Bush Appointee Strikes Down DOMA, Citing Historic Discrimination Against Gays And Lesbians

From Think Progress:   http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/07/31/617231/bush-appointee-strikes-down-doma-citing-historic-discrimination-against-gays-and-lesbians/

By Zack Ford
on Jul 31, 2012

Another court has overturned the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, ruling in Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management that “no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision.” Judge Vanessa L. Bryant, a district judge in the Second Circuit appointed by President George W. Bush, therefore ruled that DOMA “violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

The suit was brought by same-sex couples living in Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire who argued they were unfairly denied access to various programs available to other married couples. House Republicans, under the guise of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) and Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) leadership, intervened at taxpayer expense to defend the anti-gay statute. In her decision, Bryant took BLAG to task for attempting to rewrite the past by claiming that gays and lesbians have not been subject to discrimination throughout history:

The fact that the concept of homosexuality as a distinct category or class wasn’t fully recognized until the late nineteenth century is not indicative of an absence of a long history of discrimination in light of the long standing proscriptions on homosexual conduct – conduct that is central if not tantamount in some sense to identity. Moreover, the pervasiveness of the “closet” in which homosexuals purposefully hid their sexualities could very well explain why it was only in the late nineteenth century that conceptions of homosexual identity emerged as gay Americans moved into cities and began tentatively stepping out of the closet. […]

Continue reading at:   http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/07/31/617231/bush-appointee-strikes-down-doma-citing-historic-discrimination-against-gays-and-lesbians/

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