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DOMA Ruling Stirs States’ Rights Debate

DOMA Ruling Stirs States’ Rights Debate


A federal judge upheld the state rights of Massachusetts in ruling a section of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, but gay rights are hardly a rallying cry for a number of limited-government advocates. Will groups like the Tea Party be forced to come to terms with marriage equality in order to hold true to their states' rights principles?

According to The New York Times,one of the two decisions from Judge Joseph Tauro of the U.S. district court in Boston handed a victory to Tenth Amendment boosters, but it arrives in the form of an issue, same-sex marriage, that generates mixed feelings for many states' rights advocates.

"But in using the argument to support gay marriage in Massachusetts, where the case arose, the judge created an awkward new debating point within the less-government movement about where social goals and government policy intersect, or perhaps collide," reports the Times.

Some limited-government activists argue that the ruling, if logically extended, would provide the basis to remove the federal government from other issues, like health care and education. Another view is that the ruling provides an opportunity to assess which states' rights advocates are acting on a uniform principle and which pick and choose their battles based on partisan beliefs.

Read more about the emerging debate here.

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Julie Bolcer