When Gene Balas and Carlos Morales got legally married in California in 2008, they didn’t premeditate the illness, hospitalization, and extended periods of unemployment that would eventually drive them to declare bankruptcy. They filed a joint petition for Chapter 13 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court—something DOMA doesn’t usually allow same-sex couples to do—and in a stunning ruling, the Central District of California found the burden imposed by DOMA on the gay couple unconstitutional.
In their opinion, the court added that, “[No] valid governmental interest is advanced by DOMA as applied to the Debtors,” and that “the government’s only basis for supporting DOMA comes down to an apparent belief that the moral views of the majority may properly be enacted as the law of the land.” Then 20 of the district’s 24 bankruptcy judges signed the ruling to express their agreement.
Why is this a good thing?
For one, “the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which is defending the Defense of Marriage Act in several other cases” ultimately didn’t bother to challenge Balas and Morales’ filing, signifying a possible reluctance to do in future cases and the likelihood that other courts may soon rule in favor of other legally married gay couples seeking bankruptcy.
Secondly, the Bankruptcy Court basically put the rights of legally married Americans to settle their financial debt over the arbitrary aims of DOMA. Uniformity in financial law helps the government and its citizens manage their finances in a dependable and predictable process. In this way, DOMA is bad for businesses, courts, and gay couples all around.
It’s interesting that the latest push against DOMA is thus not just a plea for civil rights, but a move towards uniform financial law.
Could this be a step toward tearing down DOMA? When 20 out of 24 judges agree that the DOMA serves no “valid governmental interest” that’s a BIG deal.
Those judges, based on reports, span the political spectrum, so it’s just not so-called “activist judges” playing patsy with financial law. They’re saying that in this case it’s *unconstitutional*.
I hope our resident legal people will weigh in, because this seems to be an unexpected move.
I can’t wait to see what NOM & their posse say about how those judges destroying marriages, families, & the entire economy!
AHHHHHHHH… Where is Maggie G????
QUICK CHICKEN LITTLE, THE SKY IS FALLING!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Want to hear me sing “And the wa-aalls come tum-blin do-owwn” while I do my happy dance? No, you don’t & neither do my neighbors or my pet fish.
@B.: Where are ye? You know more about the Constimitution than anyone I know here!
If the reports are anywhere near accurate, this a big step. For opponents to appeal will be difficult, as they did not present anything at all at trial.
I would like to read the actual ruling, not just news reports. So far, I haven’t found it. Does anyone have the url?
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