In a artfully orchestrated Friday news dump, the White House filed court papers in Massachusetts’ Attorney General Martha Coakley’s lawsuit against the federal government, claiming the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Ready for DoJ’s unsurprising reply?
In a 36-page filing, the Obama administration — which has acknowledged DOMA is discriminatory, but argues it must continue defending it because it’s law — says Massachusetts cannot force the federal government to recognize the rights of legally married same-sex couples. That’s because there is “no fundamental right to marriage-based federal benefits.” And that reasoning comes courtesy of DOMA, which prevents the federal government from even recognizing gay marriages that, while legal in Massachusetts, are entirely meaningless at the federal level.
Massachusetts’ case hinges on the rights of 16,000 couples legally married there, who do not receive the same federal benefits their straight counterparts do. That sounds like discrimination to us! And, again, Obama has admitted as much. But there’s just no way to do anything about it, intimates DoJ, while DOMA is still on the books.
And until that happens, they’ll gladly continue insulting gay and lesbian Americans, and upholding discrimination in court.
Legal arguments: 1; Civil rights: 0.