Understanding the Laws: Defense of Marriage Act

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a law signed by President Clinton in 1996.  This law is designed to keep gay marriage an issue of the individual states.  DOMA states that the federal government will not recognize a gay marriage performed in a state where it's legal - and that a state where gay marriage is not legal does not have to recognize a gay marriage performed in a state where it is.

For example, my gay marriage would not be recognized if I moved to, for example, Georgia (where I would love to live, incidentally).  And if I had married an Irish citizen, she would not get her green card by marrying me.  And this law also means that when Jen and I file our US tax returns, we file single returns, not joint returns (and we lose money). 

If this sounds complicated, just imagine the implications of gay divorce - these NY Times articles are depressing!

There is a lawsuit filed by GLAD to challenge DOMA but it has already been dismissed by the U.S. Justice Department.  It will take an act of Congress or Supreme Court ruling to repeal this law.

Do you know anyone who has been affected by the strange law known as the Defense of Marriage Act? 

Friday, November 20, 2009 | Permalink

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