The movement for equality dances forward


After the “one step back,” by Governor Linda Lingle’s decision to veto the civil union’s bill that was passed by the Hawaii Legislature in April,  Massachusetts has given us “two steps forward” in the equality dance.   US District Judge in Boston, Judge Joseph Tauro,  ruled on two separate cases Thursday.
 One case, brought by Attorney General of Massachusetts Martha Coakley, argued that DOMA (defense of marriage act) forced the state to discriminate against it’s own citizens.  Basically, the 10th amendment gives the States the power to regulate marriage. Massachusetts choose to allow same sex marriage in 2004.  DOMA (Sec.3) states that only “one man, one woman” marriages will be recognized federally.   By the federal government refusing to recognize same sex marriage, and in fact, financially penalizing Massachusetts for recognizing it, the federal government violated the 10th amendment.

“The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid,” Judge Joseph Tauro.

Judge Joseph Tauro also ruled on a second case, filed by GLAD’s (Gays & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders), Mary Bonauto.  The case was filed on behalf of Nancy Gill and Marcelle Letourneau.

 Nancy and Marcelle have been together for almost 30 years.  Nancy has worked for the post office for 22 years. Marcelle does administrative work at the local Visiting Nurse Association office and has a medical transcription business at home. They are raising two children a daughter and a son.  They were legally married in 2004.  Nancy and Marcelle were asking the court to apply the same 1,138 protections given to other legally married couples, including such things a Social Security, Pension benefits, medical insurance, and multiple tax benefits to name a few. 

Judge Tauto stated in his ruling” As irrational prejudice plainly never constitutes a legitimate government interest, this court must hold that Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

(And before you constitutional “experts” attempt to correct that statement…”though the 5th amendment does not contain a equal protection clause, as the 14th amendment does, the 5th’s Due process clause includes an equal protection component.” see bolling v. sharpe 247 US 497,499)

So in rap up, these two decisions say that due to the 10th amendment  federal government can not violate the states sovereign ability to regulate marriage.  AND due to the 5th amendment, same sex couples can not be discriminated against, and are guaranteed equal protection under the law. 

So what is next?  The federal government is expected to appeal these decisions.  GLAD’s attorney, Mary Bonauto said she welcomed the appeal process due to the fact that the appeals process would take the ruling farther up the ladder and allow the equality to be applied to more than just Massachusetts couples.

The music is expected to begin playing again soon with the ruling, from California’s Judge Vaughn Walker, due in any day in the Perry
v. Schwazenegger case.


2 Responses

  1. I have said irt before and I will say it again – this objection is a religious objection and has no place in our government! Any two consenting adults should be allowed to share the same benefites and any other two consenting adults .
    Equal under the law. Why should a couple comprised of one of each have any better benefits then a couple comprised two of the same?
    One committed couple ought to be entitled to the same benefits as any other committed couple.

  2. Love this part of Tauto’s statement:
    “As irrational prejudice plainly never constitutes a legitimate government interest,”

    Thanks, InvalidRespone!

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