A Second Chance
The state of Massachusetts upped the ante in the fight over same-sex marriage by suing the federal government over its DOMA policy.
Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage, sued the U.S. government Wednesday over a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The federal Defense of Marriage Act interferes with the right of Massachusetts to define and regulate marriage as it sees fit, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said. The 1996 law denies federal recognition of gay marriage and gives states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Massachusetts is the first state to challenge the federal law. Its lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston, argues the act "constitutes an overreaching and discriminatory federal law." It says the approximately 16,000 same-sex couples who have married in Massachusetts since the state began performing gay marriages in 2004 are being unfairly denied federal benefits given to heterosexual couples.
True, Massachusetts is the first state to challenge DOMA, but several individuals have chosen to do so. And the Obama Justice Department's brief in that case was basically the touchstone to seething in the gay community over the White House disrespecting their civil rights. Just yesterday AIDS activists shut down the Capitol Dome over a broken promise from Obama on needle-exchange programs.
It appears that Obama will have an opportunity, at some point, to submit a new brief and right this wrong. I hope he takes it.