A second federal appeals court ruled against the Defense of Marriage Act today, rejecting as unconstitutional the law that denies federal benefits to married same-sex couples.
The story of the couple behind the lawsuit that led to the ruling illustrates why DOMA is not just unconstitutional, but muttonheaded.
DOMA defenders argue that only heterosexual marriages are good for society, because only heterosexual couples can produce offspring. Never mind that more than half of straight couples divorce and many don’t have children. They also argue that same-sex marriage constitutes a radical change to the very fabric of our society and threatens heterosexual marriage in some way. Yet as this case shows, same-sex unions have been around for a long time and they are not going away.
The plaintiff, Edith Windsor, is 83 and hardly a wild-eyed, new-age radical. She married Thea Spyer in