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  • Supreme Court Asked to Review Federal Defense of Marriage Act

    The Supreme Court is likely to review lower courts’ actions striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as soon as its next term.

    On June 29, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives asked the Supreme Court to review the First Circuit’s panel decision in Massachusetts v. HHS, which declared unconstitutional the definition of marriage under DOMA. Earlier this week, the Obama Administration requested Supreme Court review in the same case, as well as expedited review in a case invalidating DOMA currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit (Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management).

    DOMA reaffirms that for the purposes of federal law, the term marriage means only the legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife, regardless of how any states might choose to redefine the institution of marriage under state law. It was enacted into law in 1996 with broad bipartisan support in both houses of Congress and signed by President Clinton. The executive branch successfully defended DOMA’s constitutionality for 15 years, including during the Obama Administration’s first two years.

    In an abrupt reversal of course in February 2011 (and with litigation over the constitutionality of DOMA pending), the Administration notified Congress that it would no longer defend the law, forcing the House to retain outside counsel to do so. Two former Attorneys General have expressed concern over the “extreme and unprecedented” nature of the Obama Administration’s reversal, observing that its actions “have the practical effect of nullifying an Act of Congress,” thereby abdicating a part of the President’s constitutional obligation to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

    In a cert petition in Massachusetts v. HHS, lawyers for the House argue that Supreme Court review is warranted precisely because the Administration has forgone its constitutional duty to defend DOMA. In its cert petition in Golinski, the Administration urged the Court to bypass normal Ninth Circuit review of a California federal district court’s decision to nullify DOMA and grant cert.

    Because these cases involve federal courts’ nullification of an act of Congress, the Supreme Court will almost certainly review them, with a decision expected before the Court recesses for summer in 2013.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    32 Responses to Supreme Court Asked to Review Federal Defense of Marriage Act

    1. It's about time. Although the Constitution says nothing about marriage, the federal government has complicated the issue by providing most of the legal benefits and protections bestowed on married couples. So marriage is more of a federal issue than anything else.

      It's not a religious issue, since none of the legal benefits of marriage come from the church, nor have churches ever been forced to provide weddings for anyone.

      It has nothing to do with procreation, since couples do not need to be married to make babies, nor does the ability or even desire to make babies and prerequisite for obtaining a marriage license.

      Conservative majority notwithstanding, I'm confident that the Supreme Court will determine that there is simply no Constitutional justification for denying law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples the same legal benefits that Straight couples have always taken for granted.

      • John says:

        You are so on target, Chuck. And, if we truly want to limit government's reach, we need to prevent government from proscribing who can and cannot marry. Let the citizens of the United States be truly free to pursue happiness.

        • Sandy Caruso says:

          Yeah Right….."And, if we truly want to limit government's reach, we need to prevent government from prescribing who can and cannot marry."

          You and Chucky with your 'dimwit thinking' have just opened to door for folks to marry their dog…horse or perhaps some inanimate object. And just how's that going to work? Where do you draw the line?
          Marriage whether agree or not has and is defined as between ONE man and ONE woman. Anthing else is perverted or not acceptable under the TRUE definition. Deal with it!

          • Pragmatic says:

            There is a difference between consenting adults and man and horse. The line is pretty obvious.

          • Stefan says:

            You yourself look pretty comfortable around that horse Sandy.

            Methinks you doth protest too much perhaps…

      • Bobbie says:

        TAKEN FOR GRANITE? grow up Chuck. Cut the marriage benefits your imagination is dreaming. In Today's hospitals family is whatever you want to call them so that can't be the benefit? And you're not potentially inclined to have children so you can't have that benefit! What is it you want? Just To cause trouble? How about creating benefits and more for same sexes, just have the dignity to respect the "gay" definition is opposite marriage. Sure don't reflect a once honorable America with your childish rants and petty intolerances…

    2. Shauna says:

      This is an attack on the Church. Let's see how the tax exemption status goes for a church that refuses to perform gay marriage based on beliefs and values. Just like the Catholic adoption agencies that are under attack for not adopting out to gay couples. Sure the gays get their rights, but at the cost of the churches.

