Today, a Federal Appeals Court in New York ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act — which defines marriage on the federal level as the union between one man and one woman — is unconstitutional on the grounds that DUH, LEGALLY ENSHRINED DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GAY PEOPLE IS NOT OKAY. I'm paraphrasing here.
Two of the 2nd Circuit's three judges agreed with the plaintiff in the case, 83-year-old Edith Windsor that gays and lesbians were entitled to more protection from the courts on the grounds that the general public, historically, can't really be trusted to not act like a bunch of gay-hating garbage people.
Windsor's story is a heartbreaking one. In 1967, she became engaged to Thea Clara Spyer, and in 2007, the pair wed in Canada. Two years later, in 2009, Spyer died and left all of her property to Windsor. But because Windsor and Spyer's marriage wasn't legally recognized on the federal level, Windsor was stuck with a $363,000 estate tax bill. If Spyer had been a man, the money would have passed to her freely.
Because President Obama has said that he believes that DOMA is unconstitutional and has stopped dispensing his Department of Justice to defend it in the courts, the group defending the law against Windsor was appointed by Republicans from the House of Representatives. Proponents of DOMA claim that the government needs a federally mandated definition of marriage because it will save the government money, plus it's in the government's best interest to encourage procreation among its citizens. Seriously. That's their defense.
The 2nd Circuit's ruling today upheld a lower court that also sided with gay rights advocates, and other same sex marriage cases are piling up all over the court system. Many judicial system nerds predict that the Supreme Court could tackle DOMA during this term.