brass balls

Will Obama Let Martha Coakley Have DOMA Declared Unconstitutional Without a Trial?

Now that she’s not headed to Washington D.C., Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has some time to get back to that DOMA lawsuit she filed. And yesterday in new court papers (PDF here), she laid out her plans for getting the federal government to nix the discriminatory law: without a trial.

Indeed, Coakley simply wants a judge to declare DOMA unconstitutional in a summary judgment, and let that be that. In Thursday’s motion, Coakely told the U.S. District Court, “Massachusetts cannot receive or retain federal funds if it gives same-sex and different-sex spouses equal treatment, namely by authorizing the burial of a same-sex spouse in a federally-funded veterans’ cemetery and by recognizing the marriages of same-sex spouses in assessing eligibility for Medicaid health benefits.” That is: It’s discriminatory.

Now it’s up to the Justice Department to decide whether once again, it will defend the law Obama himself believes to be unconstitutional, or side with Coakley and throw up its hands. We’ll find whether Obama is going to give old pal Coakley and America’s gays some relief by April 30, the deadline for a response.

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  • JoeB

    of course he won’t. Marijuana laws can be ignored by the Obama Justice Department, but with same sex marriage it’s laws that have to be repealed by Congress. It’s easier to deflect blame that way when nothing happens.

    I am going to save SO much money this year and in 2012 by not donating to Democratic campaigns.

  • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

    An interesting development: DOMA as unconstitutional may also be the road to granting Federal recognition of Gay Marriage. This is the route we must push (whether Gay Inc. is making smokey backroom deals!) in order to give us some semblance that we can succeed with Marriage Equality on a Federal level where it matters most. If A.G Eric Holder mounts a challenge, we should call for his ouster for not honoring the Constitution and he’s already on thin ice. Very thin ice!

    With that said, Poor Martha!

  • greenluv1322

    I absolutely respect Martha Coakley. I am so pleased with her decision to IMO sabotage her chances on becoming the Senator from Massachusetts. Way to go Martha!

  • Cam

    If the justice department vigorously defends DOMA again we need to boycott all fundraisers until they stop that B.S. Good for Coakly!

  • Brian En Guarde

    He did take an Oath of Office to uphold the constitution, and DOMA is unconstitutional ON ITS FACE. It violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause. It violates the Equal Protection Clause. There is no rational basis for passing the law other than animus. It has been discredited by legal scholars. It has been ruled unconstitutional by a court.

    It is Bill Clinton’s hillbilly hack job.

  • Sam

    @dontblamemeivotedforhillary: “This is the route we must push (whether Gay Inc. is making smokey backroom deals!)”

    Um, “Gay Inc.” were the first ones to file a challenge to DOMA: Gill v. OPM

  • InExile

    Of coarse the Obama administration will defend DOMA, if it chose not to do so it might help gays get some Federal rights. Obama and Maggie Gallagher seem to be on the same team.

  • mark

    @JoeB: Actually the marijuana raids are still happening my friend and over 50% of our jail population is low level drug offenses.

  • Josh AZ

    Obama is part Christian, part President. We don’t yet know which part is dominant.

  • hyhybt

    If she succeeds at this level, doesn’t it affect only Massachusetts? And if so, wouldn’t it be better to lose and appeal? Better for the rest of us, I mean, not for MA.

  • bystander

    this will eventually get to Scotus, where it along with the Perry case will have nationwide implications.

  • reason

    I find it strange that people would promote lawyer working against their own client activism. The DOJ are government layers tasked with defending the federal government from suits whether they are defending a law or action that is constitutional or not; they are the federal governments defense attorneys. If you wouldn’t expect Exxon’s lawyers to walk into court and say oh our client is guilty, why would you expect the same from the DOJ. The DOJ is responsible for doing there job not what is right or wrong. If DOMA is unconstitutional, which it is, the Supreme Court needs to strike it down or congress needs to legislate it out of existence. The separations of power are there for a good reason, and serve as the cornerstone of our democracy. I would rather go through the proper channels to get this thing repealed rather then opening up Pandora’s box. Eric Holder is at the switch now but that doesn’t mean that focus on the family may not be at the switch at some point in the future.

