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DOMA ruled unconstitutional by California federal judge

DOMA trials

By Jacob Combs

In an order released yesterday, Judge Claudia Wilken of the Northern District of California ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional in a class-action tax lawsuit, Dragovich v. U.S. Department of Treasury, brought by a group of three California government employees and their same-sex partners.  Represented by the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center  (LAS-ELC), the three couples argued in court that their exclusion from CalPERS, California’s long-term care plan for government employees, violates their equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.

In her opinion, Judge Wilken, a Clinton appointee with chambers in Oakland, wrote that DOMA and parts of the Internal Revenue Code that prohibit same-sex couples in marriages or domestic partnerships from enrolling in CalPERS “violates the equal protection rights” of those couples.  She ordered CalPERS not to cite DOMA or those portions of the tax code to deny enrollment to same-sex couples, and prohibited the federal government from disqualifying CalPERS’s plans from preferential tax treatment.  In the opinion, Judge Wilken wrote that her decision will be stayed if it is appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

Wilkens is the third federal judge to strike down DOMA: the others were Judge Joseph Tauro of Massachusetts, whose 2010 decision is on appeal in the First Circuit, and Judge Jeffrey White of California, who ruled earlier this year and whose decision is planned for an appeal at the Ninth Circuit in September.  As in previous cases, the federal agencies listed in the suit as defendants chose not to defend the law, and the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) of the House of Representatives was allowed to intervene in their place.

In yesterday’s ruling, Judge Wilken noted that BLAG’s arguments were based almost entirely on two cases, Baker v. Nelson and Adams v. Howerton.  In Baker, which was decided in 1972, the Supreme Court issued a summary dismissal to an appeal of a Minnesota Supreme Court upholding the state’s marriage equality ban, stating that the case was “dismissed for want of a substantial federal question.”  BLAG argued that, because summary dismissals constitute decisions on the merits of lower court rulings, any case against DOMA was precluded by the Baker dismissal.  Wilken noted, however, that the Ninth Circuit had addressed Baker in its February ruling on the Prop 8 case, and that Baker should not apply to the case she was deciding because the plaintiffs in Dragovich already have legal recognition for their marriages under California law.

Adams, on the other hand, which was decided in 1982, concerned a same-sex couple comprised of a United States citizen and an Australian national who received a marriage license from a Colorado county clerk.  The couple sued the Immigration and Naturalization Service after a request by the U.S. citizen seeking permission for his partner to remain in the country as an “immediate relative” was denied.  The Ninth Circuit’s decision was based in part upon a 1965 amendment to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that excluded gays and lesbians as “inadmissible aliens.”  Wilken wrote that Adams is not controlling precedent on Dragovich because of judicial and legislative developments since the decision, predominantly Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down sodomy laws criminalizing gay sex, and an 1990 act by Congress that removed the INA provision cited in Adams.

Wilken’s determination that Baker and Adams did not apply to the case before her might seem like common sense, but they are in fact extremely important.  BLAG frequently cites Baker in the various DOMA cases being argued across the country, and Judge N. Randy Smith of the Ninth Circuit used Baker in his dissent from the appellate ruling striking down Proposition 8.  The truth is that Baker is not only outdated (it’s a forty-year old decision), it simply bears no resemblance to the judicial and legislative environment that we live in.  Even though the Supreme Court has not expressly reversed the Baker dismissal, it is clear that the case should not be used in deciding modern marriage equality litigation, and it’s a big deal when district judge after district judge affirms that.

Significantly, Judge Wilken did not go as far as Judge White did in his decision striking down DOMA on heightened scrutiny grounds.  Essentially, when a court considers an equal protection challenge of a law that applies certain rules to specific groups of people, that court must decide whether the group bringing the suit is subject to heightened or rational basis scrutiny. Under heightened scrutiny, a law must be shown to be “substantially related to an important government objective,” while under the more deferential rational basis test, a law only need be shown to be “rationally related” to a governmental interests to be upheld.

