Bankruptcy Court Says DOMA is Unconstitutional

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com June 14 2011 1:35 PM ET

A federal bankruptcy court in Los Angeles ruled Monday that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional in relation to a case involving a gay couple who filed for bankruptcy in February.

The ruling was signed by 20 of the 25 judges in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles.

Metro Weekly reports that Gene Balas and Carlos Morales, who were legally married in California in 2008, filed for bankruptcy protection under Title 11 of the U.S. Code. The couple had been struggling financially after dealing with serious illnesses and unemployment. The United States Trustee moved to dismiss this case, citing DOMA.

Under the direction of President Obama, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the day before Balas and Morales's bankruptcy filing that it would no longer defend DOMA in court. While the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has decided to defend DOMA in court on the government's behalf, it did not intervene in this case.

"In the court’s final analysis, the government’s only basis for supporting DOMA comes down to an apparent belief that the moral views of the majority may properly be enacted as the law of the land in regard to state-sanctioned same-sex marriage in disregard of the personal status and living conditions of a significant segment of our pluralistic society," the court wrote. "Such a view is not consistent with the evidence or the law as embodied in the Fifth Amendment with respect to the thoughts expressed in this decision. The court has no doubt about its conclusion: the Debtors have made their case persuasively that DOMA deprives them of the equal protection of the law to which they are entitled."