DOMA and Massachusetts Officially Divorce

Posted on 13 Aug 2010 at 1:44pm

ARI EZRA WALDMAN

As some of you might remember, as as reported here, a federal district judge in Massachusetts ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional under the 10th Amendment, which protects the prerogatives of the States, and the 5th Amendment, which ensures equal protection.  Judge Joseph Tauro's opinions are available here and here.

No, I'm not bothering you with old (but still good) news.  Lost in a frenetic day dominated by the Left Coast was that "back east", Judge Tauro entered final judgment in both cases, captions Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services.  Final judgment is a little archane:  It is the written determination of a lawsuit by the judge who presided at
trial, which makes rulings on all issues and completes
the case.  It's like hitting the "Send" button on your email.  The moment you send it, the email is out there and you can bet someone is going to read it.  But, only after those few seconds when you can still hit "Unsend" or "Recall" is the email officially (and in some cases, unfortunately) out there.  Though it is a little more complicated than that, you get the idea.

This case was not appealed to the First Circuit, the appellate court sitting in New England.  This means that, as to Massachusetts, certain parts of DOMA, and its enshrined discrimination against same-sex couples, are officially unconstitutional.  No delays, no stays, no injunctions.  Just equality.

Thanks to loyal reader, Jason C., for making sure I'm on the ball.  And, to any Eli's out there, excuse the Cambridge-centered post.


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