Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Deconstructing DOMA

by Geoffrey Stone

The Huffington Post
July 20, 2010

In his recent decision in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, federal judge Joseph L. Tauro held unconstitutional Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In reaching this result, Judge Tauro, who was appointed by Richard Nixon, addressed a subtle but important issue of constitutional law.

The federal government provides many benefits to married couples. For example, the spouse of a federal employee is entitled to medical coverage, the spouse of an individual covered by Social Security is eligible for retirement and survivor benefits, and married couples who file joint tax returns usually pay considerably lower federal income taxes than individuals who file separately.