      • DEAR SHAUNA:

        Stop worrying about churches that refuse to perform Gay marriages. Muslim and Atheist and Jewish couples are allowed to marry, and churches have never been forced to perform marriages for them. For you to suggest otherwise is simply an attempt to stir up hysteria.

        As for Catholic adoption agencies, the problem arises when they get public funding. When Catholic Charities of Boston stopped placing orphan children with Gay couples, they were given a choice: Either stop discriminating, or give up the $1 million per year they were getting from the State of Massachusetts. Catholic Charities chose to give up their funding. Fine with me. You want to feed at the public trough, you'd better be prepared to play by the rules.

        • Bobbie says:

          Worry everywhere government intrudes unconstitutionally. And pray for people without the strength to respect themselves without unconstitutional government. The government intruded unfairly and without reason except hardship. There are adoption agencies that can service people who aren't catholic but the government put the contention on catholics anyway even though everything was going fine in respect, now disrespected by the acts of government spilling into society. Catholics are stronger people for standing with their faith in God than give into government control and government money!

          These people (chuck?)are activist tools who's intent is to interfere where they know there'll be controversy and the opportunity to involve governments who conduct abuse of their authority to collapse the relationship between God and man by force compliance to intolerance and excessive accessibility. I resent this abhorrent leadership and pathetic intolerances it caters to.

      • James says:

        How is it an attack on the church exactly? Letting gay people get married doesn't equal stopping people from practicing their religion. Gays can just build their own churches.

        • Bobbie says:

          it's an attack on the church because "marriage" was brought in through faith in God! Being forced to compromise beliefs because of government intrusion is an all out attack!

          A gay person who was fired from his catholic services because he is actively gay thinks the church will eventually accept all God's children? I told him the church accepts all God's children and its the churches job to strengthen the children on the path to do God's will. It was right to have him fired as he isn't a reflection of the churches teachings. Active homosexuality is against God's will and a freedom of choice!

      • Sean Crane says:

        There is no attack on the churches, Churches will not be forced to perform marriages if they do not wish to, just as a church can choose to not marry a man and a women they can also choose to not marry a homosexual couple.

      • Christopher says:

        Attack on the Church? Not sure how you could come up with such a absurd claim. Churches deny marriages all the time, if it does not fit in their tenements, then they are free to deny it. United Kingdom on the other hand will most likely require the Church of England being the Church is apart of the government. You may want to properly research before you post your ramblings.

      • Sandy Caruso says:

        It's not just the 'churches' that pay here for legalizing something that is perverted and against GOD's law. Sorry but sodomites are just that. They and those that agree with them have even perverted the word 'GAY'.

    3. Bobbie says:

      What, how, what's the mental capacity we're dealing with? how can a true definition of a word be unconstitutional and how can something that was brought to the federal level, protected at the federal level, defended by the federal level just choose not to deal with it? I agree with separation of church and state and wondering why the people that defended separation of church and state at one time on the left are now the perpetrators inching in by funding renovations for churches using tax dollars while the foreign religion Muslims take part to witness?

    4. Howard says:

      Why is this unprecedented? Hasn't Obama already thumbed his nose at the law?

    5. AlfromFl says:

      If the courts and/or the Obama administration rule that DOMA is unconstitutional (don't know on what basis that would be done as the constitution does not concern itself with that,though I'm not a constitutional expert) all hell will break loose among the people of this country. Seems to me that the people will define what marriage should represent in this society and once spoken, the legal system follows to accomodate the processing of such things. Homosexual people, like all people in this country can get married (man & woman). If they wanted equal rights and benefits, redefining marriage doesn't necessarily provide that. This is just another step in the destruction of all traditional values that prevent miscreants from destroying America as a God fearing, constitutional republic. However, if marriage were to be redefined to some meaningless change, I would expect the congress to redefine the relationship of a man and a woman (formerly marriage) to a new term and then change all laws that pertain to matters of marriage to refer to the new term in order to maintain the original intent of the law(s).

    6. Guest says:

      Seems that the queer community is out in force today. However, that being said, Congress passed the law, and it has the right to alter or abolish it- by vote. As in the recent SC case where the taxing power of Congress was used to uphold a clearly (otherwise) UNconstitutional piece of legislation, Congress DOES have the right to legislate the definition of marriage as they have done since it is for FEDERAL purposes only. The States retain the right to define it their way, but not in violation of Federal law. DOMA will be upheld on that basis.
      The bigger problem will arise when the separate States enforce THEIR right to refuse to acknoledge or accomodate gay "marriage" as performed by other States. They would typically allow it to be present, but in this case I think most of them will not. (This under the customary practice of recognizing the licenses of other States.)

