A federal appeals court ruled today that the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of 83-year old Edith Windsor, who challenged the law, claiming that it is discriminatory toward homosexuals.
“This law violated the fundamental American principle of fairness that we all cherish,” she said in a statement released today by the ACLU.
Windsor had contended that the law violated the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law.
The majority opinion against the Defense of Marriage Act was written by Republican Judge Dennis Jacobs, who was appointed in the 1990′s by George H.W. Bush.
“It is easy to conclude that homosexuals have suffered a history of discrimination,” he wrote. “Homosexuals are not in a position to adequately protect themselves from the discriminatory wishes of the majoritarian public. Even if preserving tradition were in itself an important goal, DOMA is not a means to achieve it.”
Judge Chester Straub, a Clinton appointee, dissented from the opinion.
“Courts should not intervene where there is a robust political debate because doing so poisons the political well, imposing a destructive anti-majoritarian constitutional ruling on a vigorous debate,” he wrote. “I believe it is for the American people to do so.”
So the Bush (Republican) appointee cited here opposed the legislation, while the Clinton (Democrat) appointee opposed courts interfering with what he rightly believes is a political matter.
Funny how that goes.