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DOJ Wants Supreme Court to Hear DOMA Cases

DOJ Wants Supreme Court to Hear DOMA Cases


After the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly found the health care overhaul to be legally sound, the Department of Justice takes an opportunity to advance marriage equality through the court.

The Department of Justice has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear two cases from gay couples challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
The administration is requesting that Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management be fast-tracked to the highest court in the nation, MetroWeekly reports. Karen Golinski, a federal court employee, sued the government after being denied equal spousal benefits for her wife that her colleagues in heterosexual marriages have access to. A district court judge--and Republican appointee--found DOMA to be unconstitutional. Arguments for the case are scheduled for the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in September.
The other case, Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services, was taken up by the Republican-majority House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled in that case that section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, was unconstitutional.

Lambda Legal staff attorney Tara Borelli said its clear to her clients, her organization, and the DOJ that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act's days are numbered.

"The last four courts to consider the question have all found Section 3 of DOMA -- which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples' valid marriages -- to be unconstitutional. DoJ's action may speed the day when the Supreme Court reaches the issue. Lambda Legal and Morrison & Foerster stand ready to argue for fair treatment for Karen Golinski and her spouse, Amy Cunninghis, in any court, at any time, and we welcome this opportunity to finally put DOMA out of its, and our, misery."

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