The clock is now ticking for Obama admin. to decide on DOMA appeals

We’ll know in 60 days whether the Obama administration is going to appeal the recent decisions in Massachusetts, which found Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional. Judgment was entered today so the clock is ticking.

Activists in Massachusetts are saying don’t appeal. Via press release:

Although the ruling was released on July 8, 2010, the judgment in the case was not entered until August 12, 2010. Per Rule 4(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the deadline for submitting an appeal, if any, must be submitted within 60 days after judgment is entered. Thus, President Obama’s Department of Justice has a deadline of Tuesday, October 12, 2010 by which it must decide whether to appeal the decision or not.

Advocates are demanding that President Obama order his Department of Justice not appeal the decision. “This decision by Judge Tauro was a landmark ruling for gay and lesbian equality — the civil rights struggle of my generation’s time. The discriminatory law that is Section 3 of DOMA, which denies married same-sex couples all 1,138 federal marriage benefits, had its day in court and it lost out to the promises of fairness and equality in our Constitution. The President and his Department of Justice should allow that decision to stand.” said Paul Sousa, a Boston College Law School student and gay rights advocate in Massachusetts.

Now, I have every confidence in the legal team from GLAD, led by the legendary Mary Bunauto. I know they can whip DOJ’s ass again on appeal. And, it’s widely assumed that the DOJ will appeal.

While this will be viewed by many as a purely legal decision, there are huge political implications for the Obama administration. Huge. Essentially, the Obama administration will have to go to court and argue that DOMA is constitutional. That won’t be good. The usual apologists, lobbyists and job-seekers will tell us that DOJ has no choice moving forward. That’s not true.

I want to hear President Obama’s opinion on the constitutionality of DOMA. He’s called it abhorrent. He’s called it discriminatory. Will he ever call it unconstitutional?

If DOJ appeals the decisions that DOMA is unconstitutional, we’ll get our answer.




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—  John Wright