  • Brian En Guarde

    Unreasonable and incorrect again, “Reason.” A public official does not need a court declaration of unconstitutionality to decide not to defend an unconstitutional law. That is because the Full Faith and Credit Clause and the Equal Protection Clause ARE ALREADY LAWS. Governor Schwarzenegger did not defend Prop 8 — HE DECIDED IT WOULD VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTION.

    No official has a duty to come up with arguments that are clearly incorrect. In fact, prosecutors are charged with THE OPPOSITE DUTY IN THIS CASE — assuring that justice is done. They have no duty approaching a hired private attorney with the government as their “client” — the lawyers ARE the government, charged with doing justice in the government’s interest. THERE IS NO GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST HERE. That is what California said in not defending Prop 8. The DOJ decides what to do on a CASE BY CASE BASIS.

    So no, Obama does not get away with filing a brief in this case. He and his DOJ are acting incorrectly in doing so, as DOMA is facially unconstitutional, and actually in CONTRARY TO THE STATE INTERESTS OF MASSACHUSETTS.

    So enough with the Obama is wonderful bullshit, already.

  • John B.

    When it comes to gay folks, maybe there’s a new standard for recognizing our human and civil rights: One-hundred-percent consensus!

    Yes, I think we have to convince every man, woman, and child — all 300 million plus of them — in the United States of America that gay folks are human beings, too, and that we deserve to be treated justly, fairly, and equally.

    But, not to worry: We can convince every single, solitary American that justice, fairness, and equality is the way to go.

    It’ll take time. It’ll take lots of work. Every last gay person will have to put his or her shoulder to the wheel. Every last one of us will have to put the arm on every last one of our family members, co-workers, friends, acquaintances, and neighbors.

    We shall overcome!

    We shall set the new standard for recognizing human and civil rights!

    We’ll just convince everybody!

  • Paschal

    @JoeB: That’s the way to go
    . Just make it easier for the Republocans to take your rights away.

  • PADude

    G’d’elp me, but I’m actually admiring Attorney General Coakley right now. Me, admiring a lawyer and/or politician. Gravity check…still works…

  • LoveMoby


    Sad isnt it how you and I am maybe one more person seem to be the only one’s who comment on the UAFA bill. I caught your comments on Pams House Blend. Hang in there buddy.

  • schlukitz

    No. 7 · InExile


  • LoveMoby

    IMHO the only time this administration will NOT defend the DOMA law is when they have won a second term. What they dont realize is they may not get one since I cant see the LGBT community or the Hispanic community voting in force for the President.

  • Brown Gay Al

    @Josh AZ: He isn’t part Christian he is part atheist and part Muslim

  • LoveMoby

    @Brown Gay Al:

    He isnt a Muslim or an atheist. But even if he was…SO WHAT???

    Do you equate being a Muslim or an athiest as being incompatible with the Presidency? If so, just wanted to let you know…it’s 2010! Catch up already.

  • Jeffrey M.

    None of you dumbasses even read her legal brief. Now didja?

    How about this part:

    “The whole subject of the domestic relations of husband and wife, parent and child,
    belongs to the laws of the States and not to the laws of the United States.” Ex parte Burrus, 136
    U.S. 586, 593-94 (1890). Throughout our history, marital status has been determined solely and
    exclusively by State law—not simply for purposes of State legislation, but also wherever
    Congress has chosen to make federal law turn on marital status. Even in times of significant
    controversy on the subject within and among the States—such as the debate over interracial
    marriage—and notwithstanding significant divergence between different States’ definitions of
    marriage (a divergence that persists today), States have the exclusive sovereign prerogative to
    define and regulate marriage.

    How thoughtful of Martha to illustrate the states have the power to regulate marriage.


  • reason

    @Brian En Guarde:

    No governmental interest? The U.S. Congress passed DOMA, of course there is governmental interest. The DOJ’s job is to defend the laws, protecting the government from lawsuits. The DOJ’s job is not to determine if laws passed by the judiciary are constitutional, your descending from judicial activism into attorney general activism. What you are proposing is extreme executive overreach, and troubling at its core. Things are fine and dandy until the other side begins to abuse its power, coming up with its own interpretations sending the country hurtling into preemptive wars and torturing people as if it were medieval times.

