U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Bryant, a George W. Bush appointee, ruled on Tuesday that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in unconstitutional.
DOMA, Bryant ruled “fails to pass constitutional muster under even the most deferential level of judicial scrutiny.” From the ruling:
In sum, having considered the purported rational bases proffered by both BLAG and Congress and concluded that such objectives bear no rational relationship to Section 3 of DOMA as a legislative scheme, the Court finds that no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision. The provision therefore violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The full decision is embedded below.
Attorney General Eric Holder decided that the Justice Department would no longer defend the 1996 law early last year, and Bryant ruled there was “no evidence that the Attorney General’s decision was the result of anything but his independent assessment.”
House Republicans had hired former Solicitor General Paul Clement to defend DOMA’s constitutionality on behalf of the House of Representatives.
As Chris Geidner reports, the Supreme Court is facing several requests to take up a case examining the constitutionality of the law.