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Silver Lining for Churches in Second Circuit Deciding DOMA Is Unconstitutional?

Judge: "Law (federal or state) is not concerned with holy matrimony."

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The decision follows the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled against DOMA in May. But what's new is language noting the separation of civil marriage from religious marriage.

By a 2-to-1 vote in Windsor v. United States, the New York appeals court ruled that Section 3 of DOMA–which requires the federal government to treat same-sex couples as single–violates the Constitution's ability to provide homosexual couples equal protection under the Fifth Amendment. The issue is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, which has already been asked to review the First Circuit ruling.

Chief judge Dennis Jacobs wrote the majority opinion, in which the court stated, "Because DOMA is an unprecedented breach of longstanding deference to federalism that singles out same-sex marriage as the only inconsistency (among many) in ...

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