By doing so it violates basic due process and equal protection principles applicable to the Federal Government. Responsibilities, as well as rights, enhance the dignity and integrity of the person.And DOMA contrives to deprive some couples married under the laws of their State, but not other couples, of both rights and responsibilities.The majority opinion stated, "It is easy to conclude that homosexuals have suffered a history of discrimination." Thus they were part of a quasi-suspect class that deserves any law restricting its rights to be subjected to intermediate scrutiny.Because DOMA could not pass that test, Judge Jacobs wrote, it is unconstitutional under the equal protection guarantees of the Fifth Amendment."Our straightforward legal analysis sidesteps the fair point that same-sex marriage is unknown to history and tradition, but law (federal or state) is not concerned with holy matrimony.Government deals with marriage as a civil status—however fundamental—and New York has elected to extend that status to same-sex couples." Like the lower court, the Second Circuit held that the Spyer-Windsor marriage was valid under New York law, citing precedents on that question from several state appellate court decisions, two of which preceded Spyer's death. When New York adopted a law to permit same-sex marriage, it sought to eliminate inequality; but DOMA frustrates that objective through a system-wide enactment with no identified connection to any particular area of federal law.
Where BLAG had argued that the Spyer-Windsor marriage was not recognized by New York law at the time of Spyer's death – a prerequisite for Windsor's claim against the IRS – Jones cited the "informal opinion letters" of the state's governor, attorney general, and comptroller to the contrary along with several opinions in New York appellate courts.
In May 2008, New York Governor David Paterson had ordered state agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
Some lower-level state courts had made similar rulings, but whether the state's highest court would give such a ruling the force of law, as Windsor's claim for a refund required, remained uncertain Windsor at first asked several gay rights advocacy groups to represent her, but none would take the case.
Windsor noted in a statement that when she and her partner met nearly 50 years earlier that they never dreamed their marriage would land before the Supreme Court "as an example of why gay married couples should be treated equally, and not like second-class citizens." Noting that her deceased wife would be proud, Windsor added, "The truth is, I never expected any less from my country." The Court held that the Constitution prevented the federal government from treating state-sanctioned heterosexual marriages differently from state-sanctioned same-sex marriages, and that such differentiation "demean[ed] the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects." The answer may be found in Windsor's brief, in which she argues that DOMA operates to say "that married gay couples aren't genuinely married at all but are instead 'similarly situated' to unmarried people. DOMA's principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.
DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect. The principal purpose is to impose inequality, not for other reasons like governmental efficiency.
This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage.