Lambda Legal Decries DOMA Defenders' Refusal to Allow Taping of Court Hearing

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"It is outrageous that the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives wants to shroud in secrecy their use of tax dollars to try to defend discrimination."

Date

Date: 
09/12/2011
Tara Borelli

"It is telling that the proponents of discrimination are unwilling to subject their arguments to a full and public airing."

(San Francisco, September 12, 2011)—Lawyers for the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives (BLAG) informed U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White that they "prefer not" to participate in a pilot project to video-tape oral arguments at an October 21, 2011 hearing in Golinski v OPM, a federal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

BLAG is defending DOMA in the case and, because Judge White's video-taping request required all parties to consent, BLAG's refusal means the proceedings will not be recorded and made available on the court's website.

Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Staff Attorney Tara Borelli:

"It is outrageous that the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives wants to shroud in secrecy their use of tax dollars to try to defend discrimination," Borelli said. "Of course, opponents of equal rights for same-sex couples have a track record of hiding, as evidenced by the Proposition 8 Proponents' strenuous efforts to keep the public from seeing the Proposition 8 trial in Perry v. Brown (formerly Schwarzenegger).

"We believe the harm DOMA causes daily deserves an open and public hearing, as do the arguments put forth by those using taxpayer dollars to try to perpetuate this discrimination. It is telling that the proponents of discrimination are unwilling to subject their arguments to a full and public airing."

Lambda Legal and co-counsel Morrison & Foerster are representing Karen Golinski, a lesbian federal court employee who is attempting to secure health care coverage for her wife. Golinski agreed to the recording, as did the Department of Justice, which is no longer defending the constitutionality of DOMA.

Read the court's order.

Read BLAG's non-consent.

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Contact Info

Contact: Tom Warnke; 213-382-7600 ex 247;twarnke@lambdalegal.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.