Massachusetts sues feds over DOMA

A new suit argues that the federal government is encroaching on states' power, and promoting discrimination

Published July 8, 2009 6:15PM (EDT)

President Obama and congressional Democrats may not be moving to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act as fast as LGBT activists would like, but there's some activity on that front coming from another source.

On Wednesday, the state of Massachusetts filed suit against the federal government, saying DOMA unconstitutionally takes on what was traditionally a state power in regulating marriage, and that it discriminates against same-sex couples. "In enacting DOMA, Congress overstepped its authority, undermined states' efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people," the suit says, according to the Associated Press.

Obama's Justice Department has previously defended DOMA in court, setting off a firestorm in the gay community. The defense wasn't about the administration's feelings on DOMA, however, so much as a reflection of the government's traditional stance of fighting on behalf of almost all federal laws in court, even those which the current administration opposes.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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