Illinois same-sex couples will be delighted to know about the recent judgment passed by a federal appeals court regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled the law, which denied the right of same-sex marriage under the Defense of Marriage Act. The Act denied federal recognition of same-sex couples. The court, deciding a case brought by an 83-year-old lesbian, ruled that the law barring same-sex marriage is in violation of the constitutional right of equal protection.
In this particular case, a lesbian was not given the benefits of spousal deductions and was charged a large amount of estate tax. The woman filed a case against the federal government, requesting that the money be returned to her. The case also touched on several other issues, such as whether her same-sex marriage can be recognized in other states like Illinois, and if she should be taxed such a large amount in the absence of such recognition.
The appeals court upheld the judgment of the lower court, stating that DOMA is unconstitutional. The judgment held that American same-sex couples have faced a lot of discrimination, and a violation of their constitutional rights. The judgment has been welcomed by Democrats and legal analysts who think that the decision will help the same-sex community establish their rights when they present arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Several states in the U.S. have legally recognized same-sex marriage. However, Illinois and other four states recognize civil unions only. The rights granted under a civil union are similar to common law marriage. In Illinois, couples under civil unions get the same legal benefits that are given to a spouse under common law marriage.
Source: CNN, “Federal appeals court strikes down Defense of Marriage Act,” David Ariosto, Oct. 19, 2012