The Department of Justice appears to be stepping up its work against the Defense of Marriage Act.
After months of taking vague stands against the 15-year old law's unconstitutionality, the DOJ offered a more robust and forceful objection in a brief filed yesterday supporting federal court employee Karen Golinski's lawsuit asking for equal health benefits for her wife.
Golinski's case had previously been dismissed, although a judge left the door open for more arguments on the matter.
The DOJ filing is significant for two reasons: one, the Obama administration previously opposed her lawsuit; and, two, it goes further than any other brief in explaining how the federal government has consistently discriminated against LGBT citizens.
This could change everything.
Read more, AFTER THE JUMP...
From Chris Geidner at MetroWeekly:
In describing why heightened scrutiny applies to classifications based on sexual orientation, for example, the DOJ's lawyers — in describing how "gays and lesbians have been subject to a history of discrimination" — write, "The federal government has played a significant and regrettable role in the history of discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals.
Today's filing does more than acknowledge the federal government's role in discrimination, going on to detail specific instances of anti-gay and anti-lesbian discrimination, including the 1950 Senate resolution seeking an "investigation" into "homosexuals and other sexual perverts" in government employement and President Dwight Eisenhower's executive order adding "sexual perversion" as a ground for "possible dismissal from government service," in the brief's words. It also details the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Service in investigations seeking information about government employees suspected of such "perversion."
Rather than relying simply on the "unconstitutional" argument, the DOJ's taking the time, energy and political risk of spelling out the States' history of homophobia, and why it's wrong, which clearly shows that Attorney General Eric Holder and company are fully prepared to go to the mat on this one.
This makes one wonder: will President Obama offer such a careful analysis when asked about DOMA on the campaign trail?