Alex Blaze

Department of Justice appeal DOMA ruling

Filed By Alex Blaze | October 13, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
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After the positive news on two court cases yesterday, we get this:

doma_americas_prop_8.jpgThe U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday defended the federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman by appealing two rulings in Massachusetts by a judge who called the law unconstitutional for denying federal benefits to gay married couples.

In two separate cases, U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro in July ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, is unconstitutional because it interferes with a state's right to define marriage and denies married gay couples an array of federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns.

The notice of appeal filed Tuesday did not spell out any arguments in support of the law. The appeals eventually will be heard by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

The infamous Department of Justice brief asking for dismissal of a challenge to DOMA wasn't filed in this case; it was filed in another case that was thrown out because it was completely mismanaged by the plaintiff's lawyer. And while we heard the argument that the DOJ has to defend a law unless some very specific requirements are met, is there an argument that the DOJ has to exhaust every appeal as well? The DOJ is saying yes:

President Barack Obama has repeatedly said he would like to see the 1996 law repealed. But the Justice Department has defended the constitutionality of the law, which it is required to do.

"The Department of Justice has a long-standing practice of defending federal statutes when they are challenged in court, including by appealing adverse decisions of lower courts," said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler.


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I would love to see DOMA overturned but proper procedure must be followed.I believe the LGBT needs to become more vocal in how laws like this allow for the continued marginalization of us and our lives.Also that we must start to call out both the Republican and Democratic party for allowing religion to be used as a tool against us in clear violation of our rights Freedom of and from religion.

Tradition and proper procedure are two different things. The DoJ has no legal or constitutional obligation to appeal to the highest court possible.

Vice Chair of Michigan Democractic Party LBGTA Caucus | October 13, 2010 12:13 PM

A friend of mine Chris Mason said the KISS model of this

President Obama and DOJ

DOMA & DADT = Homophobia

That is all!

I forget. Is this strike forty three?

Yeeeerrrrrrr ooouuuuut.

I want this to get all the way up to the Supreme Court. I want the highest court in the land to be forced into taking a stand. Anything less is unacceptable IMHO.

Well, at least they're being consistent. Appealing the DADT decisions too.

Too bad they're not enforcing the Hate Crimes law though. There's been zero prosecutions under that since it was passed. Obama's DOJ at work.

There are real married people living in Mass. that are suffering from DOMA. People that spent their adult life with their spouse, and deserve to get the social security from their deceased spouse that they've paid into during that full adult life. Mass. did it's job, gave equality to their citizens, fought the Feds and won. So with this case, Mass. LGBT are the only truly equal LGBT citizens in the country.

Even if this case were to go to the highest court, it will likely not remove DOMA altogether, it will only allow states to define marriage for themselves. Most of us will still be left unmarried.

The Mass. case should stand without appeal. The true equality and benefits of those citizens should not be sacrificed for the chance of a higher ruling that won't do anything anyway. If the other states that have marriage equality want the federal benefits, then their attorney general needs to take suit. I'm seriously considering moving to Mass. because of this.

If the DOJ had to appeal, then why did they wait three months to decide? They're simply following standard practice for political reasons. It's this case that has stopped me from voting Democrat for the sake of the nominee being democratic. Our two party system can non evolve in this manner... see the other Bilerico discussion: "What Would You Tell a Frustrated Gay Voter?"

The Justice Department is not required to appeal all adverse rulings. It hasn't always done so, and it hasn't even always done so under the Obama administration.