DOMA unlikely to stay in place

Hansook Oh

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The United States Supreme Court is likely to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, with an 80 percent probability according to analysts writing for SCOTUSblog.

Five justices–Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy–are likely to strike down the policy, although for different reasons. Four justices may decide DOMA violates the equal protection clause under the Fifth Amendment, while Kennedy may strike it down as violating states’ rights.

The lawsuit, United States v. Windsor began in 2011 when Edith Windsor, an 83-yr-old New York woman, challenged DOMA, an act passed by congress in 1996. The law defines marriage as being between a man and one woman. Windsor was left with an estate tax bill of about $360,000 when her wife died in 2009 because they were not recognized by the federal government as a married couple.

Like Hollingsworth v. Perry, the questions before the court were about the legal standing of DOMA’s defense team, the validity of the court to hear the case in the first place and the question of whether or not DOMA violates the constitutional promise of equal protection under the law.

According to SCOTUS blogger, Amy Howe, unlike in Tuesday’s hearing, it did not seem that at least five justices seriously doubted whether or not DOMA’s defense team, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), could come to DOMA’s defense.

The standing question was brought up due to unprecedented events that complicates the usual legal procedure.

As in Hollingsworth, the United States government did not come to DOMA’s defense when Windsor filed her suit in a lower court because they deemed the policy to be unconstitutional. BLAG intervened to defend DOMA and when a lower court ruled that the policy was unconstitutional, it appealed to a higher court on behalf of the United States.

The judges have been cautious about how they will rule both the Proposition 8 case and the DOMA challenge, according to analysts. The relationship between the two cases is in itself problematic for both gay rights advocates and marriage traditionalists.

“Students of Windsor and Hollingsworth have always recognized a basic tension between the theories of gay-rights advocates in the cases,” wrote SCOTUS blogger Tom Goldstein. “The challenge to DOMA is undergirded by a sense that marriage is a matter for state rather than federal regulation. The challenge to Proposition 8 is a direct challenge to just such a decision by a state.”

Supreme Court hears DOMA arguments

The day after hearing arguments for Prop 8 in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court takes up United States v. Windsor, a case challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. News orgs, politicians, celebrities and others share on social media about the DOMA case.

