DOMA | Edie Windsor | News | Supreme Court

212 Democratic Members of Congress Ask Supreme Court to Strike Down DOMA: BRIEF

212 Democratic members of Congress led by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) including all seven out LGBT members and some who voted for DOMA in 1996 have asked the Supreme Court to strike it down in a brief submitted today in the Edith Windsor case, Buzzfeed's Chris Geidner reports:

PelosiIn summary, they agree with the Obama administration that laws like DOMA that classify people based on sexual orientation should receive heightened judicial scrutiny — but then go on to argue that DOMA is unconstitutional even if the court chooses not to proceed under such a heightened review:

The SF Chronicle adds:

A statement from the group said the amicus was filed because the members “want the Supreme Court to hear the full story from Congress, and to explain why they believe that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional. They disagree with the arguments being made by lawyers hired to defend DOMA in court by the House Majority following the divided 3-2 vote of the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG). The amicus brief filed today makes clear that BLAG does not speak for Congress, and that many members believe that Section 3 should be struck down because there simply is no legitimate federal interest in denying married same-sex couples the legal security, rights and responsibilities that federal law provides to all other married couples.”

Read the brief below:


DOMA Congressional Brief for Supreme Court 030113 by


Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Clint Eastwood has just signed a brief, too!

    This train is MOVING!

    Posted by: will | Mar 1, 2013 6:12:38 PM

  2. Forget the train -- send them all to Finland.

    Posted by: Josh | Mar 1, 2013 6:31:27 PM

  3. A question - we've seen a lot on here about all of the people asking to strike down Prop 8, yet we've seen nothing on here saying who is asking that Prop 8 remain. I think it's great that all the people who have spoken out agains Prop 8 have done so, but the articles seem awfully one sided. If 250 politicians are writing briefs opposing Prop 8, but 500 are writing briefs supporting it, but we don't know that, aren't we being kind of lulled into a false sense of security? (Relatively speaking, of course)

    Posted by: PiMCTaylor | Mar 1, 2013 6:33:15 PM

  4. This site is a false sense of security. When they publish flattering pictures of Nancy Pilosi, you know something is off. Here's what HAS happened in Scandinavia: Finland Rejects Marriage Equality Bill

    A parliamentary committee in Finland has rejected a proposed marriage equality bill there. Wasn't Finland liberal?

    Posted by: Hello | Mar 1, 2013 6:37:11 PM

  5. @Hello, it used to be, not as liberal as Sweden or Denmark. But in Finland, but also in Sweden and Denmark, due difficult economics, conservative parties have won elections with their anti-immigration and anti-EU campaigns (the oldest story, your problems aren't you to blame, blame the others, sadly) and one of their agenda is anti-gay like banning the gay-marriage in Finland anyway. It is a wrong direction, but many people don't understand it yet.
    I would say Finland is liberal, but not as liberal as one would think.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Mar 1, 2013 6:45:19 PM

  6. @Hello

    How is Towerload giving a false sense of security, when they have already posted the news about Finalnd?

    Posted by: Devonasa | Mar 1, 2013 7:31:16 PM

  7. Relating to another story about Supreme Court briefs from opposing groups. You make your own security on here, because Andy is an absentee parent of his own site,

    Posted by: Hello | Mar 1, 2013 8:34:46 PM

  8. Pimctaylor, the deadline for briefs for the proponents of Prop 8 and DOMA occurred in January and Towleroad posted about a bunch of them (from the FRC, NOM, etc) at that time. Look through the postings from January and you'll see them all. This week was the deadline for briefs from our side, which is why all the postings have been for the opponents of DOMA and prop 8 this week. It's not about Towleroad being one-sided this week. It's that this is the Supreme court filing schedule.

    Posted by: Kenny | Mar 1, 2013 9:40:08 PM

  9. I'm just curious how many of these Democratic Congresspeople signed DOMA initially. I know society evolves but you can't hide the baggage in the past.

    Posted by: Sam | Mar 2, 2013 12:21:25 AM

  10. 212 Democrats. How many Republicans? Remember these numbers when conservative gays try to convince you to vote Republican.

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 2, 2013 12:57:36 AM

  11. " I'm just curious how many of these Democratic Congresspeople signed DOMA initially. I know society evolves but you can't hide the baggage in the past."

    A few of them did, and the brief specifically says so. It also includes quotes from other prominent people - like one of the original sponsors, Bob Barr, who have subsequently changed their minds on the issue.

    They aren't trying to hide anything in this brief. It's not just some sort of glowing praise of gay relationships. It's also a pretty brutal knock-down of the homophobic knee-jerk and unprofessional way that Congress passed DOMA in the first place - including very clearly spelling out how Congress deliberately chose not to do any research at all on what laws DOMA would affect, what rights it would take away, and how much it would cost the taxpayers.

    One of the honestly, most powerful parts of the brief for me is that members of Congress are specifically telling the Supreme Court how difficult it is for gay rights to even be considered by lawmakers, much less passed.

    One of the criteria for being declared a class of people who require extra consideration when discriminatory laws are passed (this is what "heightened scrutiny" is about) is that the group cannot use normal political and legislative methods to make sure their rights are protected. The anti-gay side of this lawsuit claims that gay people are politically powerful. Having nearly half of the members of Congress bluntly say that gay people cannot currently rely on Congress to protect our rights is incredibly powerful.

    If the Court declares that we are a minority with a history of discrimination and need heightened scrutiny to make sure that our rights are protected, it literally completely changes the game nationwide. If they make that ruling, almost no anti-gay law or state constitutional amendment anywhere will stand up against a lawsuit.

    If this brief by these people helps make that happen, it goes a long way towards absolving them of some of that baggage.

    Posted by: Lymis | Mar 2, 2013 7:44:54 AM

  12. 212 Democrats; 0 Republicans. Remember that at the next mid term election! We so need a Democratic House of Representatives.

    Posted by: andrew | Mar 2, 2013 11:58:43 PM

  13. The conservatives from NOM know they are losing here in the U.S so they are camping out on these gay blogs trying to get us to feel defeated based on what's happening in terms of gay rights around the world. What's the matter NOM? Know you lost and feeling like a loser? LoL you all LOST this culture war! Alllll that money you spent. G-O-N-E!

    Posted by: Marcus | Mar 3, 2013 6:48:39 AM

Post a comment


« «Towleroad Guide to the Tube #1318« «