DOMA and the Same Sex Marriage Debate

This past Thursday the 1st Circuit held that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional on equal protection grounds.  If you want to learn more about the debate surrounding DOMA and same sex marriage, the library owns several resources that discuss the issues.  Listed below are a few of the more current sources on the topic.

Alison M. Smith, Cong. Research Serv., RL 31994, Same Sex Marriages: Legal Issues (2012)

Summary: The recognition of same-sex marriages generates debate on both the federal and state levels. Currently, federal law does not recognize same-sex marriages. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), P.L. 104-199, prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages and allows individual states to refuse to recognize such marriages performed in other states. This report discusses DOMA and legal challenges to it. It reviews legal principles applied to determine the validity of a marriage contracted in another state and surveys the various approaches employed by states to enable or to prevent same-sex marriage. This report also examines House and Senate resolutions introduced in previous Congresses proposing a constitutional amendment and limiting federal courts’ jurisdiction to hear or determine any question pertaining to the interpretation of DOMA.

Jaye Cee Whitehead, The Nuptial Deal: Same-Sex Marriage and Neo Liberal Governance (2012)

Summary from University of Chicago Press Books:  Since the 1990s, gay and lesbian civil rights organizations have increasingly focused on the right of same-sex couples to marry, which represents a major change from earlier activists’ rejection of the institution. Centering on the everyday struggles, feelings, and thought of marriage equality activists, The Nuptial Deal explores this shift and its connections to the transformation of the United States from a welfare state to a neo-liberal one in which families carry the burden of facing social problems.

Caroline Sorgjerd, Reconstructing Marriage: The Legal Status of Relationships in a Changing Society (2012)

Summary from Intersentia Press: In Reconstructing Marriage – The Legal Status of Relationships in a Changing Society Caroline Sörgjerd explores the essence of the institution of marriage: what is the meaning of marriage today, how has marriage been influenced by the legal recognition of new cohabitation models and what should be the role of the institution of marriage in the future?

The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families: Hearing on S. 598 Before the S. Comm. on the Judiciary, 112th Cong. 1 (2011)(written testimony of the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law).

Summary: Discussion and statistical analysis of the effects of the Defense of Marriage Act on same-sex couples in the United States.

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