PA Judge Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

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Via Randy LoBasso, Legal Intelligencer brings us some incredible news:

Pa Judge Darnell Jones II gave the Department of Justice a chance to weigh in on the constitutionality of the Act in October before ruling on the case. The Department responded with a brief upholding the Obama administration’s vow to no longer defend DOMA, deeming it unconstitutional.

The case began when Jennifer Tobits, who married law firm partner Sarah Ellyn Farley in a 2006 Canadian civil union ceremony, argued that she was the sole heir to Farley’s estate, a claim that was upheld in an Illinois probate court ruling. Illinois did not recognize same-sex marriages in 2006, but it does now.

This entry was posted in Miscellany.

6 Responses to PA Judge Rules DOMA Unconstitutional

  1. Pennsylvania has a statute that declares civil unions that are lawfully created in other states "void" in Pennsylvania. On that basis, a county trial judge recently ruled that the surviving partner of a CU made in New Jersey could not be the "spouse" of her deceased partner, and was therefore not entitled to the zero percent death tax rate on the value of the deceased partner's property passing to the survivor. Instead, the 15% rate for transfers to "unrelated" or distantly related beneficiaries applied. It's not the role of county trial judges to declare a statute unconstitutional, so I'm hoping the decision gets appealed.

    • sara says:

      so you believe its ok, for this loving married couple to be denied the exact same benefits as you and your husband?On what grounds, do they dress different, is their love not as good as yours, do they not work and pay taxes just like you? DOMA is unconstitutional because in reality marriage is about love and love alone. Love makes a Family, and every family is entitled to the same benefits.

    • This is a FEDERAL judge, hence the consult with the DOJ, not a "county trial judge." Which is why the court was used for an INTERNATIONAL case (please note: Canada is not the 51st state).

      • Keith Romberg says:

        Wow Susan Very Condescending. You know that right? But all are entitled to the same benefits federally. Saying a same sex couple is not entitled to the same benefits you have is discriminatory. And to hide behind a law that discriminates against Couples who have been together in a committed relationship and would be married except for DOMA is just plain bigotry.

  2. Michael says:

    Amazing news! Go, PA!