  • Brown Gay Al

    @Jeffrey M.: What was Loving v Virginia

  • Jeffrey M.

    Brown gay Al What was Loving vs Virginia. Glad you asked.

    Loving was about RACE, someone of a certain race being denied marriage. Race is immutable, know of any former whites???? Everyone knows of a former homosexual, straight or someone who is bi. Sexual choice or whatever you want to call it is changeable, tens of thousands are examples..

    Loving affirmed the rights of two people of ANY race to marry, Loving has nothing to do with any other marriage concept..Loving dealt with a trait that CANNOT be changed, race. Sexual choices can, and are daily.

    Another example of the stupidity of using Loving. The COURT in LOVING PRESUMED MARRIAGE to be between a MAN AND A WOMAN.

    So by all means continue using Loving, it presumes marriage is between a man and a woman. Read it some time.

  • rf

    When Loving was decided, homosexuality was still considered a mental disorder so whatever presumptions about sexual orientation in regard to marriage in that decision from the 60s is no longer relevant to a legal case today. And as every, and I mean EVERY, reputable medical and psychological association in the world has deemed gayness as natural and immutable, I’ll trust their judgment over your unsubstantiated claims of tens of thousands of gays magically becoming straight. The only people who seriously think you can choose to be gay are “straight” people who are actually gay but afraid to face it and want to punish everyone else for their fear.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    RF, I love this post #27.

  • schlukitz

    RF is right on the money, 1EqualityUSA. I love it too.

  • Steve

    @Cam wrote: “f the justice department vigorously defends DOMA again we need to boycott all fundraisers until they stop that B.S. Good for Coakly!”

    I think we already are boycotting Democratic party fundraisers.
    Perhaps we should start picketing Democratic fundraisers.

    Obama clearly has the authority to tell the Justice department not to defend this suit. Or, he could tell them to put on a weak, ineffective defense. Or, he could even file a brief supporting the plaintiffs, as Schwarzenegger did in the prop8 suit in CA.

    I don’t believe he will do any of those things. There are still more bigots who vote than there are gays and PFLAGs.


    Hi everyone.

    Im going to say this like the boob loving and carpet munching man i am…Race is not sexuality.

    There is no real authoritative scientific fact that sexuality is genetic. Im gonna go with learned behaviour but i aint no scientist so let me not say.

    Also gays need to stop saying that btw. Unless some scientist can show us that code that induces gayness or straightness. It is an argument based on sentiment and imagination. STOP IT.

    My issue with gay marriage is not animus. I just dont think its right or the way marriage should be. Of course as far as gays are concerned..i am a klan member

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Bussy is Maggie Gallagher.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Bussy said,”There is no real authoritative scientific fact that sexuality is genetic.”

    There’s no proof that it is not. Some have determined that there is a “biological frosting” that determines the outcome. Some are doing studies about the effects of hormones and even pesticides that cause a blockage of hormones as a causative element. Gays have been around since time began in both human and animal populations. Maggienaghanenubussy is a dying monster, grasping at straws now.


    1EqualityUSA:: Something is wrong with you.

    Very wrong with you.


    So everyone that has this view is a maggie gallagher. Now i see why the gay marriage support is declining.

    What is the proof that gay is genetic?? Instead of name calling why not give me real honest validated proof.

    Why should i validate two men when the only thing that can come of that union is..nothing. Not one damn thing. Forcing society to give some sort of validation to your relationship is interesting and well, sad.

    Loving is not gay marriage. Because two different races came together and were able to produce something..children. What is can the gay marriage produce?? Hmm?

    The only people buying this argument are liberals and gay people and your teenage support group.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Your retorts hold no water. Sterile couples produce no children. As long as some Americans are entitled to rights and benefits withheld to other Americans, inequality exists and cannot be supported by our nation’s constitution. Keep flapping, Maggie. The more you talk, the more justified we become. You make intolerance and bigotry towards us more real. The last gasps of a dying NOMmonster. People are starting to catch on. You may be able to draw some sheep into your crusade, just as any hate instigator can, but soon you and your intolerant crew will be shelved. Yes, shelved, just like that dusty jar with the aged patina, in biology class, with an extinct species floating in formaldehyde. The young Americans will sneak furtive glances at your jar and ogle. That’s your future Maggie. I hope you like the smell of formaldehyde. You are going extinct.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Bussy says, “Something is wrong with you.
    Very wrong with you.”

