212 Congressional Democrats file brief urging Supreme Court to overturn DOMA
March 01, 2013
This morning, 212 Democratic members of Congress - led by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi filed an amicus brief in Windsor v. United States, the Supreme Court case challenging the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal respect for legal marriages between same-sex couples.
The brief largely agrees with the Obama administration, who filed a brief earlier this week, by urging the nation's highest Court to strike down DOMA as unconstitutional. The Democrats explain that laws like DOMA that classify people based on sexual orientation should receive heightened scrutiny. They explain:
We are part of the communities we represent, and our understanding reflects the same arc of experience, making clear what should have been apparent in 1996 [when DOMA was passed]. Put simply, DOMA is one of those laws that was enacted when "times blind[ed] us to certain truths," but that "later generations can see in fact serve only to oppress." Lawrence v. Texas. It must be struck down. ...
DOMA imposes a sweeping and unjustifiable federal disability on married same-sex couples. It is 'class legalization' that lacks any rational connection to legitimate federal interests, thus violating the Fifth Amendment's equal-protection guarantee.
Freedom to Marry founder and President Evan Wolfson applauded the momentous brief today. He said:
Hundreds of U.S. Representatives and Senators are joining as signers against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act because they know marriage is a constitutional freedom that all Americans value and need in order to take care of themselves and their families. Today's tremendous support for marriage from America's top federal officials echoes our country's founding principles of liberty, justice, and equality. Citizens, businesses, and members of Congress all agree: It's time for the Supreme Court to do right by all families and all Americans, and strike down DOMA.
This week has seen a flurry of briefs being filed from a diverse array of voices on the DOMA case and the Proposition 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry. The voices range from the Obama administration to 80+ Republican leaders to LGBT organizations to psychological organizations. Many of the briefs agree: DOMA must be struck down as unconstitutional, and Proposition 8 must be overturned.