News (USA)

Boehner appeals DOMA cases to U.S. Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) attorneys on Friday formally appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court an appeals court decision determining the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, according to a Democratic aide.

Drew Hammill, spokesperson for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), told the Washington Blade on Friday afternoon Republicans had notified Democratic leadership that House counsel filed an appeal to the Supreme Court.

John Boehner

The court ruling that was appealed was the First Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the cases of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, which was filed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health & Human Services.

On May 31, the appellate court issued a decision that DOMA was unconstitutional as a result of both cases.

In February 2011, the Obama administration announced it would no longer defend DOMA in court. After the decision, Boehner convened the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which voted 3-2 on a party-line basis to take up defense of DOMA in the administration’s stead.

Meanwhile, the Justice Department has filed legal briefs in favor of lawsuits against DOMA and sent to make the case against the law in oral arguments Stuart Delery, who’s gay and the Justice Department’s acting assistant attorney general for the civil division.

Six federal courts have found that DOMA is unconstitutional as a result of cases filed by LGBT advocates. The ruling against DOMA in the First Circuit was the highest court to date to weigh in against the anti-gay law.

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