    Isn’t that the entire premise of the NOM-skulls.

  • rf

    I agree with Bussy. There is not one shred of evidence to prove that religion is immutable and so does not fit the criteria for suspect classification. Therefore, after we win equality for sexual orientation (which anyone who is really straight could never believe they could choose to be gay), we must work to eradicate religious protection from our constitution, our country, and our lives. The American people do not support the immoral hypocrits who have caused more death, pain and suffering than any other entity in the history of the human race! And they don’t deserve protection because they can’t prove they were born that way! Viva Bussy!!!!

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Lukas P said it well in the Ugandan post (killing a gay son):

    I absolutely support freedom OF religion.
    I also fully support separation of Church and State.
    Another way to say that, is I seek freedom FROM having people of faith determining:
    + my fitness to exercise my profession,
    + my tax sitiuation as part of a same-sex couples,
    + my right to marry a person of the same gender, with its associated advantages
    + my right to adopt a child, and
    + my ability to serve in the Armed forces if I chose to do so.
    Does your religion believe that I am inherently flawed, morally disordered, or somehow worthy of being stoned, killed or burnt at the stake?

    Read more:

  • 1EqualityUSA

    RF–#39, love it.


    No. 40 · 1EqualityUSA

    I am not religious so…what are you talking about?

    No. 39 · rf.

    RF..what is your point? We are discussing sexuality not religion. I never said religion was immutable…SO WHAT IS YOUR POINT? We all know it is not. At least the christers are not distorting scientific fact or lackthereof to make their point?

    No. 38 · 1EqualityUSA
    Again with NOM..WOW someone has a beef to grind>

    Just for the record, not only religious folks think gay marriage is a flawed institution.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Bussy, When ever freedom is bartered in politics, it becomes too much a temptation to hold freedom out to the gay community, as though it were a carrot. As long as evil politics has it’s fingers entwined, the risk is such that, in the future, we may be beholden to a certain party, whatever party that may be. To find ourselves beholden to a party, dangling our equality out as a door prize, know that we may be coerced into voting for issues that were not our concern. Do you not see the danger in that? As an American, your duty is to see that equality is honored. Oppressed Americans will be funneled into a system whereby, freedom would come with a price. That is a dangerous notion.

  • schlukitz


    You are the one who is flawed.

    And as for grinding beef, well now…have you taken a good, hard look at any of the recent photos of yourself, Maggie?

  • schlukitz

    No. 42 · BUSSY

    At least the christers are not distorting scientific fact or lackthereof to make their point?


    Insisting that the world was flat is not distorting scientific fact?

    Teaching that the sun revolved around the earth is not distorting scientific fact?

    Creationism is not distorting scientific fact?

    Believing in an invisible sky-daddy is not distorting scientific fact.

    Believing that the dead can rise is not distorting scientific fact?

    Parting the seas is not distorting scientific fact?

    Believing in a heaven and hell, neither of which can be located on any map of the Universe or a GPS is not distorting scientific fact?

    Get a grip, Gretta!

  • 1EqualityUSA

    To the worldly minded, spiritual reality is impossible to behold. For those Americans, for whom God has not yet manifested, should be free of the beliefs of those for whom God has become essential. Freedom from religion is imperative, because politics is corrupt. Christians were given the choice to accept or reject God’s presence, should not Americans be afforded this same generosity from our government? Oppressed Americans will be funneled into the political machine. Equality should not be for sale.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    “The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.”
    –Georgia Harkness

  • schlukitz

    No. 47 · 1EqualityUSA

    Ain’t that the truth!

  • k6tmk6

    I’m not a lawyer but are her chances hindered by Wilson v. Ake, 354 F. Supp. 2d 1298, 1303 (M.D. Fla 2005) (rejecting constitutional challenges to Defense of Marriage Act and holding that Florida was not required to recognize Massachusetts same-sex marriage because it would conflict with Florida’s public policy opposing same-sex marriage).

    Read more:

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