SCOTUS Brief: DOMA Makes Gays In Congress Immune To Nepotism Charges

supreme courtAn amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court this week claims the Defense of Marriage Act shields gay senators and congresspeople from certain ethics rules.

Currently, members of Congress in same-sex marriages wouldn’t have to report financial details about their spouses. In addition, the nepotism clauses in the Ethics in Government Act only apply to heterosexual couples, which means Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) could hire his partner, Marlon Reis, to be his chauffeur. “This situation presents the very danger of serious conflicts that anti-nepotism laws were enacted to prevent,” the brief states.

“Gay people are neither more nor less ethical than straight people,” said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which filed the brief in advance of the two marriage-equality cases coming before SCOTUS in March. “It is impossible to imagine the Congress that so eagerly passed DOMA would have deliberately exempted same-sex couples from ethics laws if members had considered the issue for even a moment.”