Massachusetts Sues Federal Government over DOMA

  • metta

    Posts: 39078

    Jul 08, 2009 9:11 PM GMT
    MA Sues Federal Government over DOMA

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Mass. is 1st state to sue feds over marriage law



    Quote:

    Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage, sued the U.S. government Wednesday over a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

    The federal Defense of Marriage Act interferes with the right of Massachusetts to define and regulate marriage as it sees fit, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said. The 1996 law denies federal recognition of gay marriage and gives states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

    Massachusetts is the first state to challenge the federal law. Its lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston, argues the act "constitutes an overreaching and discriminatory federal law." It says the approximately 16,000 same-sex couples who have married in Massachusetts since the state began performing gay marriages in 2004 are being unfairly denied federal benefits given to heterosexual couples.

    "They are entitled to equal treatment under the laws regardless of whether they are gay or straight," Coakley said at a news conference.




    Story Continues Here

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_gay_marriage;_ylt=AuPQRgQb0CbBlTrj.PQflmIN97QF;_ylu=X3oDMTJhaDFkMjgxBGFzc2V0Ay9hcC91c19nYXlfbWFycmlhZ2UEY3BvcwM3BHBvcwM3BHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcmllcwRzbGsDbWFzc2lzMXN0c3Rh
  • metta

    Posts: 39078

    Jul 08, 2009 9:17 PM GMT
    YEAH! Lets attack DOMA from all sides! icon_biggrin.gif
  • metta

    Posts: 39078

    Jul 09, 2009 7:48 AM GMT
    I think that there are actually 3 suits that are being worked on that could go to the supreme court

    1. is the one in california with the ex bush attorney against prop 8
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Ted-Olson-goes-to--46137917.html

    2. this one from massachusetts

    3. and i think that there is one from the churches who want to be able to marry gay people and feel that it is wrong for the government to stop them. religious freedom.
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/universallifechurch/samesexmarriage/prweb2322604.htm

    I wonder what would be the strongest case?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 09, 2009 8:24 AM GMT
    I think Massachussets will be the strongest as it is attacking the actual constitutionality of DOMA.


    BTW:

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/582358/
  • metta

    Posts: 39078

    Jul 09, 2009 3:45 PM GMT
  • metta

    Posts: 39078

    Jul 11, 2009 6:06 AM GMT
    FANTASTIC ARTICLE

    The New Federalism Attack on DOMA: Does the Supreme Court Really Care About States' Rights?

    Kent Greenfield

    The target of the suit is the part of DOMA, Section 3, that establishes a federal definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. (Massachusetts is not challenging Section 2 of DOMA, which protects the ability of one state to refuse to recognize a gay marriage solemnized in another.)

    According to the suit, DOMA "interferes with the Commonwealth's exclusive authority to determine and regulate the marital status of its citizens," overturning two hundred years of federal deference to state definitions of marriage. Because Massachusetts recognizes same-sex marriages, DOMA costs the state millions of dollars a year, since the federal government refuses to pay its share of Medicaid costs for same-sex partners. DOMA also prohibits Massachusetts from burying same-sex spouses in veterans' cemeteries, even though Massachusetts owns the land and operates the cemeteries. The suit alleges that DOMA essentially "commandeers" the Commonwealth and its employees to be "agents of the federal government's regulatory scheme and ... discriminatory federal policy."

    The brilliant, sweet irony of the suit is that it is based expressly on the 10th Amendment. The complaint alleges: "Section 3 of DOMA violates the Tenth Amendment, exceeds Congress's Article I powers, and runs afoul of the Constitution's principles of federalism."

    The 10th Amendment has been used almost exclusively by those who want to limit the federal government's power to protect our environment, regulate firearms, punish hate criminals, and the like. And it's been a powerful rhetorical tool. But now, the 10th Amendment is being trotted out to fight against federally mandated discrimination in an area of traditional state concern. If the Court has been honest about family law being out of bounds for the federal government to regulate, then it should be an easy case.



