The 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: