By Ryan Collett
The constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – the federal law that defines marriage as only being between a man and a woman – will be debated today in a Federal Court in Boston.
The court will hear arguments from two different cases where in each the judge declared DOMA unconstitutional. Each case was appealed, bringing their respective trials to Boston today.
The first case, Gil v. Office of Personnel Management, was filed by Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and focuses on how gays and lesbians married by state law but denied federal marriage benefits is unconstitutional.
The second case is Massachusetts v. Health and Human Service, and argues that DOMA goes against the Tenth Amendment because it oversteps the power of the states to recognize marriage.
Both cases were ruled by Judge Joseph Tauro, and their status after this appeals court will make significant headlines. Tauro’s rulings are unique in that they evoke the Tenth Amendment – a tool used by many Republicans to disapprove of gay marriage – to prove DOMA’s unconstitutionality.