DOMA challenge heads to court
Arguments will be heard early next month.
The challenge brought against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by Boston’s Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) will be heard in court on Thursday, May 6.
President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996, banning federal recognition of legally performed same-sex marriages. Gay and lesbian married couples are therefore ineligible for 1,138 federal marriage benefits automatically granted to straight married couples. The marriage benefits include survivor benefits on a deceased spouse’s pension; health insurance coverage for a spouse on a federal family plan; and denial of Social Security death and widower benefits, just to name a few.
Oral arguments will be heard in May in the case of Gill v. Office of Personal Management, brought by GLAD in March of last year. The challenge asks one central question: Is DOMA constitutional?
Mary L. Bonauto, GLAD’s civil rights project director, will argue on behalf of seven married same-sex couples and three widowers before U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro. Bonauto was the lead attorney in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the landmark ruling that six years ago legalized same-sex marriage in Massachusetts.
For more information, visit www.glad.org/doma. Watch BayWindows.com for continuing coverage of the hearing.