Looking Forward: What are the Implications of Windsor on Section 2 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)?
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In US v. Windsor (2013) the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, meaning the federal government can no longer refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that are deemed legal under state law. Some scholars argue Windsor foreshadows the inevitable demise of Section 2 of DOMA, which currently permits a state to both define marriage as between one man and one woman and to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages consecrated outside its boundaries. On the contrary, in this thesis I will argue that Section 2 of DOMA is perfectly consistent with both constitutional and legal precedent, as well as the decision made in Windsor. Furthermore, Windsor has no dire implications on a state’s right to define marriage when one considers principles of federalism.