NEW YORK, NY, October 18, 2012, ( – This morning Chief Justice Dennis Jacobs issued a ruling striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. 

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals voted against the measure 2-1, with Judge Chester Straub, a Clinton appointee, dissenting.

Justice Jacobs deemed homosexuals a “politically powerless minority” and decided “DOMA’s classification of same-sex spouses was not substantially related to an important government interest. Accordingly, we hold that Section 3 of DOMA violates equal protection and is therefore unconstitutional.”


Jacobs was appointed to the court by President George H.W. Bush.

In his minority opinion, Justice Straub wrote, “Courts should not intervene where there is a robust political debate, because doing so poisons the political well, imposing a destructive anti-majoritarian constitutional ruling on a vigorous debate.  Courts should not entertain claims like those advanced here, as we can intervene in this robust debate only to cut it short.”

Signed by Clinton in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act prevents the federal government from recognizing same sex “marriages” and allows states the choice not to recognize such unions performed in other states.

President Obama recently ended the Justice Department’s defense of DOMA and came out publicly in support of same sex “marriage.”

This is the second appeals court to rule the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional after a Boston court struck it down in May.  Both cases will likely make their way to the Supreme Court.