Obama Administration to Supreme Court: Kill DOMA

A lawyer for the administration says an important part of the 1996 law is simply not constitutional.

BY Neal Broverman

February 22 2013 9:06 PM ET

Edie Windsor, plaintiff in the DOMA case being heard by the Supreme Court

In a brief filed Friday, a lawyer with the Obama administration called for the Supreme Court to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli told the high court that laws concerning gay people, an "unpopular group," should face heightened scrutiny and that DOMA's Section 3 — which keeps the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples legally married in states — is unconstitutional.

"Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection," wrote Verrilli. "The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional."

The Obama administration has not filed a friend of the court brief on California's Proposition 8 case, which the Supreme Court is also deciding, and which could bring marriage equality back to the Golden State, and possibly the entire nation. They have until February 28 to do that.

Read more here.

 

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