Feds Concede DOMA Fight in Bankruptcy Court

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July 7, 2011

"The bankruptcy case that became one of many battlegrounds in the fight over the Defense of Marriage Act has come to an end, with the Justice Department and congressional Republicans bowing out of the fight.

"The latest filing leaves in place a rare order signed by 20 bankruptcy judges in the Central District declaring DOMA unconstitutional and allowing a married gay couple to file bankruptcy jointly...

"The apparent end to the DOMA litigation in bankruptcy cases has attention turning back to other challenges to the act, like the case of Karen Golinski, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals staff attorney fighting in the Northern District for spousal health insurance for her wife.

"Jon Davidson, a lawyer for Golinski and legal director of Lambda Legal's western regional office, called the outcome in the bankruptcy case a 'very good result' for that couple. He said it's important for gay couples with limited means to be able to file jointly.

"But he sees the fights against DOMA in matters involving health care, estate tax and Social Security benefits as being even more compelling. Davidson noted that the Golinski case, as well as other DOMA challenges lingering in federal courts, include significant evidentiary presentations, similar to Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which he says helps strengthen those cases. In Perry, he noted, the judge made factual findings based on expert testimony in rendering the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The bankruptcy cases, he said, lack that aspect."

Read more at Law.com.