    7. Jay says:

      The gay and lesbian community already has the same rights as heterosexuals…they have the right just like we do to marry someone of the opposite sex. Why should anyone get special treatment?

      • Bobbie says:

        That's exactly right, Jay. People would rather lose their self respect to mess things up then grow up. Just because they have sex in their preferential way they think that constitutes marriage when marriage isn't at all about sexual preference or it's self gratifications gays are proud to express! They're demanding discriminating rights, not equal rights!

      • Right, Jay. And there was also a time when people were told, "You have every right to get married, as long as you marry someone of the same race as yourself."

        Just out of curiosity, what is it you fear most about Gay couples getting married?

        • Bobbie says:

          What does fear have to do with your personal ignorance? opposite genders of mixed races can procreate, GAYS CAN'T!

          • Procreation has nothing to do with this. People get married for reasons other than procreation. Ask any Straight couple why they choose to marry. Their answer will not be, "We want to get married so that we can have sex and make babies!" That would be absurd, since couples do not need to marry to make babies, nor is the ability of even desire to make babies a prerequisite for obtaining a marriage license.

            No, the reason couples choose to marry is to make a solemn declaration before friends and family members that they wish to make a commitment to one another's happiness, health, and well-being, to the exclusion of all others. Those friends and family members will subsequently act as a force of encouragement for that couple to hold fast to their vows.

            THAT'S what makes marriage a good thing, whether the couple is Straight OR Gay.

            • Bobbie says:

              you're ridiculous, Mr. Anziulewicz! Why do you need approval from government for you to declare before friends and family members to make a commitment to one another's happiness, health and well-being? That's what you call a government benefit? That makes you a socialist communist! Whatever reason people use to get married under its true definition is between them and God. Marriage is for procreation not homo relation. Come on Chuck? If you were born in America, you have the mind to reason. Stop depriving your mind and use it!

    8. Stirling says:

      Let's see now if Justice Roberts rules on this one.. Since the Obamacare ruling I'm not all convinced the Court will rule correctly anymore.

      • Oh, I'm quite confident the Supreme Court WILL rule correctly on this issue … which is to say, they will determine that there is no Constitutional justification for denying law-abiding, taxpaying Gay couples the same legal benefits and protections that Straight couples have always taken for granted.

      • Pragmatic says:

        Rule correctly or how you want them to rule? You're aware there is the possibility that those two things are different right?

    9. Aaron Strout says:

      So what inalienable right is being denied by LGBT community not being granted marriage in following Each State's Right under the Federal DOMA?

    10. Claude Cornell says:

      Man can argue and fight over anything they want to, but just because the
      Supreme Court says something it does not mean the Supreme Judge of the Universe is going
      to agree with it. God has already spoke his mind about the matter. Man for Woman, Woman for Man.
      When we stand before Him, it's going to be His way or else. This matter simply shows how fast
      this country is sinking to the level of a heathen nation, and God does nothing but judge heathen nations.

    11. Talk about missing the point. This entire movement is targeted at expanding the federal government taking over what has always been the right of the individual states to decide. This is a states rights issue. The framers of the constitution did not intend Washington to have total control over every aspect of citizens lives but here we are with just that situation.

      Marriage is neither a right or a privilege under the Constitution, marriage is not a law reserved to the federal government and anything not reserved to the federal government is reserved to the states to decide. If your state does not support gay marriage move to one that does.

      Now you have to decide if this is truly an issue about marriage or the money. The money being the rules applied by the IRS for deductions, insurance companies regarding medical care and companies jobs benefits and how they are applied.

      Consolidate enough power in one place and the Constitution will have no meaning and we will not be the United States of America. We the people will no longer have a voice in government – how will that work for you?

    12. Christopher says:

      It's simple, are we going to continue to discriminate against people or are we going to rule on the side of the Constitution? I believe the supreme court will rule in favor of the constitution. People should be more worried about the Patriot Act, the true threat to the Country.

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