One more step towards repealing federally licensed marital discrimination: A US bankruptcy court has ruled that DoMA is unconstitutional because it prevents same-sex spouses from filing joint bankruptcy.
Today, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, in Los Angeles, released an opinion finding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in a bankruptcy filing brought by a same-sex married couple, Gene Douglas Balas and Carlos A. Morales.
The underlying basis for the challenge was described by the court:
This case is about equality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, for two people who filed for protection under Title 11 of the United States Code (Bankruptcy Code). Like many struggling families during these difficult economic times, Gene Balas and Carlos Morales (Debtors), filed a joint chapter 13 petition on February 24, 2011. Although the Debtors were legally married to each other in California on August 20, 2008, and remain married today, the United States Trustee (sometimes referred to simply as “trustee”) moved to dismiss this case pursuant to Bankruptcy Code § 1307(c) (Motion to Dismiss), asserting that the Debtors are ineligible to file a joint petition based on Bankruptcy Code § 302(a) because the Debtors are two males.
It is important to note that the case was filed on Feb. 24, one day after President Barack Obama's position that Section 3 of DOMA was unconstitutional was announced in a letter sent from Attorney General Eric Holder to House Speaker John Boehner.
There’s little hope of this specific ruling leading to much in itself, but with all these accumulating (and increasingly successful) legal challenges against it, I’d say that DoMA’s future looks very bleak, indeed.