Ten Republican U.S. senators — out of a total of 45 — have filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting congressional leaders in their defense of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The 10 are Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Dan Coats of Indiana, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Charles Grassley of Iowa, Richard Shelby of Alabama, and Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, both of Mississippi, reports Equality on Trial.
The brief comes in the case of Windsor v. United States, which the U.S. Supreme Court will hear in March. As the Obama administration has declined to defend DOMA, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, led by Republicans in the Senate and House, has taken up defense of the antigay law.
Those who signed on to the brief claim their support of DOMA, which prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, is not based on hostility to gays and lesbians. “There is no basis to equate support for the traditional definition of marriage with unconstitutional animus or ‘a bare congressional desire to harm a politically unpopular group,’” the brief says.
Later, it continues, “It is simply not irrational or bigoted to oppose the redefinition of marriage in a manner ‘unknown to history and tradition,’ to use the language of the court below. … To the contrary, when faced with a proposed fundamental redefinition of the institution of marriage, it would be irrational not to consider ‘American society’s historical view of a marriage as being between a man and a woman.’”
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