The Department of Justice just filed a motion to dismiss Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, the federal lawsuit filed in Massachusetts that claims the Defense of Marriage Act violates the U.S. Constitution. This is standard practice; most cases like this include at least one motion to dismiss, in the hope a judge will conclude the plaintiff hasn’t met its burden to even bring the case. But let’s see why DoJ wants the case killed pronto.
The motion from the DoJ, which has a history of defending DOMA despite the White House agreeing it’s discriminatory, argues the case filed by GLAD — which represents eight married couples and three surviving spouses — should be dismissed because … 1) States granting marriage rights disproves the plaintiff’s argument that DOMA violates the Equal Protection clause, since they are receiving marriage rights; 2) Marriage does not guarantee federal benefits; 3) Sexual orientation is not a protected class, and thus not subject to anti-discrimination laws; 4) Other individual reasons certain plaintiffs’ claims are invalid.
UPDATE: GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director Mary L. Bonauto responds: Nothing in the government’s brief addresses the fact that DOMA is the sole exception in a long history of the federal government deferring to the states’ determination that people are married. Obviously we disagree with any argument that DOMA is constitutional. Married same-sex couples are being treated differently from other married couples. To us, that’s a clear-cut violation of the promise of equal protection.”