U.S. judge rules against DOMA


A second federal judge in California has struck down a law denying benefits to partners in a gay marriage.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken also struck down on May 24 another law limiting tax benefits for state employees with domestic partners.

Wilken says the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act violated constitutional standards when it denied federal benefits to same-sex spouses married under California law and barred domestic partners of state workers from long-term health coverage.

Wilken says both laws were based on what she calls “moral condemnation” of same-sex couples.

Attorney Elizabeth Kristen of the Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Center in San Francisco told the Chronicle, “It’s a huge validation of civil rights for gay and lesbian Californians.”

A San Francisco judge also declared the federal law unconstitutional in February in a separate case. That ruling is under appeal and will go before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September.

There also have been two federal rulings against DOMA in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

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