Friday, March 01, 2013

Left Side of the Aisle #97 - Part 1

Good news: White House files brief calling DOMA unconstitutional

Last Friday, February 22, the Obama administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the justices to strike down the Defense Of Marriage Act as unconstitutional because it violates, the brief says, "the fundamental guarantee of equal protection."

"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."

DOMA, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, has been found unconstitutional by lower courts. Oral arguments before the Supreme Court on one of those cases are scheduled for March 27.

There is another case, a closely-related one, to be argued right around the same time. This is on a suit brought to overturn California's infamous Proposition 8, or PropHate as it came to be known, that stripped away a right to marriage from same-sex couples. That case has seen a surprising development:

At least 75 top Republicans have signed an amicus - a friend of the court - brief to be submitted to the Supreme Court this week, arguing that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage.

With the exception of two current members of Congress, Reps. Richard Hanna and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, most of the signers are former officials, but the list is impressive nonetheless. Among the signers are former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Rep. Deborah Pryce, former Massachusetts Govs. William Weld and Jane Swift, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, Bush national security adviser Stephen Hadley, Carlos Gutierrez, a commerce secretary under Bush; James Comey, a top Bush Justice Department official, David Stockman, President Ronald Reagan’s first budget director, and former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman.

The Court is expected to render decisions on both cases in early summer.


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