Massachusetts AG Challenges DOMA In Court

Jim Burroway

July 8th, 2009

The Massachusetts Attorney General has announced that the state is suing the U.S. government in U.S. Federal District Court over the Defense of Marriage Act which limits the definition of marriage to opposite sex couples. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, and state Attorney General Martha Coakley calls the federal law an “overreaching and discriminatory” infringement on rights and powers normally reserved for the states:

Before the law was passed, Coakley said, the federal government recognized that defining marital status was the “exclusive prerogative of the states.” Now, because of the U.S. law’s definition of marriage, same-sex couples are denied access to benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including federal income tax credits, employment benefits, retirement benefits, health insurance coverage and Social Security payments.

“In enacting DOMA, Congress overstepped its authority, undermined states’ efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit defends Massachusetts’ decision to allow same-sex marriages, saying it provides security and stability to families:

The lawsuit said that more than 16,000 same-sex couples have married in Massachusetts since the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled that gay marriage was legal in 2004 “and the security and stability of families has been strengthened in important ways throughout the state.”

“Despite these developments, same-sex couples in Massachusetts are still denied essential rights and protections because the federal Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA] interferes with the Commonwealth’s authority to define and regulate marriage,” the lawsuit said.

Opponents often point to the stabilizing influence of marriage as one reason opposite-sex marriage needs to be somehow “protected” from gays marrying. But in doing so, they ignore the fact that gays and lesbians are forming families — and raising children — without that same stabilizing influence. It’s good to see an Attorney General recognize that children of same-sex couples, if not the couples themselves, are no less deserving of that security and stability that heterosexual couples enjoy.

This is the second lawsuit filed in Massachusetts challenging DOMA. The Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) is also challinging DOMA for denying married same-sex couples access to federal benefits that other married couples automatically receive.

K in VA

July 8th, 2009

Brava, AG Coakley! And bravo, all you good folks of Massachusetts!

Now, let’s see how the Obama administration deals with this one! They can’t be happy about lawsuits and attacks coming from all sides — too damned bad, I say.

Keep up the pressure on our not-so-fierce advocate. Call 202-456-1111 NOW, and ask POTUS to stop supporting, and work to repeal, DOMA.

Timothy Kincaid

July 8th, 2009

I’ve long thought that the injured parties in DOMA are the states, even moreso than the individuals (couples are injured on a state level). The first clause of DOMA is nothing more than a power-grab by the federal government to wrest control over marriage from the states and turn it over to a centralized goverment.

I’m glad to see Massachusetts stand up for its rights.

Ben in Oakland

July 8th, 2009

And i’m GLAD (pun intended) to see a politician that actually stands for something, like american values.

Christopher Waldrop

July 8th, 2009

I’ve long thought that the injured parties in DOMA are the states, even moreso than the individuals (couples are injured on a state level).

That’s an excellent point, and it also makes me think of something then-candidate George W. Bush said in response to a question about same-sex marriage. He said it was a states’ rights issue, not something the federal government should concern itself with.

He changed his tune later on, but if any politician’s position is that marriage should be left up to individual states to define then he or she should be reminded that they are therefore opposed to DOMA.

Richard W. Fitch

July 8th, 2009

The long-term question becomes: if more states pass laws affirming same-sex-marriage, at what point will the federal govt be compelled to grant federal recognition to ALL same-sex couples?

Mark F.

July 8th, 2009

This is a good Federalist approach which conservatives ought to support. Allow the states to define marriage as they wish, but force the Feds to recognize all legal marriages. This avoids the significant problems of compelling all states to allow gay marriages, which would create a major backlash right now.

cd

July 8th, 2009

Massachusetts…first in all the good stuff that lasts. :-)

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Emphasis Mine

Today In History, 1954: Miami Mayor Calls for Anti-Gay Crackdown

Today In History, 1995: GOP Presidential Candidate Sen. Bob Dole Returns Donation from Log Cabin Republicans

Today In History, 1998: Lawyer Suggests Abortion If a Test Could Prove Fetus Has "Gay Gene"

Born On This Day, 1904: Christopher Isherwood

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Emphasis Mine

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.