Another federal court strikes down DOMA

The 2nd Circuit ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional

Published October 18, 2012 4:25PM (EDT)

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A federal appeals court in Manhattan has struck down the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that blocks same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits. The three-judge panel for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the law violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution, in a 2-to-1 ruling.

In the majority opinion, Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs writes that "DOMA’s classification of same-sex spouses was not substantially related to an important government interest. Accordingly, we hold that Section 3 of DOMA violates equal protection and is therefore unconstitutional."

The 2nd Circuit is now the second appeals court to strike down the law, after a court in Boston came to the same conclusion earlier this year. The Supreme Court has put off a decision about the law, but is expected to take up at least one of the four cases that have been petitioned, at some point this term.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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