The current precedent in the Ninth Circuit regarding the scrutiny question for gays and lesbians is based on the 1990 case High Tech Gays, in which the appellate court ruled that constitutional questions based on sexual orientation should be considered under rational review.  That decision, however, was based on Bowers v. Hardwick, a Supreme Court case that upheld sodomy laws and was explicitly overturned in Lawrence v. Texas.  In his ruling, Judge White held that High Tech Gays should no longer be considered precedent and that heightened scrutiny should instead by used for sexual orientation-based constitutional challenges.  Judge Wilken, on the other hand, noted that the Ninth Circuit has continued to apply High Tech Gays even after Lawrence, and considered DOMA under rational basis review, which she determined it did not pass.  Wilken looked at all the reasons presented by BLAG as legitimate governmental interests for the legislation, and concluded that it was instead based on “anti-gay animus.”

As we’ve written before on P8TT, DOMA is without a doubt standing on its last legs.  Now that the law has been struck down by three federal judges and will be considered by at least two appeals courts in this year alone, it certainly seems like only a matter of time before it is history.  In the meantime, Judge Wilken’s ruling is another powerful determination of the inherent unfairness of laws that discriminate against gays and lesbians.



  • 1. MFargo  |  May 25, 2012 at 8:18 am


  • 2. Fan  |  May 25, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Just die, DOMA!!!

  • 3. Carpool Cookie  |  May 25, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I know. Can we PLEASE just move on?

    Who's defending DOMA now, except extremists? Or dum-dums?

  • 4. Gregory in SLC  |  May 25, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Indeed! DDD(like KKK) = DOMA DUM-DUMS

  • 5. Hachikō  |  May 25, 2012 at 8:45 am

    Dear John Boehner, stop using my tax dollars to defend your hate law! Stop it!

  • 6. Jerry  |  May 25, 2012 at 8:49 am

    does anyone knows what is the next step on DOMA ?

  • 7. jpmassar  |  May 25, 2012 at 8:56 am

    We await the Pedersen and Windsor decisions.

  • 8. Don  |  May 25, 2012 at 9:12 am

    The next 2 cases are the Gill case and the Mass. v. US case. They were consolidated and oral argument was held about a month ago before the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals. We are now awaiting a written decision on those cases. Those are the 2 most likely to go to the SCt. An excellent web site is
    This has a list of all outstanding DOMA cases as well as all the info on Gill and Mass.

  • 9. Str8Grandmother  |  May 26, 2012 at 6:55 am

    me too Don, I am just waiting for that decision from the 1st Circuit.

  • 10. MFargo  |  May 27, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Great link, Don. Thanks.

  • 11. Jamie  |  May 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

    It's interesting that that the judge included domestic partnerships. Does the decision indicate that the federal government has to recognize domestic partnerships and give them the same legal standing as marriage?

  • 12. Kathleen  |  May 25, 2012 at 11:10 am

    The plaintiffs amended their original complaint to include registered domestic partners in the class of plaintiffs challenging the law. The rationale is that, in California, registered DPs carry all the same benefits and rights (under state law) as marriages.

    Arthur Leonard did a pretty comprehensive post on this case back in January, when the judge decided the case would survive an attempt to have it dismissed. That post is here:

  • 13. Larry  |  May 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

    That raises a whole host of other questions. Assuming DOMA is ruled unconstitutional and the federal government starts recognizing same sex marriages, what would happen to people whose states only give domestic partnerships / civil unions? Actually, how do states treat that now? I know that, for instance, NJ would recognize a NY marriage as a civil union, but I have no idea if and how NY would recognize a NJ civil union.

  • 14. Kathleen  |  May 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Even if the feds begin to recognize marriages of same-sex couples, I wouldn't think that, in itself, would have any impact on how the feds treat DPs or civil unions. Whether or not the non-marriage unions are given the same benefits as marriage on a federal level would have to be addressed separately.

  • 15. Kalbo  |  May 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    When the time comes, we will get our marriage license in a marriage equality state that allows nonresidents to marry (if I still live in a state without full marriage equality), such as NY. As long as DOMA Sec. 3 is gone, the feds will recognize that license, and from there won't care where you reside within the US.

    However, until DOMA itself is gone (specifically Sec. 2), a state may still not recognize your marriage or offer a lesser designation, like CU or DP. I'm not as convinced those type of unions will hold up for the feds, which for us (bi-national) is paramount. It's an inverse situation of someone currently living in e.g. MA, where the state recognizes your marriage but the feds don't.

