Six federal courts have ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act and reached the same conclusion: the 1996 law violates the Constitution by denying same-sex couples, who are legally married under state law, federal benefits afforded to heterosexual couples for no good reason. The issue has now officially landed at the Supreme Court.
Last week, the Obama administration asked the justices to review two court decisions — one by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and one by a Federal District Court in San Francisco — striking down the law’s denial of benefits on equal protection grounds.
The administration agrees with those rulings but has asked the Supreme Court to decide the constitutional question authoritatively. House Republicans retained private counsel to defend the 16-year-old law because the Obama administration has declined to defend it in court. They have asked the justices to overturn the First Circuit ruling and uphold the law.
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