Storified by Daily Sundial· Wed, Mar 27 2013 19:52:44

Not a great shot, but here’s the scene outside #scotus. Pretty quiet compared to Tues. Rally speakers starting soon. http://<a href="http://t.co/aco0u3giSp" class="">pic.twitter.com/aco0u3giSp</a>Joseph Ax
The crowd goes crazy as Edie Windsor walks down the steps. #scotus "we love you Edie!" http://<a href="http://t.co/qboPPrwC8o" class="">pic.twitter.com/qboPPrwC8o</a>Joseph Ax
Edie Windsor talks to the press. #Scotus http://<a href="http://t.co/0VXN3UFLY8" class="">pic.twitter.com/0VXN3UFLY8</a>Joseph Ax
Roberta Kaplan addresses the media after arguing against #DOMA, as Edie Windsor stands by (w scarf).chrisgeidner
Clement argued DOMA was necessary for "uniformity" for fed govt. No procreation stuff, nothing about marriage equality being bad for kids.AdamSerwer
John Roberts repeatedly attributed the shift in public opinion on marriage to the "political force" of pro-gay lobbyists.Sahil Kapur
Final update: #scotus 80% likely to strike down #doma. J Kennedy suggests it violates states’ rights; 4 other Justices see as gay rights.SCOTUSblog
We The People #ssm #scotus #marriageequality #lgbtBrett Frazer
#aintnobodygottimefordat #sweetbrown #supremecour t #marriageequality #gay #ssm #gayrightsEmmet Mc.
Only obvious gay marriage opponents are Westboro Baptist folks. A gay couple kissed in front of them earlier with cameras snapping. #scotusJoseph Ax
“@johngramlich: Good morning from the Supreme Court, where one sign proclaims GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS."True! #photo http://<a href="http://t.co/tAw4aAg9pt" class="">pic.twitter.com/tAw4aAg9pt</a>WBC Signs
"If gay marriage were legal today would be our 31st anniversary"#marriageequality #doma #love #samelove #freedom #liberty #unitedformarriage #scotus #rally ?Paris
Anti-marriage equality protesters. Westboro, maybe? #dc #doma #scotusBrandon Kopp
Day 2 for #marriageequality. Repeal #DOMA Monika
People protesting same-sex marriage preach to a small crowd across the street from the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on March 27, 2013. @MattEich @AARP_Official. #aarp #aarpbulletin #iphone #instapoll #iphoneography #documentary #protest #protesters #flag #doma #prop8 #samesexmarriage #scotus #supremecourt #government #congress #courtcase #washington #dc #wdc #crowd #onassignment #commission #america #usaAARP
#equal #equality #equalrights #gay #lesbian #gaymarriage #gaymarriagelaws #rights #loveAmina
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.Cory
Hard to argue with that. #scotus #equalityArlind
SCOTUS decision? "Supremely irrelevant. We’re here to preach. This is a preaching opportunity. We appreciate them creating it."–@WBCFredJrWestboro Baptist
The best #MarriageEquality signs from outside the Supreme Court <a href="http://t.co/ABnyppW1zj" class="">eonli.ne/Zqmk1L</a> #SCOTUSE! Online
Two cool points goes to #oomf who can read this sign at the Supreme Court >> http://<a href="http://t.co/FASH7pyzzF" class="">pic.twitter.com/FASH7pyzzF</a>WBC Photos
LOOK! Gr8 pic of Westboro"Death Penalty 4 Fags"sign @SCOTUS #SSM rally via @NewsTimes.God will not have fags wed. http://<a href="http://t.co/RNDJLetCEV" class="">pic.twitter.com/RNDJLetCEV</a>MargiePhelps
Interfaith ceremony in support of #scotus hearings on #prop8 and #doma #lgbtKatherine Brezler
Hey @HRC, why ask @GetEQUAL activists to take down #Transgender flag at #SCOTUS? <a href="http://t.co/3HTX42owJV" class="">facebook.com/autumns.green.…</a> Pls RT if wondering #wtf tooGetEqual MA
dare to dream of equality…dare to dream of separation of church & state…America. #doma #scotus <a href="http://t.co/hnXzAYfyUP" class="">pic.twitter.com/hnXzAYfyUP</a>twithappens34
NBC Pete Williams reporting that DOMA could very well likely be struck down on combo of states rights & gay rightsLuke Russert
Today’s arguments suggest federal Defense of Marriage Act in jeopardy. Five justices imply law is unconstitutional.Jan Crawford
RT @ABC: Nancy Pelosi Attends Supreme Court Arguments, Predicts #DOMA Will Be Struck Down http://<a href="http://t.co/WC44z6e3GI" class="">abcn.ws/14oUzyn</a>Good Morning America
I sincerely hope #SCOTUS will find #DOMA unconstitutional so we can put this discriminatory law into the dustbin of history where it belongsKirsten Gillibrand
Is "Treating Married Couples Differently" Constitutional? My in-depth look at #DOMA at #SCOTUS: <a href="http://t.co/4ma1vH24jr" class="">bit.ly/10Sfmr3</a>Chris Geidner
DOMA Challenge Tests Federal Definition Of Marriage : NPR23 hours ago … The Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies fede…
#doma #prop8Brooke Gilleran
In 1996, the US enacted DOMA, and Cartoon Network premiered Dexter’s Laboratory. The wrong one is still alive.Seth MacFarlane
#TDSBreakingNews Five justices appear skeptical of #doma. Other four skeptical of #MoMA. Find Jasper Johns overrated.The Daily Show
In 1996 everyone used AOL, Macarena was #1 & DOMA was enacted. We all handled the first 2, Supreme Court it’s your turn to do some lifting.Funny Or Die

What’s your opinion on DOMA? Tweet us @dailysunidal Also check out related stories from the Daily Sundial.

Supreme Court hears Prop. 8 argumentsThe Supreme Court of the United States hear oral arguments for Prop 8 on Tuesday March 26 and DOMA Wednesday March 27. Supporters and opp…
Prop 8 reaches Supreme Court | Daily Sundial22 hours ago … The U.S. Supreme Court was divided on its opinion of the constitutionality and validity of the case for California&#39…
50 Shades of Gay | Daily SundialOur country entered 2013 with more equality for LGBT or "queer" Americans than we did at the beginning of the new millennia. Don’t ask, d…
Supreme Court rulings could affect marriage | Daily SundialThe Supreme Court will review two court cases that challenge current laws on gay marriage. The first case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, challe…