The latest assault on the federal law that only recognizes straight spouses comes from an institution that's not exactly known for making rousing statements about civil rights: the federal bankruptcy court.
According to news reports., the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is unconstitutional. Twenty out of 25 judges in the Los Angeles-based court signed the ruling written by Judge Thomas B. Donovan.
The ruling came down in the case of Gene Balas and Carlos Morales, a California couple who has been married since 2008. The couple wanted to file jointly for
bankruptcy protection after struggling with illnesses and unemployment.
But the United States Trustee, federal officials who oversee bankruptcy cases, pushed to dismiss the case because of DOMA.
couple filed their petition a day after Attorney General Eric Holder's
February announcement that the Department of Justice would no longer
defend DOMA in court -- and the bankruptcy judges turned out to be fiery
defenders of same-sex marriage.
The ruling states that "the government's only basis for supporting DOMA comes down to an
apparent belief that the moral views of the majority may properly be
enacted as the law of the land in regard to state-sanctioned same-sex
marriage in disregard of the personal status and living conditions of a
significant segment of our pluralistic society."
"Such a view is
not consistent with the evidence or the law as embodied in the Fifth
Amendment with respect to the thoughts expressed in this decision. The
court has no doubt about its conclusion: the Debtors have made their
case persuasively that DOMA deprives them of the equal protection of the
law to which they are entitled."
Turns out gay spouses can be together in sickness and in health -- and in debt.
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