  • 16. Christie  |  May 25, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    yeah? I'm in same situation (bi-national)… wasn't sure if I HAD to reside in a state where marriage is legal or just marry there and live in another state? Thanks for info.

  • 17. Scott Wooledge  |  May 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Last year, Holder instructed the DOJ to consider the question if a civilly united couple in NJ qualified as family for the purposes of immigration application in a situation such as yours, a binational same-sex couple.

    This suggests to me, in matters of administrative measures, they may be looking at finding some elasticity on the definition of "married" as being somewhat open to intrpretation.

    The conservatives would scream bloody murder, but I am not sure if the agencies dot their i's and cross their T's they would have ground to object how an executive branch exercises discretion.

    And of course once precedent is created it's hard to walk back.

  • 18. Scott Wooledge  |  May 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    The question of if or how the Federal Gov't acknowledges all the separate but equal institutions is not at all clear.

    Personally, I think a friendly admin (read Democratic) COULD instruct their agencies to act as if civil unions are valid. A Republican admin would certainly not do so. And I am not sure anyone would have standing to challenge such a decision by the Executive branch, but I am SURE they'd try.

    But that's a whole another can of worms to open when DOMA is finally gone. And another mess conservatives have made in their efforts to stall the march to full equality under the law.

  • 19. Scott Wooledge  |  May 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    FYI, you last question, Gov Patterson institued a policy of NY recognizing out of state same-sex marriages in 2008. I think civil unions too. Which was kind of the stupid thing about it taking three more years to allow in-state marriages. Gay New Yorkers could take a short train hope over the NY/CT border and give their money to CT, and they were married.

    So, geez, just let them spend their money in state rather than planning destination weddings.

  • 20. Mike  |  May 25, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Maryland has been recognizing same sex marriages since the middle of May, 2010 when the state Attorney General Doug Gansler issued an opinion that said out-of-state, same-sex marriages may be recognized under Maryland law. Gansler's opinion was about six weeks after DC allowed marriage equality. It took two years before Maryland's highest court (Maryland Court of Appeals) effectively agreed when it ruled that Maryland should recognize the California marriage of a lesbian couple for the purpose of finalizing their divorce petition.

    Right now, many Maryland same-gendered couples travel to DC to get married (although that will almost certainly change on January 1, 2013).

  • 21. Sagesse  |  May 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    When DOMA is repealed or invalidated by the Supreme Court, the aftermath goes something like this:

    Domestic partnerships, even the ones that are 'everything but marriage' at the state level, are 'nothing like marriage' when married couples have access to all the federal benefits. There will be tremendous pressure on the states with DPs to go all the way to marriage, and they will. The ones that have state DOMAs in their constitutions will take longer. There will also be pressure on the states with nothing, who will skip DPs and go straight to marriage.

  • 22. Scott Wooledge  |  May 25, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I agree. DOMA going will build huge pressure on states like IL, RI, DE, HI and others to pass a marriage equality upgrade to their existing civil unions.

    It will probably be a fairly easy lift by then for those states. It's a pretty compelling argument that the M word is the only thing standing between their LGBT citizens and 1,100 Federal rights and benefits.

  • 23. Mike  |  May 25, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Remember, Article IV, Section 1 states that "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State."

    If SCOTUS rules against DOMA (and I fully expect it will by June 2014, if not by June 2013), any state that recognizes heterosexual marriages from other states (and they all do) will either quickly repeal any 'DOMA-like' provisions in their state constitutions, and/or SCOTUS will declare (actual or effectively) those provisions moot.

  • 24. Scott Wooledge  |  May 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Regarding Full Faith and Credit Clause don't forget the Constution has always had that invisible *asterisk.

    *Offer not valid to certain people we don't like, which may include, but is not limited to the gays.

  • 25. Mike  |  May 25, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Invisible to most, but who is it visible to?

    CONservatives? Bigots?

    Which applies to you?

  • 26. Scott Wooledge  |  May 26, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Not to me, but I don't have the power that say the Gov and Attorney General of Virginia have. Try pointing at the Full Faith and Credit clause and telling THEM they have to recognize gay marriage.

