781.708.4445

wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com

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


tags

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