Justice Dept. Asks Supreme Court to Hear DOMA Challenge

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July 3, 2012
Lambda Legal client Karen Golinski (r.) with her spouse, Amy Cunninghis

The Justice Department filed a request today that the U.S. Supreme Court hear Lambda Legal’s challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the Golinski v. OPM case.

Lambda Legal represents Karen Golinski, an employee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals who seeks spousal health benefits for her wife.

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Tara Borelli says:

This development highlights the desire by all, the government included, to resolve this issue quickly. It is clear to us, to the Solicitor General and to the Department of Justice that DOMA’s days are numbered. The last four courts to consider the question have all found Section 3 of DOMA—which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex couples’ valid marriages—to be unconstitutional. The Justice Department’s action may speed the day when the Supreme Court reaches the issue. Lambda Legal and Morrison & Foerster stand ready to argue for fair treatment for Karen Golinski and her spouse, Amy Cunninghis, in any court, at any time—and we welcome this opportunity to finally put DOMA out of its, and our, misery.

There are loving, married same-sex couples, and grieving lesbian and gay widows and widowers around the country who are being hurt by the government’s discriminatory actions—that’s why there are DOMA cases pending in several jurisdictions, brought on behalf of many plaintiffs. Every one of their stories demonstrates that DOMA is an unfair and discriminatory law that violates the Constitution. While it is up to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not to hear Golinski now, we are confident that DOMA will be found unconstitutional—and the sooner, the better.

The Justice Department also filed a petition today asking the Supreme Court to hear the Gill v. OPM case, a unanimous ruling by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in a DOMA challenge brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).