    Dollars to donuts they don't just say, "Ok. If that's what the Constitution says, I guess we have to!"

    It will be the next battle royale.

  • 27. Str8Grandmother  |  May 26, 2012 at 7:01 am

    The Court cases are not a challenge to Section 2 of DOMA only Section 3.

    Section 2. Powers reserved to the states
    No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

    Section 3. Definition of marriage
    In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

  • 28. Rafo  |  May 27, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Your post filled me with hope. Why do you expect the ruling to come in June 2014? What makes you say that? Is it that only your wish or do you base it on facts? I ask because I am trying to make big decisions involving whether to leave the US and return to my home country to be with my partner or to stay and try to get a Green Card and then marry him to bring him here. We have been together for 12 years, but he could not follow me when I decided to pursue my medical specialty, because of the immigration regulations. We have been apart for almost 4 years with brief meetings in between (and a lot of Skype) I have the chance of becoming a permanent resident in about 3 years (maybe less), but I just cannot bear the thought of a longer separation. Things seem to move at a glacial pace with the DOMA repeal, so I am seriously contemplating leaving everything I worked and sacrificed for in my career to be with him in our poor, imperfect and very conservative country. I am sure that DOMA will be repealed, I just need to know when!!!

  • 29. Scott Wooledge  |  May 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    It isn't likely a DOMA constitutional challenge will be heard and decided in 2013, based on where they are at the appeals level and how full the 2013 docket already is. (I think it may be closed, as in, accepting no new cases to be heard in 2013.)

    As the two First Circuit cases await only an Appeals court decision, and are kind of overdue, they could come down any day, it's entirely conceivable they could be appealed to the SCOTUS in the 2014 calendar docket. And Golinski could catch up with them, or be consolidated…

    I don't know what to tell you about how you plan your own life though. June 2014 is an optimistic, but not unrealistic time frame.

    There are just a thousand different factors that could speed it up (unlikely) or slow it down. And a slow down could be really significant, like 2 years or more, based on various appeals routes it could take, or the chance the SCOTUS refuses to hear an appeal (possible). It's really impossible to predict with any confidence a time frame for when DOMA will have it's day at Supreme Court right now.

    I think a greater area for optimism for binational couples may be the Obama administration instituting a discretionary freeze on deportations. Lavi Soloway is a good man to talk to about that.

  • 30. Fred  |  May 29, 2012 at 7:18 am

    What about Canadian marriages? I would think that the end of DOMA would mean that the Federal Government must also recognize foreign same-sex marriages. Does anyone know?

  • 31. B_Z  |  May 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Judge Smith did discuss _Baker_ in his dissent, but didn't rely on it. He said basically "Baker deserves more attention than the majority is giving it, and here's why. But it still may not apply in this case, so we'll let it go."

  • 32. Mike  |  May 25, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    The Dred Scott decision was precedent from the SCOTUS decision on March 6, 1857 until ratification of the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865, and then the 14th Amendment, ratified on July 9, 1868.

    When circumstances change, precedent may or may not apply. In Baker, it doesn't apply, as there was no Federal interest in the Baker case. Now, however, since DOMA (which is a Federal law that came into existence 24 years after Baker) applies, there IS a Federal interest in the case. Therefore, Baker is not precedent in this case.

  • 33. Str8Grandmother  |  May 26, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Thanks, nice description of Baker, I copied and saved that to a file.

  • 34. Michael  |  May 25, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I think it's interesting that they keep bringing up Baker citing the "want of a substantial federal question." While that may have been true in 1972, I would think that the existence of DOMA clearly presents a substantial federal question, since it is the first and only federal law governing the recognition of marriages for legal/tax purposes, and the source of all the confusion.

  • 35. Leo  |  May 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

    So far, in California, we have:
    * Judge Wilson (Lui v. Holder): both Adams and High Tech Gays are binding precedent
    * Judge White (Golinski): neither is binding
    * Judge Wilken (Dragovich): High Tech Gays is binding, but Adams is not.

  • 36. Cat  |  May 26, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Walker, Ware, Wilson, White, Wilken,…

    Anybody seeing a pattern here?

