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Govt. Withdraws Appeal in Bankruptcy Case

Govt. Withdraws Appeal in Bankruptcy Case

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The federal government has requested to withdraw its appeal challenging a bankruptcy court's ruling in favor of a gay couple who attempted to file jointly for bankruptcy.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler told Metro Weekly that the withdrawal reflects the new policy on such filings despite the Defense of Marriage Act's banning of federal recognition of gay unions and marriages.

"The Department of Justice has informed bankruptcy courts that it will no longer seek dismissal of bankruptcy petitions filed jointly by same-sex debtors who are married under state law," she said in the article.

The case concerned Gene Balas and Carlos Morales, who legally wed in California in 2008 and then fell on hard times due to unemployment and medical issues. They filed jointly for bankruptcy protection in February. In June, 20 of 25 judges in the Los Angeles-based U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California ruled in the couple's favor and said that DOMA is unconstitutional.

The Department of Justice then filed to appeal the ruling to give Congress, which has taken on defending DOMA in court, the option of getting involved in the case. The congressional Republican-majority House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, after consulting with the DOJ, decided not to intervene.

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