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June 20, 2005

California Court upholds DOMA

From the Christian Post:

The Federal Defense of Marriage Act does not violate the U.S. Constitution, said a California court on Thursday in a ruling that upheld a 1996 law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

In the case of Smelt v. Orange County, U.S. District Judge Gary Taylor denied the request of Christopher Hammer and Arthur Smelt, who sought the right to marriage, arguing that California’s marriage laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.

Taylor reasoned that although the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) deals specifically with matters of sexual orientation, the law is constitutional because it is in the interest of the government to support unions that allow procreation.

“The Court finds it is a legitimate interest to encourage the stability and legitimacy of what may reasonably be viewed as the optimal union for procreating and rearing children by both biological parents,” wrote Taylor.

In refusing to rule on the constitutionality of California’s marriage laws and deferring to the state to make that decision, Taylor upheld the federal DOMA, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and does not require states to recognize same-sex unions performed in other states. To date, only two other rulings—in Washington state and Florida—have addressed the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Earlier this year, a San Francisco judge ruled that California’s marriage laws violate the state constitution. The decision is on hold, however, until an appeal filed by the state attorney general is decided upon.

But this is a lower court ruling, and other similar cases will also be making their way upwards to higher courts. California is within the jurisdiction of the notoriously Liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (aptly nicknamed the 9th Circus)

Posted by Danny Carlton at June 20, 2005 07:32 AM

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