    Hurray for judges whos last name start with a W.

  • 37. Matt  |  May 25, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Paul Clement is going to have quite a poor standing in the history books. Not only did he lead the charge for the legality of government discrimination against an oppressed minority in 2012, but he lost badly, case after case.

    The writing is on the wall, Paul. If I were you, I would concede defeat and preserve what's left of your reputation.

  • 38. Straight Ally #3008  |  May 25, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Clement is the best they will be able to bring – so bring it, and be done with it. Let's see what they've got. If he really wants to charge into it, let him, and he'll damage his changes of ever being on the Supreme Court.

  • 39. Larry  |  May 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    I think his reputation will survive this. He's built up a career of being one of the country's top litigators. Take someone like William Jennings Bryan. Was his career and reputation destroyed by the fact he was on the wrong side of the Scopes Monkey Trial?

  • 40. Phillip K  |  May 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Eh, maybe but the thing is that Clement isn't losing just a single trial. He's losing a whole set of them and all related ones at that.

  • 41. Crystal Ball  |  May 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I don't think it matters to someone so blinded in their ideology. TEA party for example. It most likely furthers the support of a Clement SCOTUS justice nomination in a Romney administration.

  • 42. Scott Wooledge  |  May 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    I think like FDR and the Japanese internment camps his involvement will leave an indelible stain on his legacy. He took on a losing case and fought for the wrong side of history, like George Wallace, long after his contemporary peers could read the writing on the wall. And for what? Bigotry? Money? Whatever. It won't look good and it's a sorry final act for what could have been an ordinary career (and at least respectable, whatever reservations one might have about his politics).

  • 43. Mike  |  May 25, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    At least FDR and people in his administration started to recognize a mistake had been made, and started to allow people of Japanese descent to fight in World War II (although limited to European operations).

    We'll have to wait for a final decision on Clement (but I think the stain will be deeper and bolder on his reputation than the stain on FDR's reputation).

  • 44. Lymis  |  May 25, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    All he wil have to do is wait a brief period, and then announce that he fully supports equality, but that he supports our adversarial judicial tradition even more, and that he felt required (but, of course, deeply conflicted in his heart) to give it the best defense he could. Yay democracy!

    Nobody will buy it, but they'll be able to pretend they do.

  • 45. Scott Wooledge  |  May 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    George Wallace pulled that. He repudiated his racist past in his twilight years, did you know that?

    Many don't because his name is still synonymous with racist bigot to this day.

    Maybe Clement will have better luck.

  • 46. Str8Grandmother  |  May 26, 2012 at 7:11 am

    I clearly remember George Wallace repudiating his racist actions. Which goes to show, it is never to late to change. We must always be hopeful that our enemies can and will change.

  • 47. Sagesse  |  May 25, 2012 at 10:54 am


  • 48. Ljarnill  |  May 25, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Great news. DOMA is so discriminatory. DIE DOMA DIE! As long as DOMA exists I will always feel like a second class citizen.

  • 49. Federal judge in Californ&hellip  |  May 25, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    […] decision will be stayed if it is appealed to the Ninth Circuit. You may view the latest post at Rate this:Share this:EmailTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Posted by […]

  • 50. Scott Wooledge  |  May 25, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    The Rasputin of Federal laws. Whether we poison it, shoot it, stab it, toss it in a river, still it lives on. Just die already DOMA, will you please?

  • 51. Thriver  |  May 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    RE: Clement and BLAG.
    It reassures me that the highest legislative body in our country hires a lawyer who can't come up with anything better than what the Prop 8 folks threw out: 1) it's never been done before and 2) it's icky/immoral/against nature.
    If you look at the 1st circuit documents he is just spouting the same arguments which have been debunked before.

  • 52. Scott Wooledge  |  May 25, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    With all the talk that Clement was brilliant I was worried he might find a new magic bullet. Fortunately, no. He just rewarmed the same tired, nonsensical, failed arguments that lost Prop 8 and other cases. Whew! His first circuit briefs were a relief.

  • 53. Jeff Slayton  |  May 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Hurray! Now if only this would spread throughout the country!

