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Mass. federal judge rules Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional

ADF vows to continue fight against attempts of judges to radically redefine marriage at state and federal level
“Just Who do We Think We Are?”

BOSTON — A federal judge granted summary judgment Thursday to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in a decision against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which declares the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.  Judge Joseph L. Tauro of the Massachusetts District Court issued a ruling denying a USDHHS motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought on by the state, proclaiming that the federal DOMA, which defines marriage as one man and one woman, violates the 5th and 10th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

“Individual states shouldn’t have the right to impose a radical redefinition of marriage on the rest of the country,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Austin R. Nimocks.  “This judge’s claim that there’s no reason whatsoever for marriage to be defined as one man and one woman should go down as one of the most outrageous rulings in court history.  This is another example of the dangers of judges usurping law-making authority and ripping public policy decisions out of the proper hands.”

“We should be strengthening and protecting marriage, not allowing a single judge to radically change it,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum.  “Judges shouldn’t have the power to deny children their right to be raised by a mom and a dad, but this judge has said that moms and dads don’t matter to kids.  More damage to marriage means more broken families.  Broken families harm society, especially children, but this judge hasn’t counted that cost in his radical ruling.”

Judge Tauro’s decision could have wide-ranging significant effects on all states across the nation, especially ones where marriage is protected by the Defense of Marriage Act.  The ruling could be a major stepping stone for activist groups advocating the homosexual agenda to redefine marriage across America to include partnerships between same-sex couples.

“Marriage has always been defined as one man and one woman by the federal government,” continued Raum.  “In fact, it was a condition of statehood that marriage be defined as one man and one woman during the polygamy battle in the 19th Century.  ADF will continue to defend marriage at the state and federal level.”

In the ruling, Tauro stated that it was unconstitutional for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to deny the state of Massachusetts particular funding for same-sex couples “married” within the state.  The lawsuit Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The Commonwealth ruling springboards off its companion case, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, a lawsuit decided the same day by the same judge in the same court.  Tauro’s decision in Gill sided with same-sex couples “wed “ in Massachusetts who were denied government benefits extended to heterosexual married couples.  Tauro issued an order and a decision favoring the couples, declaring DOMA unconstitutional.


ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.