A Symbolic Victory for Marriage Equality

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By Kate Paine, Esq.

Earlier today, the a three-judge panel from the First Circuit Court of Appeals became the first federal appeals panel to rule on the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA.  The panel unanimously agreed that Section 3 — which limits the definition of “marriage” for federal purposes to a union between one man and one woman as husband and wife — is unconstitutional as applied to lawfully-married same-sex couples.  Nevertheless, because decisions of the First Circuit are binding only on those states in its jurisdiction (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, as well the territory of Puerto Rico), the First Circuit also stated that its ruling will not be enforced until the United States Supreme Court rules on the issue of Section 3’s constitutionality.  

Until the Supreme Court so rules, the First Circuit’s decision represents only a symbolic victory for marriage equality. 

Read the entire article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/us/appeals-court-rules-against-federal-marriage-act.html.

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