Government Will Uphold DOMA in Spousal Benefits Case
The Department of Justice, in a filing on Monday, responded to DOMA questions from lawyers representing Karen Golinski, a U.S. appeals court lawyer who is suing the federal government so her wife could receive health benefits.
Government lawyers told a federal judge Monday in San Francisco that the administration will still enforce the Defense of Marriage Act until it is struck down by a court or repealed by Congress. They say its new position on the act's unconstitutionality is irrelevant.
Given the recent Obama policy shift on the marriage act, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White issued a written order last week asking the administration to explain how it could continue defending the Golinski lawsuit.
In a filing on Monday, DOJ attorneys reiterated that Obama told executive agencies to enforce the law until Congress repealed it -- even though the administration would no longer defend its constitutionality in court.
But White need not decide the law's constitutionality to resolve the Golinski case, DOJ attorneys wrote. The Kozinski order is not enforceable through the kind of lawsuit Golinski filed, DOJ argued.
Jennifer Pizer, one of Golinski's attorneys, said it would have been much more "helpful and consistent" with Obama's shift had government lawyers taken the position that Golinski could reenroll her wife in the family health plan.
More on the case here from Chris Geidner at MetroWeekly....