  • 54. Don  |  May 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    A thorough legal analysis of why Baker is NOT binding can be found at:,v

    Because the discussion goes back to the Original Jurisdiction Statement, it shows that Baker has nothing to do with DOMA.

  • 55. Betsy Ritzman  |  May 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    When can I plan my Marriage??

  • 56. SeattleRobin  |  May 26, 2012 at 1:54 am

    I'm reading through the judge's order right now and noted an interesting case cite that I don't think I've seen used so far in these DOMA cases. She uses Palmore v Sidoti (evidently a child custody case) and quotes from the Supreme Court decision: "The Court stated, “Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect.”"

    She also referred to Perry (in which the main contention was that the existing right for same-sex couples to marry was removed) in an interesting way saying: "Section 3 of the DOMA eliminated numerous established federal rights generally available to married couples by precluding federal recognition of same-sex couples legally married under state law."

    I don't think I've seen the precise argument that DOMA *eliminates existing rights* in previous decisions, though I might have missed it. Rather it's usually just argued that it prevents equal rights from being applied.

  • 57. Steve  |  May 26, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Well, if you get technical, one could argue that that they weren't available to same-sex couples since they couldn't get married anywhere then

  • 58. devon  |  May 26, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Unfortunately, all the DOMA "victories" are stayed to allow the republicans to appeal. So the haters win either way.

  • 59. Str8Grandmother  |  May 26, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Come on First Circuit, hurry up!

  • 60. Rafo  |  May 27, 2012 at 1:19 am

    I am trying to make big decisions involving whether to leave the US and return to my home country to be with my partner or to stay and try to get a Green Card and then marry him to bring him here. We have been together for 12 years, but he could not follow me when I decided to pursue my medical specialty, because of the immigration regulations. We have been apart for almost 4 years with brief meetings in between (and a lot of Skype) I have the chance of becoming a permanent resident in about 3 years (by taking care of under served populations in a rural area), but I just cannot bear the thought of a longer separation. Things seem to move at a glacial pace with the DOMA repeal, so I am seriously contemplating leaving everything I worked and sacrificed for in my career to be with him in our poor, imperfect and very conservative country, where we cannot be truly free. I am sure that DOMA will be repealed, I just need to know when!!! I am contributing to the greatness of this country, take care of some of its less fortunate citizens, I have respected all the laws…my family deserves to be treated fairly.

  • 61. Bill S.  |  May 27, 2012 at 6:43 am

    The cases that will most likely make it to the Supreme Court are the two Massachusetts DOMA cases: Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, which challenges DOMA on 5th Amendment grounds and Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services, which challenges DOMA on 10th Amendment grounds. These cases have been fully briefed and argued before the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, and we are now waiting for a decision. This could come at any point, but I would say to realistically expect it by the end of the summer.

    The question then is if these cases will be re-heard by the 1st Circuit en banc, meaning all judges on that court (not just a randomly selected panel of three) hear the appeal. This could take another eight months to a year. From there, is the Supreme Court which would take another year. I believe that an en banc hearing is likely because I do believe that the courts will take this opportunity to answer the question of scrutiny, a change in which requires an en banc hearing.

    I would expect a final decision from the Supreme Court around the end of 2014/beginning of 2015.

  • 62. Scott Wooledge  |  May 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    irrespective of DOMA, I just gotta say, my momma always said prioritize your education over love. It's painful choice to make, but she was right. And in the long run it will pay off better for you both. (Don't over look most people divorce over money.)

    An attorney is what you need to plan out a strategy to bring your whole life together. Immigration law is a labyrinth, and a good attorney is not a luxury, but a necessity.

  • 63. Prop 8′s slow march&hellip  |  June 5, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    […] 31, 2012) Gill v. Office of Pers. Mgmt. (U.S. Dist. Mass. 2010) In re Levenson (9th Cir. 2009) Dragovich v. United States Dep’t of the Treasury (N.D. Cal. May 24, 2012) Golinski v. United States Office of Pers. Mgmt. (U.S. Dist. N.D. Cal. […]

  • 64. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  July 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    […] court in California struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional in Dragovich v. US Department of the Treasury on May 24. On June 26, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) who is defending the law on […]

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