Hearing set for GLAD’s DOMA case: May 6th in Federal District Court

Just got the news from GLAD that a hearing date has been set in the DOMA case. This is widely viewed as one of the best cases challenging that law. Our side will be represented by Mary Bonauto. The Obama administration’s Department of Justice will be defending DOMA. The Obama administration’s arguments are here and GLAD’s response is here.

As for the May 6th hearing, here’s press release GLAD sent this morning:

On Thursday, May 6, 2010, the Federal District Court in Boston will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in the case of Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, brought by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in March 2009.

The hearing will address the central issue of the case – is DOMA constitutional? –six years after the first same-sex couples in the country started marrying in Massachusetts, the result of GLAD’s groundbreaking marriage case, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.

Arguing before U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro on behalf of seven married same-sex couples and three widowers will be Mary L. Bonauto, GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director. Bonauto was the lead attorney in Goodridge.

As a result of DOMA, passed by Congress in 1996, plaintiffs in GLAD’s lawsuit have been harmed in various ways, including denial of survivor benefits on a deceased spouse’s pension; denial of health insurance coverage for a spouse on a federal family plan; denial of Social Security death and widower benefits; and the payment of extra federal income taxes due to the inability to file jointly as married.

In opposing the government’s Motion to Dismiss and arguing in favor of the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment, GLAD will assert that DOMA Section 3 violates the federal constitutional guarantee of equal protection as applied to federal income taxation, Social Security benefits, and federal employee and retiree benefits.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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