132 House Democrats File Friendly Brief In California DOMA Case

MarriageRallyHouse Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 131 other House Democrats are throwing themselves into Karen Golinski's discrimination lawsuit against the federal government.

The Washington Blade reports that the lawmakers have filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act violates Golinkski's right to partner benefits.

Chris Johnson offers more details:

The 30-page brief makes the case against Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, in several ways, emphasizing that BLAG doesn’t speak for the entirety of the U.S. House. House Democrats have pledged to file a brief in each case where BLAG acts to defend DOMA.

First, the lawmakers argue DOMA warrants heightened scrutiny because Congress has a history of targeting gay and lesbian Americans with discriminatory laws — a position that is held by the Obama administration.

House Democrats then argue that DOMA is unconstitutional because Congress hastily passed it in 1996 for political reasons and because the law undercuts Congress’ interest in protecting families and respecting state sovereignty.

This is the second such brief Pelosi and other Democrats have submitted: they also put their weight behind the Gill v. U.S. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services cases that have been merged into one lawsuit.

In addition to potentially impacting these cases, Pelosi and company's legal maneuver help contrast them against Boehner and other House Republicans who cling so ferociously to a 90s-era law.


  1. FunMe says

    I recognize that photo! It was from President’s Obama’s visit to LA 3 years ago. A big group of us were in front of the Beverly Hills hotel trying to give President Obama a message to support marriage equality. At the time, he was not very supportive and actually made fun of us during his speech (not cool). But hey … finally he’s come around, maybe only in words, but it’s a start.

  2. Michaelandfred says

    Sitting here reading this I can’t help but feel, and need to let out, some frustration. Two years ago we had control of the House and the Senate. Many of us were asking for BOLD steps because who knew what and where things would be down the road after the midterms. But nobody, not congress or the president, wanted to touch these issues. DADT repeal went through by the skin of everyone’s teeth and a lot of luck…just under the wire.

    Fast forward a year and a half. Obama, Biden, almost all prominent Democratic politicians have voiced support for marriage equality, it’s almost a sure thing it will be included in the Democratic National Platform, almost 200 Mayors of the countries largest cities have signed a pledge of support, the DOJ has stopped defending DOMA and America is now at a slight support for marriage equality and increasing in leaps and bounds. Washington, Maryland, New Jersey..

    We’ve lost the house, even if Obama wins we could very possibly lose the senate. If this politically self serving SCOTUS should defy logic and law and uphold DOMA, it could be years before we see repeal. Seeing where we are today against the “fear” in which so many politicians held this subject only a year and a half ago (!!), I can’t help but want to beat my head against the wall in frustrated “I told you so’s.” It could be over and we’d be even further ahead than we are today in public opinion. What a wasted opportunity…. Crying over spilt milk, but it was right there!

  3. Bingo says

    Not signing this says nothing about voting,

    The brief is entirely symbolic and means nothing to the court. Signing accomplishes nothing real and gives opponents a chance to use it against you.

    Only votes matter. Until we’re counting votes, it’s just posturing.

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