This came as a surprise to many – especially since Judge Jacobs has previously defended the seemingly indefensible, such as criticizing attorneys who offer free legal services because of the “anti-social effects” it has on society.
But when it came to DOMA – the bill which codifies the non-recognition of same-sex marriages for all federal purposes – Judge Jacobs sided with the constitution, rather than his political proclivities.
“Homosexuals as a group have historically endured persecution and discrimination,” he wrote in his opinion. “Homosexuality has no relation to aptitude or ability to contribute to society, homosexuals are a discernible group with non-obvious distinguishing characteristics, especially in the subset of those who enter same-sex marriages; and they remain a politically weakened minority.”
His ruling is significant because it essentially cuts the legs out from under any state-level legislation which attempts to discriminate against gay people – including those states which allow companies to terminate employment based on sexuality.
It is also the thin end of a wedge towards marriage equality, as Jacobs highlighted the unfairness of not granting same-sex couples the same rights and protections as heterosexual couples. While it’s doubtful Jacobs – as a staunch conservative – is an advocate of same-sex marriage, it appears he is an advocate of the fundamental rules of law which should theoretically recognize such unions.
Whatever you might have thought of Judge Jacob’s rulings in the past, this one seems to cement his reputation as a man who puts the law (at least, his interpretation of it) first and his political beliefs second – and while his ruling might make him an unlikely ally of LGBT equality, it also makes him an extremely important one.