Martha Coakley Submits Brief to SCOTUS on Defense of Marriage Act

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on July 27, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The Defense of Marriage Act challenge is making its way to the United States Supreme Court. We already talked about the petition filed by BLAG, or the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. BLAG's petition called for the Supreme Court to invalidate the First Circuit's ruling that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional this spring.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has now filed a 37-page brief, reports Reuters. The brief was in response to BLAG's petition.

In her brief, Coakley asks the Supreme Court to uphold the recent First Circuit Court of Appeals decision. She cited that in order to achieve marriage equality, all couples should be entitled to the same rights and protections under law.

As you may recall, the First Circuit Court of Appeals DOMA decision held that it was unconstitutional to deny federal benefits to same-sex couples.

The decision didn't, however, address other aspects of the law and the notion of gay marriage. That leaves much of DOMA still ripe for discussion.

Coakley's brief specifically calls on the Supreme Court to address the question on Section 3 of DOMA and whether the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman is in violation of the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection, particularly when applied to same-sex couples that have legally been married in a different state. You can read a copy of her brief here.

Other questions presented in her brief include whether DOMA violates the Tenth Amendment and the Spending Clause.

New York City has also filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court, to ask the court to overturn DOMA. The NYC brief revolves around a different case, Windsor v. United States.

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