treated as an offence against society.”

    “Congress, in 1862 (12 Stat. 501), saw fit to make bigamy a crime in the Territories. This was done because of the evil consequences that were supposed to flow from plural marriages. All the court did was to call the attention of the jury to the peculiar character of the crime for which the accused was on trial, and to remind them of the duty they had to perform.”

    And from Davis v. Beason , where the Court upheld a law that prohibited polygamists, and members of organizations that advocate committing polygamy, from voting against a First Amendment free exercise challenge:

    “It was never intended that the first Article of Amendment to the Constitution, that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” should be a protection against legislation for the punishment of acts inimical to the peace, good order and morals of society.”

    “To extend exemption from punishment for such crimes would be to shock the moral judgment of the community. ”

    The real kicker is Murphy v. Ramsey, which was cited in Davis v. Beason as a constitutional justification:

    “Certainly no legislation can be supposed more wholesome and necessary in the founding of a free, self-governing commonwealth, fit to take rank as one of the coordinate states of the union, than that which seeks to establish it on the basis of the idea of the family, as consisting in and springing from the union for life of one man and one woman in the holy estate of matrimony; the sure foundation of all that is stable and noble in our civilization; the best guaranty of that reverent morality which is the source of all beneficent progress in social and political improvement. And to this end, no means are more directly and immediately suitable than those provided by this act, which endeavors to withdraw all political influence from those who are practically hostile to its attainment.”

    • The American constitution is based on the English constitution which is based on English common law and ancient Hebrew law.

      At least polygamy had a (sometimes) legitimate precedent in the Bible, and at least it preserves the man-woman union of marriage. So-called “gay marriage” has never been legitimately recognized as such (and we have been through this before in a previous comment thread).

      Attempts by pro-gay activists to claim gay marriage is legitimate because polygamy once was for Mormons (which doesn’t even make any sense as a pro-gay marriage argument) are ill-informed and disingenuous.

      It is very bad policy to change the definition of the most fundamental unit of society because it will make some people feel better about their sexual deviance.

      • Lisa~

        Amen to that “thisismarriage”!! Sexual deviance is exactly what it is!

      • Indeed,

        The rationale used by the Supreme Court to uphold anti-polygamy bans against a constitutional rights challenge in Reynolds and Davis is a rationale that applies to defend bans on same-sex “marriage” against constitutional challenges.

        People who want judges to strike down laws against same-sex “marriage” on the basis that they violate the U.S. Constitution ultimately want a system where judges can casually dismiss the original public understanding of constitutional provisions and relevant case law.

      • Exactly. To allow “gay marriage” means that people will have the “right” to force everyone to recognize marriage as whatever anyone wants it to mean, which of course means it will be meaningless.

        After all, it’s not fair that there are single ladies that can’t get married in the “traditional sense.” Why don’t we just consider them all married to each other so we can make them feel better and give them all those wonderful tax benefits intended for child-raising couples. Or, let people marry a close friend, family member or pet if they must marry one person.

        You can see how making exceptions can get out of hand.

        Does no one remember anymore what the point of marriage is? It’s NOT to make people feel better about themselves!

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