    READ MORE HERE

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kent-greenfield/the-new-federalism-attack_b_229093.html
  • metta

    Posts: 39078

    Aug 29, 2009 5:27 AM GMT
    Mass. Case May Be Key in Taking Gay Marriage Fight to Supreme Court


    [quote]
    Of the four lawsuits --Gill and a suit filed in July by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, and one each in California and Oklahoma -- the Massachusetts cases are the most promising for the law's opponents, say some constitutional scholars. Unlike the other cases, they said, the Massachusetts suits are well-focused, well-financed and highly lawyered.
    [/quote]

    [quote]
    GLAD Legal Director Gary Buseck said the Gill case is a "pretty simple, mainstream equal protection case." Its target is Section 3, which restricts federal benefits to those in traditional marriages only.
    "Our basic conception is Massachusetts has one class of married people," he said. "It issues the same license and registers all couples in the same registry. That one, undivided class is then broken into two pieces by the federal government, which says one part of that group is entitled to every benefit and responsibility under federal law and one part is treated as never married."

    GLAD argues there is no justification for that unequal treatment. "Under our system of dual sovereignty, it has been recognized across the spectrum that the law of marriage and domestic relations belongs to the states and the federal government has always accepted what the states have said about it," Buseck said.[/quote]

    [quote]
    GLAD Legal Director Gary Buseck said the Gill case is a "pretty simple, mainstream equal protection case." Its target is Section 3, which restricts federal benefits to those in traditional marriages only.

    "Our basic conception is Massachusetts has one class of married people," he said. "It issues the same license and registers all couples in the same registry. That one, undivided class is then broken into two pieces by the federal government, which says one part of that group is entitled to every benefit and responsibility under federal law and one part is treated as never married."

    GLAD argues there is no justification for that unequal treatment. "Under our system of dual sovereignty, it has been recognized across the spectrum that the law of marriage and domestic relations belongs to the states and the federal government has always accepted what the states have said about it," Buseck said.
    [/quote]

    [quote]Attorney General Coakley's suit -- Commonwealth v. U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services -- complements the GLAD equal protection suit, according to scholars, by giving the courts an additional ground to strike down Section 3. She contends that DOMA interferes with the commonwealth's sovereign authority to define and regulate the marital status of its residents. And, she argues, the law exceeds Congress' authority under the spending clause because Congress does not have a valid reason for requiring Massachusetts to treat married same-sex couples differently from all other married couples.[/quote]



    http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202433445393&rss=newswire
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 29, 2009 5:42 AM GMT
    Thanks for the update, metta8, but why does it say GLAD in those excerpts? It's GLAAD.

    Worth remembering (which I don't recall seeing discussed much here in the last few days) is that Ted Kennedy was one of the few senators to vote against (and speak out against) DOMA.
  • metta

    Posts: 39078

    Aug 30, 2009 5:59 AM GMT
    theatrengym saidThanks for the update, metta8, but why does it say GLAD in those excerpts? It's GLAAD.

    Worth remembering (which I don't recall seeing discussed much here in the last few days) is that Ted Kennedy was one of the few senators to vote against (and speak out against) DOMA.


    Those are two different organizations. GLAD is correct in the article:

    GLAD -- Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
    http://www.glad.org/

    GLAAD - Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
    http://www.glaad.org
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 30, 2009 6:27 AM GMT
    metta8 said

    Those are two different organizations. GLAD is correct in the article:

    GLAD -- Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
    http://www.glad.org/

    GLAAD - Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
    http://www.glaad.org


    Thanks for the info. I didn't even know about GLAD.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 30, 2009 6:55 PM GMT
    Needless to say I agree with the legal reasoning of the Mass. action, and its intent, but it hasn't got a chance in the present US Supreme Court, where it will be decided. With several Bush appointees, and a Conservative bias, the Court will rule in favor of DOMA. Which will throw the issue back at the US Congress. And Democrats are too politically timid, and not really very pro-gay anyway with a few exceptions, to support such a repeal. Don't get your hopes up. icon_sad.gif