DOMA Goes To Federal Appeals Court
Today the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is back in court at the federal appeals level. This time it’s going before a 3 judge panel comprised of 2 Republican & a Democratic. The April 4th argument is a consolidation of 3 cases but is still referred to as Gill v. Office of Personnel Management which is the case brought by the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). This decision could be the game-changer for legally married gay couples. Wednesday's litigation challenges DOMA’s Section 3 restriction that for federal government purposes, “the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man & one woman as husband & wife, & the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” GLAD & the Commonwealth of Massachusetts won a ruling in the federal district court in Boston on the litigation in July 2010 finding DOMA unconstitutional. At that time they were opposed by the Obama Department of Justice. As you know in February 2011, the DOJ announced it wouldn’t argue that DOMA is constitutional. That’s when U.S. House Speaker John Boehner hired a private attorney, GOP former Solicitor General Paul Clement to defend the law. The Department of Justice will also be in court April 4th in Boston. It will be represented by openly gay attorney Stuart Delery who was promoted February 27th to serve as DOJ’s Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. Delery argued a class action lawsuit in the First Circuit that challenged the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law in 2008 & according to a 2007 article in Metro Weekly, Delery is raising 2 children with his partner of nearly 20 years. The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) of the U.S. House will defend DOMA. BLAG’s attorney Paul Clement just appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court in landmark litigation trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act last week. The lead attorneys opposing Clement will be my personal hero GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto & Massachusetts Chief of Civil Rights Division Maura Healey.
Updates to Come…:)
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