A group of House Democrats filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking a federal appeals court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, according to Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner.
However, 60 Democrats — including 15 who had co-sponsored a bill repealing the DOMA — chose not to sign on to Tuesday’s brief to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The case hinges on DOMA’s ability to prevent same-sex spouses from receiving federal benefits, which was declared unconstitutional in February 2012 by a U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
The brief, filed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and 131 other Democrats, argues that the law was motivated by “the desire to disapprove of and disadvantage gay and lesbian couples.” Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) have consistently opposed the law as part of the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which, under Republican leadership, has been defending it in court since the Obama administration’s withdrawal of support for the law last year.
The House Democrats’ brief then argues that DOMA is unconstitutional because Congress hastily passed it in 1996 for political reasons and because the law undercuts Congress’ interest in protecting families and respecting state sovereignty.