On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford, Connecticut issued a 104-page decision saying that a provision in the so-called “Defense of Marriage” Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. The ruling came in a case brought by GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) representing six married same-sex couples and a widower from Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont who sued after being denied federal benefits. Judge Bryant specified in her ruling that excluding lesbian and gay couples from federal marital benefits violates equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.
Appeals Courts in California, New York, and Massachusetts have also ruled provisions of DOMA unconstitutional, and the Obama administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the ongoing issues with the discriminatory legislation in its next session. On the heels of Judge Bryant’s decision are the results of a poll from the Pew Research Center suggesting a growth in support for marriage equality.
When reporting on this story, it is important that the media highlight the stories of couples like the plaintiffs in this case, to show the concrete harms caused by DOMA.