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  • DOMA Falls!

    Today was a historic day for the gay-rights movement! AMSA applauds the decision announced by the Supreme Court of the United States holding (5-4) the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

    “Today was historic in the gay-rights movement and AMSA commends the DOMA ruling as a significant step toward eliminating disparities for same-sex partners,” says Dr. Nida Degesys, AMSA national president. “Now, more than ever, we need to keep advocating for equal rights. As the nation’s next generation of physicians, we must stand up for our patients. Marriage equality is a public health issue and we want an equal and just healthcare system for all.”

    DOMA includes a federal definition of marriage that fails to encompass all forms of legal partnership. Equal protection under the law necessitates that all individuals, including same-sex couples, are eligible for all benefits afforded to legally married couples. According to today’s ruling, DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.

    In Hollingsworth vs. Perry, the Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of California’s law prohibiting same-sex marriage, or “Prop 8”, and sent the appeal back to the lower court with instructions ...

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  • The Hidden Costs of DOMA

    By Carl G. Streed Jr.
    Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    MD Candidate, Class of 2013

    On July 20th, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing addressing S.B. 598 The Respect for Marriage Act. The Respect for Marriage Act attempts to right the wrongs committed by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

    Since its passage in 1996, DOMA has limited the definition of marriage to be between “one man and one woman,” stripping states’ of their right to define marriage (as family law is generally under their purview) and has relegated thousands of same-sex couples to second class citizens. Under DOMA, same-sex couples cannot enjoy over one-thousand federal and state marriage benefits: they cannot access the plethora of tax-benefits afforded opposite-sex couples that are married, they are denied social security survivor benefits, they cannot extend health insurance coverage without being over taxed, and same-sex partners of veterans are denied all survivor benefits afforded an opposite-sex partner. These benefits afforded opposite-sex marriages provide, among other things, a safety net for couples by minimizing the costs of raising a family, allowing couples to save money for the future, and ensuring that should one partner die, the other is provided ...

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