A DOMA ripple effect in the states

As detailed in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, state courts have begun embracing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, striking down part of a federal law that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and even building on that ruling in challenges over state laws concerning same-sex marriage and other issues affecting gays and lesbians.

“It’s a pattern that’s emerging—and it’s striking,” said David Cruz, a law professor at the University of Southern California and an expert on civil-rights law. Rather than finding ways around Windsor, he said, “judges are embracing its principles.

***

The effect of Windsor could grow significantly in months to come, say legal experts. More than a dozen challenges to same-sex-marriage laws are pending, nine of which were filed post-Windsor, according to Jon Davidson, the legal director at Lambda Legal, which advocates on behalf of same-sex couples seeking the right to marry.

That includes a challenge in North Carolina which began as a lawsuit concerning the state’s adoption laws as applied to gay couples but has since expanded, with the consent of Attorney General Roy Cooper, to include a challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

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