House lawyers under the direction of
Speaker John Boehner have asked the Supreme Court to take up an
appeal in a case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law which defines marriage as a
Lawyer Paul Clement, who argued before
the court on the healthcare issue, appealed the First Circuit Court
of Appeals' May 31 ruling in the cases of Gill v. Office of
Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v.
Department of Health & Human Service, gay weekly The
Washington Blade reported.
Boehner's office confirmed the appeal
in a statement to POLITICO.com.
Gill was filed by the
Boston-based legal group Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
“We have been preparing for this
since May 17, 2004 – the day marriage first became a reality for
same-sex couples in the United States, the result of our landmark
Massachusetts case Goodridge v. DPH,” GLAD said in an e-mail
to supporters. “Right then, we began crafting our multi-faceted
legal challenge to DOMA.”
Gay rights advocates criticized
Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, for continuing to defend the law.
It's time for Boehner to “respect
basic American values of equal protection under the law,” said Evan
Wolson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry.
Drew Hammill, spokesperson for House
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, also criticized the move, saying
Boehner was wasting “more taxpayer funds to advance a position
rejected by four different courts and to defend discrimination and
inequality before the highest court in the land.”
“We believe there is no federal
interest in denying LGBT couples the same rights and responsibilities
afforded to all couples married under state law. And we are
confident that the Supreme Court, if it considers the case, will
declare DOMA unconstitutional and relegate it to the dustbin of
history once and for all,” he told The Washington Blade.
The House's Bipartisan Legal Advisory
Group (BLAG) has intervened in 12 DOMA-related cases since President
Barack Obama instructed the Department of Justice to no longer defend
the law in court.
Boehner campaigning for gay candidate Richard Tisei.)