Photo: Getty Images/Spencer Platt
The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing two big gay marriage cases this term, and the first briefs arguing the merits of each side of the debate are starting to come in.Republican lawmakers fighting to preserve the defence of Marriage Act contended in their brief Tuesday that the Clinton-era law should stand even though Obama’s administration refuses to defend it.
Two federal appeals courts have found DOMA unconstitutional, particularly section 3 of the law, which bars the U.S. government from recognising same-sex marriages for tax and other purposes.
Since Obama’s DOJ decided to stop defending the law, the House’s Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (which is actually majority Republican) enlisted legal superstar Paul Clement to take up their pro-DOMA case.
In its brief filed Tuesday, BLAG (not to be confused with P-FLAG) said the government shouldn’t go out of its way to look out for gay people’s marriage rights because they already have “remarkable political clout.”
Specifically, BLAG advised the Supreme Court against classifying gays as a “suspect class,” a group that’s likely to encounter discrimination.
“[G]ays and lesbians are one of the most influential, best-connected, best-funded, and best organised interest groups in modern politics,” the brief says, “and have attained more legislative victories, political power, and popular favour in less time than virtually any other group in American history.”
The high court has previously said a class of people that has the potential to get lawmakers’ attention shouldn’t get the protective “suspect” classification, BLAG says.
BLAG could face an uphill battle in the Supreme Court, though.
Swing voter Anthony Kennedy has expressed support for gay rights, and Chief Justice John Roberts could decide the law tramples on the rights of states that recognise gay marriage.
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