Is DOMA unconstitutional?
According to the May 31, 2012 ruling by the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, DOMA is unconstitutional.
DOMA is the Defense of Marriage Act. Section 3 is the part of the Act that was specifically in question. It disallows the federal government to recognize the words “marriage” or “spouse” in reference to a same-sex union.
DOMA is widely considered to be a response to the state of Hawaii considering the acceptance of same-sex marriages. Generally, the actions of one state must be recognized by other states. This means that a same-sex couple married in one state, must be considered married even if they enter a different state. Essentially, Hawaii could have adopted same-sex marriage recognition for the entire country.
Opposition to this idea went into action and DOMA was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July 12, 1996, and then passed by the U.S. Senate on September 10, 1996. President Clinton’s signature was affixed September 21, 1996.
The First Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case after the decision against DOMA by a U.S. District Court was appealed. This recent ruling is expected to be appealed as well. The Supreme Court would then be expected to hear the case. Their official decision to do so may come around October 2012 with a ruling sometime in 2013.