The lawmakers are filing a friend-of-the-court brief with the justices Friday, asking them to strike down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. The provision denies all federal benefits to same-sex couples.
The Democratic brief is meant as a counterweight to House Republicans, who have been defending DOMA in court ever since President Barack Obama ordered the Justice Department to stop doing so. The president believes the measure is unconstitutional, but it will remain federal law unless it is repealed by Congress or overturned by the court.
“There simply is no legitimate federal interest in denying married same-sex couples the legal security, rights and responsibilities that the federal law provides to all other married couples,” the lawmakers said in a statement accompanying the brief.
Democratic lawmakers leading the push are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy.
No Republicans signed the congressional brief.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case on March 27. One day earlier, the justices will take up a separate but related case on the constitutionality of California’s gay marriage ban.
The Obama administration, which is a party in the DOMA case but not in the California case, filed its own friend-of-the-court brief Thursday asking justices to overturn the California ban.
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