Bankruptcy Court Bangs on DOMA
A U.S. Bankruptcy judge has ruled that the 1996 “Defense of Marriage Act” is unconstitutional. The ruling, though only about a single case, has implications for all gay and lesbian couples in states which allow gay marriage, and for over 15,000 California couples who were married during 2008.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Donovan determined that married couple Gene Balas and Carlos Morales had the same rights before bankruptcy as other married people. The ruling joins other rulings which have found that equal protection is denied people who marry same sex people, but are denied equal access to federal programs and benefits.
The Obama administration last February announced through AG Eric Holder that it would not defend DOMA. That has encouraged challenges of the law.
The ruling doesn’t prevent states from enacting their own “Prop 8”, but it does demonstrate the inherent unfairness in telling people who they can love.