|THE RULING ON THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT.
The Osgood File. Sponsored by Sage - turning numbers into knowledge your business can use. Make your business smarter and your life easier with services from Sage. This is Dave Ross.
The Defense of Marriage Act is one step closer to the Supreme Court, now that a lower court has ruled 2-to-1 that it's unconstitutional. And wait 'til you hear the reason!
More after this from Charlie...
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The lower court ruling does not overturn the entire Defense of Marriage Act - states would still be free to ignore same sex marriages from other states.
But the judges did rule that if a same sex couple is married in a state where it's legal, the Federal Government has no right to treat that marriage any differently.
SOT - Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute
"We're very disappointed..." (:01)
Kris Mineau is with the Massachusetts Family Institute, which hopes the Supreme Court will overturn this decision.
SOT - Kris Mineau
"It's an assault on what the fundamental definition of what 'marriage' is." (:04)
But, the lower court's decision is based on the Supreme Court's own precedents - and one precedent, in particular: states' rights - which says that the Federal Government cannot just up and tell states what to do, or impose burdens on them, unless there's a sufficient reason.
The same philosophy, by the way, which conservatives are using to try to stop the Obama health care law.
The judges pointed out that the Supreme Court itself has recently affirmed that the definition of marriage has traditionally been up to the states - and is none of the Federal Government's business.
And if a state decides same sex couples can marry, the Federal Government must honor that definition when paying benefits - which is why Bette Jo Green and her partner filed suit in the first place.
SOT - Bette Jo Green
"Both of us are cancer survivors. She will not be able to get survivors benefits from me and through Social Security. It makes an enormous difference in our planning." (:11)
But, don't count your benefits just yet.
Even though the lower court cited the Supreme Court's own rulings - going back over a hundred years - that marriage is strictly a state matter, the lower court judges also acknowledged that the Supreme Court is free to do whatever it wants ... including, contradict itself.
The Osgood File. Dave Ross on the CBS Radio Network.