People For the American Way

Federal Court Rules DOMA’s Section 3 Unconstitutional


Contact: Drew Courtney or Miranda Blue at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

A federal court in Massachusetts today ruled unconstitutional Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Judge Joseph Tauro, a Nixon appointee, ruled in two separate cases that Section 3 violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection and denies states their Tenth Amendment powers to decide who can be married.

Michael B. Keegan, President of People For the American Way, said:

“The court did the right thing today—the right thing under the Constitution, and the right thing for the citizens of Massachusetts. For too many years, thousands of legally married couples in states across the country have seen the federal government turn its back on their unions. The Constitution doesn’t allow the federal government to give rights to some married couples and deny them to others.  Today’s decision was vindication of that principle.

“Americans don’t want to hurt their gay and lesbian friends and neighbors, but DOMA does just that—it causes real harm to people across the nation.  Although this case has the potential to be contested for years, I hope that Congress will take this opportunity to do the right thing and repeal DOMA, so that all married couples, like those in Massachusetts, can enjoy the full rights and responsibilities of marriage.”