The ultra-conservative legal watchdog group, Judicial Watch, announced Wednesday it has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Family Research Council, seeking records related to the Obama Administration’s decision not to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in any pending or future litigation.
According to Judicial Watch, the Family Research Council (FRC) seeks documents from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to determine the purported basis for the decision and the possible influence of homosexual activists on the decision.
“Once again the Obama administration is playing politics with the Freedom of Information Act to avoid telling the American people the truth about one of its indefensible positions,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, in a statement.
“The evidence suggests the nation’s highest law enforcement is refusing to enforce the law to appease another special interest group,” he said.
On February 23, the Obama administration announced it had concluded that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would not be able to pass constitutional muster, and that DOJ would not defend that part of the law in two pending federal court challenges in the 2nd Circuit.
House Speaker John Boehner, after experiencing political pressure from anti-gay and conservative groups including the FRC, hired an independent law firm to represent the Congress and defend DOMA in ongoing federal cases in U.S. District courts in New York, Massachusetts, and California.
In response to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reqests, the Justice Department, in a June 2 letter, informed the FRC that DOJ personnel had searched and identified 357 pages of email chains related to the FOIA request, 27 pages of which were claimed to be exempted and were withheld.
The FRC filed an administrative appeal seeking access to the withheld materials but the DOJ has yet to respond, prompting the lawsuit, which was filed on Monday.
Family Research Council head Tony Perkins said, “We have serious concerns that the Justice Department wants to hide evidence that it was doing the bidding of campaign donors and homosexual activists from whom Obama will need assistance for his reelection.”
“When Barack Obama became President, he took an oath to uphold our laws — and not just the ones with which he personally agrees,” said Perkins. “If he’ll undermine this law, which one is next? This isn’t just a threat to marriage. It’s a threat to the entire democratic process. If the Obama administration has nothing to hide, then why stonewall?”