WINDY CITY TIMES
||Justice Dept. not defending DOMA
This article shared 3014 times since Wed Feb 22, 2012
The Department of Justice sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner stating that the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments will not defend the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ) regarding equal treatment for servicemembers who have same-sex spouses, Metro Weekly reported.
The letter from Attorney General Eric Holder reads, in part, "the President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a heightened standard of constitutional scrutiny under equal protection principles, and that Section 3 of DOMA [ which defines the term "spouse" or "surviving spouse" as "a person of the opposite sex" ] fails such scrutiny as applied to couples who are legally married under state law."
Holder also says that the DOMA section "as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violate the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment."
The department was stating its position with regard to McLaughlin et. al v. Panetta et. al., which challenges DOMA and federal statutes related to benefits for the spouses of service members and veterans, according to a press release from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) .
Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis issued the following statement said, "We are pleased that the attorney general has decided not to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in the military context, just as he has declined to defend it in other contexts. We are also delighted that, for the first time, he has said that separate definitions that apply to military veterans are also unconstitutional. This is an important step for the McLaughlin plaintiffs."
This article shared 3014 times since Wed Feb 22, 2012
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