Thursday, 14 October 2010

Times: US appeals ruling authorising gay marriage
Thursday, 14th October 2010; AFP

The Obama Administration appealed a federal judge’s ruling giving the state of Massachusetts the right to authorise gay marriage.

In July, Boston-based US District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled that the 1996 federal law known as the Defence of Marriage Act (Doma), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, “imposes an unconstitutional condition on the receipt of federal funding”.

In its court filing, Justice Department lawyers said it was appealing the ruling and that its arguments would be presented in November.

Congress “has exceeded the scope of its authority” in passing the law, which limits marriage to men and women,”Judge Tauro wrote in his ruling.

The authority “to regulate marital status is a sovereign attribute of statehood” and not the federal government, he added.

The judge found that gay couples in Massachusetts, the first state to authorise gay marriage, must be granted the same rights as heterosexual couples when it comes to issues like health insurance.

Only six of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia – the US capital – currently allow gay marriage in the US.

Referenda on allowing gay marriage have been held in 31 US states, but all have failed to be approved.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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