New York Appeals Court Rules Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A federal appeals court in New York City ruled the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional today, becoming the second federal appeals court in the nation to do so after a similar decision in Boston this year. The 2–1 opinion in the case of Edith Windsor ruled that defining marriage as between one man and one woman violates equal protection. For the first time, a 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the standing of homosexuals justifies heightened scrutiny in laws like DOMA because the group meets four factors, including that they "have historically endured persecution and discrimination" and remain "a politically weakened minority." A date with the Supreme Court creeps closer.