Supreme Court can strike down DOMA without impacting right to marry, says constitutional law expert

As the U.S. Supreme Court hearings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) conclude, it looks like the justices are ready to strike down the law, says Gregory P. Magarian, JD, constitutional law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis. “The crucial thing about this case is that the Court can strike down DOMA without impacting the right or lack thereof of someone to marry,” he says.


If the Court strikes down DOMA, it will essentially clear the way for states to continue deciding what they want to do on same sex marriage.

“Based on recent evidence, an increasing number of them will opt to legalize same sex marriage,” Magarian says.

“If that trend continues, I think the Court in ten or fifteen years will probably hold that the Constitution requires legalized same sex marriage. In this way, the Court can follow the political trend rather than getting out in front.”