Speaker of the House John Boehner appeals DOMA ruling to Supreme Court
July 02, 2012
On Friday, Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group will request the Supreme Court to review an appeals court decision in two recent lawsuits that ruled the so-called Defense of Marriage Actunconstitutional.
Since President Barack Obama and his administration's Department of Justice are no longer defending DOMA, the law that prohibits federal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples, BLAG is the stand-in committee designed to defend U.S. law. By a party-line vote of 3-2, BLAG approved a decision to pursue an appeal of the two DOMA cases, which each found DOMA to be unconstitutional. In both cases - Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services - the judge ruled that DOMA's Section 3, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional. The rulings were handed down on May 31. Now, the Supreme Court can choose whether or not to hear the appeal. Movement is expected on the case after the Supreme Court returns from summer hiatus.
Our founder and president Evan Wolfson reflected on BLAG's pursuit of an appeal for the rulings in these cases. He said:
Speaker Boehner's abuse of taxpayer money to again appeal marriage discrimination that has been found unconstitutional in six successive federal court rulings is shameful. Same-sex couples have waited long enough for the federal government to treat their lawful marriages with the respect and fairness every American wants and deserves, especially in tough economic times. Judges appointed by Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, Bush I, and Bush 2, among others, have all agreed that there should be no ‘gay exception' to the normal practice of the federal government honoring the marriages celebrated in the states, and providing the 1138+ federal protections and responsibilities accorded all other married couples. It is time for the Speaker to respect basic American values of equal protection under the law, personal freedom, and treating others as you'd want to be treated - and save us all money he is wasting on running up lawyers bills, too.
Speaker Boehner's continued pursuit to uphold marriage discrimination is out of step with the rest of Americans, a majority of whom support the freedom to marry for all couples. By defending the anti-gay DOMA again and again, Speaker Boehner and BLAG are telling same-sex couples and their families that they are less valued than different-sex couples - this treatment of people hurts families and hurts the country, and Freedom to Marry looks forward to the day when DOMA is repealed once and for all and marriage discrimination is no longer written into U.S. law.
Read all about the challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act HERE.