USA: Another DOMA Brief Filed; Will UK, France Affect Supreme Court Outcome?

Written by scott on February 6th, 2013

Defense of Marriage ActA group of 2,500 conservative US military chaplains has filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, urging it to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act. Joe.My.God reports:

The harm to military religious liberty will be felt in at least two broad ways. The first, as amici’s collective centuries of military experience instructs, would be the weeding out of service members who hold traditional religious beliefs about marriage and the family. Service members are evaluated for promo-tion and retention via processes, such as Officer Evaluation Reports, which specifically ask whether the service member under consideration promotes the military’s equal opportunity policy.8 8See Army Officer Evaluation Report at 2 (asking whether the evaluated officer “promotes dignity, consideration, fairness, and EO [i.e., equal opportunity], see generally Army Regulation 623-3, Evaluation Reporting System. If this Court declares irrational and impolitic traditional religious beliefs about marriage, that inquiry would, for the first time, prove toxic for many devoutly religious service members.

The Long Beach Press Telegram reports that a flood of anti-gay marriage briefs hit the Supreme Court over the last week:

In dozens of court briefs, organizations aligned against gay marriage urged the Supreme Court to uphold both Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex nuptials, and the federal government’s 1996 law forbidding benefits for same-sex couples. In addition, 19 states that outlaw same-sex marriage backed supporters of Proposition 8 in the Supreme Court, arguing that states have a right to define marriage and that courts should not interfere with the “integrity of their constitutions and democratic processes.” The Indiana and Virginia attorneys general wrote the states’ brief.

And in related news, attorney Ezra Waldman talks about what the repeal of DOMA won’t address, namely binational couples, over at

Section 3’s discriminatory definition of marriage denies legally married same-sex couples the thousands of federal rights normally associated with getting married, including everything from health insurance to survivorship benefits to immigration rights for bi-national couples. It is the last issue that is particularly vexing not only because gay binational couples have had to survive under a tragic regime that rips apart two people in love, but also because the end of DOMA is a half measure that leaves thousands of these men and women without equal rights.

Andrew Sullivan at The Dish thinks the Supreme Court may take note of the upcoming passage of marriage equality in France and the UK:

Justices do not rule in a cultural or historical vacuum. They could still vote narrowly and duck a big national resolution (as I hope they do). But Kennedy in particular could also see the emerging future in the West as a decisive factor, believe he has played a critical judicial role in this civil rights movement in America (as he has), and decide to go big. It’s his legacy. And it will last.


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