The Department of Justice filed a one-page “notice of appeal” Tuesday in the case of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, a challenge to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. The case was heard in May by U.S. district court judge Joseph L. Tauro, who on July 8 ruled Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional.
Mary L. Bonauto, director of the Civil Rights Project at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the organization that brought the case, said she was not surprised by the filing.
“We fully expected an appeal and are more than ready to meet it head on,” said Bonauto. “DOMA brings harm to families like our plaintiffs every day, denying married couples and their children basic protections like health insurance, pensions, and Social Security benefits. We are confident in the strength of our case.”
Martha Coakley, the attorney general for Massachusetts who filed the case along with GLAD, echoed Bonauto's statements.
"We look forward to presenting our case," Coakley said in a statement. “DOMA is an unjust, unfair, and unconstitutional law that discriminates against Massachusetts married couples and their families. DOMA denies same-sex married couples from being treated equally under the law across a wide range of areas, from accessing basic health care, retirement, and social security benefits to being buried with their loved ones in a veteran’s cemetery.”
According to a press release from GLAD, the next step will be for the government to file its brief to the first circuit court of appeals arguing against Judge Tauro’s ruling. GLAD will then file its brief in opposition to the government, and finally the government will file a reply brief. At that point the appeal will be scheduled for oral argument. Briefing could be concluded by next spring, with oral argument to follow in the fall.
The government also today filed its notice of appeal in the related case Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Department of Health and Human Services.