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Some justices may see DOMA as federal interference, professor says

March 27, 2013|By Maura Dolan
  • This artist rendering shows Deputy Solicitor Gen. Sri Srinivasan addressing the Supreme Court, including Justices Samuel Alito, left, and Elena Kagan, right, on Wednesday as the court heard arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act.
This artist rendering shows Deputy Solicitor Gen. Sri Srinivasan addressing… (Dana Verkouteren / AP )

Some members of the U.S. Supreme Court appeared concerned Wednesday that a  federal law barring recognition of same-sex marriages interfered with state rights, a law professor said.

Loyola law professor Dougles NeJaime, after reading a transcript of Wednesday’s hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act, said it suggested the court might rule in favor of gay rights but on the grounds the federal law improperly exerted control over the states.

NeJaime said Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose vote is considered pivotal in gay rights cases, clearly seemed skeptical of the law.

The section being challenged denies federal benefits to spouses of same-sex couples.

Even if it is struck down, same-sex couples would only benefit if they lived in states that recognized same-sex marriage, LeJaime said.

“It will be a big issue for military families who don’t have control over where they live,” NeJaime said.

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Twitter: @MauraDolan

maura.dolan@latimes.com

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