Reconstructing Marriage

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals  today ruled Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. The ruling upholds the granting of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff issued by the Southern District Court of New York in Windsor v. United States, 833 F. Supp.2d 394 (2012). There are appeals in several cases currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, which could choose to take up the issue in its current term. Two members of the three-judge panel ruled in favor of Edith Windsor, an 83-year old woman who argued that the 1996 law discriminates against gay couples in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The American Civil Liberties Union which represented the plaintiff issued a press release about the first federal appeals court decision to decide that government discrimination against gay people gets a more exacting level of judicial review, known as “heightened scrutiny.” For more on the subject, see the Brooklyn Law School Library copy of Reconstructing Marriage: The Legal Status of Relationships in a Changing Society

 by Caroline Sörgjerd (Call #KKV542 .S67 2012). The book explores what the meaning of marriage today, how has marriage been influenced by the legal recognition of new cohabitation models, and what should be the role of the institution of marriage in the future. With a focus on Sweden, it examines the historical development of marriage – beginning as a “gift from God” and now being a gender-neutral institution – from a legal and political perspective and taking into account the past and present role of the Church of Sweden. The book then makes comparative assessments concerning the legal and political developments leading toward the adoption of gender-neutral marriage concepts in the Netherlands and Spain despite different societal backgrounds.