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Friday, July 9, 2010

DOMA ruled unconstitutional 2x, what does it mean?

DOMA, the so-called Defense of [straight] Marriage Act, passed in 1996 and signed by Bill Clinton, is responsible for defining marriage--at the Federal level--as between only one man and one woman. Yesterday, after two separate trials involving couples in Massachussets, a Federal District Judge ruled--two separate times--that DOMA is unconstitutional.

This does not immediately mean that DOMA was overturned across the United States, however, and it is just binding over the Federal Government's interaction with couples in Massachusetts right now. Also, it can be stayed, appealed and ultimately needs to be decided by the Supreme Court for the ruling to be held across all of the United States.

So, what does it mean?

Rachel Maddow had a solid explanation on her show yesterday, the video clip is embedded on the blog here (click through if you can't see it):

Gay365 News has a great write-up of an interpretation of Judge Tauro's decisions, too. Go here.

If you're a Consitutional Law junkie, or just a detail nerd, here is the actual full text of ruling one and ruling two.

And for official reactions from various equality and LGBT legal groups, check here.

What are your thoughts on this ruling?

Thanks to Joe.My.God. for the updates and links.