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The U.S. Supreme Court made waves today when it decided to hear challenges to two major gay marriage cases.One of those cases is a challenge to Section 3 of the defence of Marriage Act, which bars the federal government from recognising same-sex marriages.
The Supreme Court will almost certainly overturn DOMA, according to two prominent law professors.
“I think this will be the final chapter for DOMA,” Suzanne Goldberg, director of the sexuality and gender law clinic at Columbia Law School, told Business Insider. “It means the federal government will not be able to ignore gay couples’ marriages.”
States that allow gay marriage have argued DOMA violates states‘ rights by not recognising those marriages.
That’s an argument that could sway even the relatively right-leaning John Roberts, according to Doug NeJaime, who teaches law and sexuality at Loyola Law School.
Historically, the federal goverment has deferred to states’ definition on marriage, NeJaime told BI.
“It wouldn’t be shocking if Justice Roberts found DOMA problematic,” NeJaime told BI. “He would be bothered by the fact that the federal government is stepping into an issue that could be a state law area.”
If the high court does overturn DOMA, gay couples will get to enjoy the federal tax, immigration, and health care benefits that straight couples enjoy, Goldberg pointed out.
The court will likely hear arguments in March.
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