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GOP Argues DOMA “Rational Way To Save Federal Dollars” While House Democrats File Legal Brief To Overturn DOMA

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and 131 fellow Democrats have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a federal appeals court Tuesday to overturn DOMA, the 1996 law that denies federal benefits to same-sex spouses, saying it is discriminatory and serves no legitimate purpose.

“A driving force behind this law was the desire to disapprove of and disadvantage gay and lesbian couples,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and 131 fellow Democrats said in a brief filed with the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The Democrats’ filing Tuesday came in response to an appeal by House Republican leaders, who hired lawyers to defend DOMA after President Obama withdrew his administration’s support of the law in the case of Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, in which DOMA was found unconstitutional.

In a filing last month, the Republican lawyers told the Ninth Circuit that withholding federal benefits from same-sex couples was a rational way to save federal dollars, encourage responsible child-rearing and leave the volatile marriage issue to the states

The 30-page brief makes the case against Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, in several ways, emphasizing that BLAG (led by John Boehner) doesn’t speak for the entirety of the U.S. House, that DOMA warrants heightened scrutiny because Congress has a history of targeting gay and lesbian Americans with discriminatory laws, and that DOMA is unconstitutional because Congress hastily passed it in 1996 for political reasons and because the law undercuts Congress’ interest in protecting families and respecting state sovereignty.

Now that the tide of public opinion is turning on same sex marriage and the religious arguments are beginning to wain.  We are seeing a new strategy emerge from the GOP  and the Right Wing of cost related aruments against DOMA.  A move that this site has predicted for years.  Hopefully some have paid attention and are ready for this new plan of attack.

The Democratic House’s full brief is available here as a PDF.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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