WASHINGTON, D.C., January 19, 2011 ( – Pro-family advocates are urging a federal appeals court to overturn a federal judge’s ruling that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. They have also criticized the Obama Justice Department’s defense of DOMA as inadequate and a deliberate recipe for failure.

Family Research Council and the Thomas More Society, a public interest firm, filed an amicus curiae brief urging the 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston to reverse US District Judge Joseph Tauro’s ruling in July 2010 that struck down DOMA on the basis that it violated states’ rights and homosexuals’ right to equal protection guaranteed by the US Constitution.

FRC president Tony Perkins said Tauro gave “short shrift” to the principal reasons that Congress enacted DOMA in 1996, namely “responsible procreation and child rearing.”

“With this brief, the Family Research Council is joining allied organizations in providing the court with arguments strongly supporting the reasons why Congress overwhelmingly enacted DOMA in 199,” said Perkins. “As a result, the principal focus of our amicus brief’s second section is to demonstrate the legitimacy of Congress’ interest in encouraging responsible procreation and child-rearing and to show that DOMA advances those interests through its endorsement of marriage between one man and one woman.”

Tauro had ruled on two lawsuits challenging DOMA, filed respectively by Boston’s Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), and then-Attorney General Martha Coakley of Massachusetts.

Perkins said that the lawsuits against DOMA would not only challenge the federal statutory definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, but would also endanger the ability of states to deny recognition of same-sex “marriages”, when their own laws define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Section 3 of DOMA states that the term “marriage,” as used in any act of Congress or any ruling or regulation of the federal government, means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.

Tauro declared this section of DOMA violated the equal protection principles of the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, and violated the Tenth Amendment in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Pro-family advocates have also criticized the Obama Justice Department’s (DOJ) handling of the legal challenges to DOMA, accusing it of setting the case up to fail.

“The DOJ brief amounts to collusive litigation, failing to even offer to the court, much less vigorously defend, the reasons Congress laid out in the statute when it passed DOMA-especially responsible procreation.  This is an attack not only on marriage, but on the prerogatives of Congress,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

Brown said the DOJ’s defense was deliberately undercutting “responsible procreation” as one of the four purposes Congress established in passing DOMA.

“Obama’s DOJ is trying to retain control so it can lose this case,” said Brown.

Perkins agreed that the DOJ brief, “rejects the importance of ‘responsible procreation and child rearing’”. He said this rationale was the “most powerful basis for defending the statute” and that Congress also “asserted this as its foremost interest in passing the Defense of Marriage Act.”


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