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The End of DOMA and Why Same-Sex Marriage Bans Will End

by Jordan E. Trager

Two recent actions taken by the federal courts spell the demise of DOMA and the unconstitutional bans on same-sex marriage. The first comes from the US Supreme Court, which rejected appeals by five states seeking to preserve their bans. The second comes from the 9th Circuit Court, which struck down bans in Idaho and Nevada, and paved the way for striking down similar bans in Montana, Arizona and Alaska. If the actions of the 9th Circuit Court are upheld and applied to all of the states in that Circuit, only fifteen states will then have bans in place.

How the remaining bans will end will likely come from the Circuit Courts, of which there are eleven in total. Excluding the 9th Circuit, all of the remaining states where bans still exist are located within four Circuit Courts, the 5th, 6th, 8th, and 11th. It is there that the demise of DOMA may very well come, as the Supreme Court has been hesitant to take on this issue directly.

Federal judges of the District Courts of all four states located in the 6th Circuit have already declared such bans unconstitutional, and the matter is now pending before the 6th Circuit Court where it could very well be struck down as well. Were the 6th Circuit Court to follow in the footsteps of the 9th, another four bans could fall, leaving only eleven states left. Appeals have already been taken to the 5th Circuit Court, the 11th Circuit Court, and the 8th Circuit Court where two states, Minnesota and Iowa, already recognize same-sex marriage.

While the Supreme Court may be waiting to see what these remaining Circuit Courts do, this will only delay the inevitable end of DOMA. Eventually, and probably fairly soon, these bans will end and DOMA will be a thing of the past.