More Than 200 Democratic Members File Amicus Brief Opposing DOMA

by Roll Call
March 2, 2013

A group of 212 mostly Democratic members of Congress filed a brief Friday urging the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the 1996 federal law recognizing marriage as a union between members of the opposite sex.

Justices will take up the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in late March and also review California’s Proposition 8, a 2008 measure that amended the state’s constitution to narrow the definition of marriage as between opposite-sex couples.

The 1996 law recognizes only heterosexual marriages for federal and interstate purposes such as income taxes and health insurance.

Republican leadership, using the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group in the House, began defending the statute in courts after the Obama administration said in 2011 it would no longer do so.

The lawmakers’ brief states that the law “imposes a sweeping and unjustifiable federal disability on married same-sex couples.”

The move by members follows a brief filed Thursday by the Obama administration that also urges the court to overturn Proposition 8.

President Barack Obama was asked about the decision and his evolution on the issue at a briefing with reporters Friday.

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