With five federal courts recently striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) under the constitution, it comes as no surprise that many are expecting the Supreme Court to eventually rule on the constitutionality of the legislation. This expectation was affirmed when the Obama Administration announced late Tuesday evening that it was asking the Supreme Court to hear two cases from gay couples challenging DOMA.
DOMA, which denies federal benefits to married gay couples, has been a hot topic in the LGBT equality movement since its passage back in 1996. Last year, the Obama Administration announced that section 3 of DOMA—which defines the word ‘marriage’ as a legal union between one man and one woman—was unconstitutional. Although it would continue to enforce the law, Obama’s Administration declared that it would no longer defend the law in the courtroom. In response to the administration’s announcement, the House of Representatives replaced the Department of Justice as the defenders of DOMA on behalf of the federal government.
But now, President Obama has taken his opposition to the law one step further. On Tuesday, the Justice Department asked the court to hear an appeal in its next term of lower court rulings which would strike down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act. Unfortunately, this process will be delayed. The earliest the justices might decide to hear the cases is in late September 2012. Since arguments probably wouldn’t occur until the winter, a decision would be returned no earlier than late June 2013. Federal agencies have been instructed by President Obama to continue to enforce the law’s ban on granting federal benefits to married gay couples until there is a final court ruling. This is why the administration wants high court review of the law as soon as possible.
Take Action: The Defense of Marriage Act has been denying faithful and committed same-sex couples the same rights that are given to their heterosexual counterparts. Take action now and click here to urge your members of Congress to stand with the Obama Administration in opposition of this unjust and unconstitutional law. With the Obama Administration’s leadership, the elimination of DOMA may just be within our reach.