Divorce Mediation Blog

The Defense of Marriage Act: Defending the Indefensible

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Since 2004, gays and lesbians have been legally free to marry in Massachusetts. That is now the law in six (6) states and the District of Columbia. Yet, by congressional action, signed into law by President Clinton, legally married couples here are not legally married for any federal purpose, nor is their status respected in most other states.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (declaring a marriage as only between one man and one woman for all federal law purposes and relieving other states of any obligation to recognize a same sex marriage permissibly created in another state) denies same sex spouses more than a thousand benefits, including the right to file joint tax returns, to have tax privileged spousal medical benefits and access to many social security and veterans survivors benefits. In divorce, gays and lesbians may not transfer property without taxation at the time of divorce, cannot claim alimony tax deductions and are prohibited from transferring pension assets without triggering tax consequences, which can be sometimes catastrophic; rights that all hetero-sexual married couples take for granted.

A group of plaintiffs sued in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in the case of Gill v. O.P.M. and 2 companion cases, seeking to have DOMA declared unconstitutional. After defending DOMA and losing in the trial court, the Obama Administration declined to defend it again in the appeal of Judge Joseph Tauro’s judgment wherein he declared DOMA to be unconstitutional. The Department of Justice declared the statute indefensible. The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, agreed with Judge Tauro and upheld his judgment.

The next stop for this controversy is the United States Supreme Court, where others will stand in as surrogates for the federal government in seeking to reverse the First Circuit’s decision, doing what the current government refuses to do: defend the indefensible.

Get e-mail notifications of new blog posts! Enter email address below.:

Delivered by FeedBurner

other articles

recent posts


support orders alimony orders divorce arbitration divorce mediator annulment Obamacare Self-adjusting alimony orders Boston divorced Massachusetts alimony and child support Child Support Guidelines Baseball Arbitration Same Sex Marriage Family Law Arbitration alimony statute Massachusetts lawyers divorce agreement Massachusetts alimony lawyer divorce mediation divorce and family law arbitrators Cohabitation litigation The Seven Sins of Alimony family law arbitrators lawyer-attended mediation pre-ARA alimony Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC Defense of Marriage Act divorce judgment MLB labor agreement Massachusetts Baseball Players family support Divorce family law mediation disputes IRC §2704 alimony reform legislation health insurance alimony mediation divorce arbitrators how baseball arbitration works divorce arbitrator med/arb traditional negotiations Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act Uniform Arbitration Act mediations Baseball private dispute resolution health coverage divorce and family law mediators mediators family law LDRC resolve disputes DOMA alimony law special master conciliation Massachusetts divorce mediators COLA Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Matrimonial Arbitration Divorce Agreements SJC dispute resolution divorce process arbitrator Major League Baseball Arbitration divorce mediations Levine Dispute Resolution Center facilitated negotiations family mediation med-arb arbitration Massachusetts divorce lawyers lawyers self-adjusting alimony divorce mediators divorce lawyers separation medical benefits Levine Dispute Resolution General term alimony mediator divorce litigation high-risk methodology Levine Dispute Resolutions Alimony Reform Act fraud child support rehabilitative alimony family law arbitrator Chouteau Levine Act Reforming Alimony in the Commonwealth family and probate law disputes