Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Will Obama Appeal Court Ruling on DOMA?

On July 8 the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was ruled unconstitutional in two separate cases by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro. Today is the deadline for Obama's Justice Department to file appeals in the cases. The president has said repeatedly that he favors repeal of DOMA, but the administration has persisted in defending the Clinton-era law in court.

In Gill vs. The Office of Personnel Management, Judge Tauro ruled that section 3 of DOMA, which defines "marriage" as a legal union of one man and one woman and "spouse" as someone of the opposite sex, violated the U.S. Constitution. In his summary judgment, Tauro wrote,
"As irrational prejudice plainly never constitutes a legitimate government interest, this court must hold that Section 3 of DOMA as applied to Plaintiffs violates the equal protection principles embodied in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution."
Tauro reached the same conclusion in the case of Massachusetts vs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Washington Blade reports:
Richard Socarides, a gay New York attorney and former adviser to President Clinton, said he expects the Justice Department to appeal the cases because he believes the administration hasn’t shown any signs of changing its position after defending DOMA at the district court level.

“I think that they’re going to continue to battle the gay rights movement in the courts,” Socarides said. “I think it continues to be one of the most unfortunate decisions of the president’s entire first two years in office and really something that is perhaps the most troubling part of these first two years of his presidency.”

Socarides said he doesn’t think the administration is compelled to appeal the decisions to the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals even as he acknowledged that debate has taken place over whether the president can decide against upholding a federal statute.

“I think that it’s clear now that the president has the option of declining to defend laws that he believes are not constitutional,” Socarides said. “This law has now been declared unconstitutional, so he could agree with the federal district court … and choose not to defend it.”
Given that this president has proven that he is not the fierce advocate of LGBT equality that he claimed to be in order to get our votes, it is likely that the DOJ will file it's appeal in both cases today. 

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1 comment:

  1. Everyone is waiting for this(confirmation) that our Pres. is unequivacally against us achieving our full civil rights. This will undoubtedly demolish any linguering hope that he will come through for us. To our Pres. I can only say that all my hours of door to door to door, all my hours of working in your crowded little Roanoke office because I had such high hopes for us..for our quest for GLBT equality...were in vain and pathetic looking in hindsight. Use and abuse us..how dare you...no more.


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