DOMA facing new legal challenges from GLAD and ACLU

Posted on 09 Nov 2010 at 9:44am

Two lawsuits will be filed against DOMA today from two of the best organizations fighting for basic civil rights: The ACLU and GLAD. Given the lack of promised action from the Obama administration and Congress, the courts are probably our best route to equality for the time being. And, these new cases give the Obama administration’s Department of Justice two more opportunities to defend DOMA:

Ms. Pedersen and Ms. Meitzen plan to file a lawsuit Tuesday against the government in an effort to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples.

They are plaintiffs in one of two lawsuits being filed by the legal group Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a gay rights legal organization based in Boston, and by the American Civil Liberties Union.

A similar challenge by the gay rights legal group resulted in a ruling in July from a federal judge in Boston that the act is unconstitutional. The Obama administration is appealing that decision.

The two new lawsuits, which involve plaintiffs from New York, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, expand the attack geographically and also encompass more of the 1,138 federal laws and regulations that the Defense of Marriage Act potentially affects — including the insurance costs amounting to several hundred dollars a month in the case of Ms. Pedersen and Ms. Meitzen, and a 0,0000 estate tax payment in the A.C.L.U. case.

Both cases will be announced via separate press conferences today at 11 AM ET.




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