Massachusetts Challenge to DOMA ‘Politically Motivated’

by | Jul 9, 2009 | Charisma Archive

Traditional marriage supporters say a Massachusetts lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a political move to force the nation to recognize same-sex marriage.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said DOMA interferes with Massachusetts’ right to define and regulate marriage as it sees fit, according to the Associated Press (AP). The act, passed in 1996, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex unions performed elsewhere.

Coakley also claims that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples denies gay couples access to certain benefits, including federal income tax credits, retirement benefits, health insurance coverage and Social Security payments, the lawsuit says.

But traditional marriage advocates say the argument is a ruse.

At bottom, the suit appears to be politically motivated and an attempt to force the federal government and federal taxpayers to recognize and support same-sex marriage regardless of whether they want to or not, DOMA notwithstanding,” said Colby M. May, director and senior counsel for the Washington, D.C., office of the American Center for Law and Justice.

“I think it beyond peradventure that the federal government, for federal purposes, has the right to define marriage. Similarly, each state, for state purposes, has the same right—this is fundamental federalism.”

Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said his firm plans to request permission to intervene on behalf of several individual clients to defend DOMA apart from the Justice Department, which represents the government in litigation.

In a statement Wednesday, Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said his department planned to review the case, but noted that President Obama “supports legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act because it prevents [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] couples from being granted equal rights and benefits.”

“I don’t think this particular case has a chance of getting good traction,” Staver told Charisma. “I think the complaint is sort of off-base, doesn’t have good legal ground. However, there’s no question in my mind that President Obama wants to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act. He is pro-same-sex union, and he sees that as an impediment toward his agenda.”

Staver said the president may want the courts to strike down DOMA so he can avoid a political battle.

“I would say that he and his administration are probably encouraging these lawsuits and conferencing with different organizations and government officials to try to bring these lawsuits,” Staver said. “Because who ends up defending them? It’s the Obama administration, which is pro-same-sex unions. That’s why it’s important for us to get involved in this case and work on independent defense of this and other challenges to marriage laws or the federal Defense of Marriage Act.”

The Massachusetts lawsuit is the second case to challenge DOMA this year. On March 3, several same-sex couples filed a claim that said the federal law barred them from receiving more than 1,000 marriage-related benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy, the Boston Globe reported. The benefits include health insurance for spouses of federal employees and federal tax deductions for couples who file jointly.

Unlike the previous challenge to DOMA, Coakley argues that the law violates states’ rights, an argument that has helped preserve traditional marriage in 30 states where voters passed constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Massachusetts’ Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2004.

The Catholic Action League called Coakley’s lawsuit “another flagrant attempt by a minority to use the courts to impose its will on the American majority.”

League executive director C. J. Doyle said the suit is “one more effort by Massachusetts to judicially export homosexual marriage to the rest of the country. One cannot help but note the shameless hypocrisy of a state government which had refused to allow its own citizens-the people of Massachusetts-to vote on the definition of marriage, now claiming that an act of Congress is intruding on its sovereign right of self-government.”

A law recognizing same-sex marriages in the District of Columbia went into effect Tuesday. In addition to Massachusetts, gay marriage is currently legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. However, traditional marriage supporters in Maine gathered enough signatures to stop the new law from going into effect in September and to force a statewide vote in November, the AP reported.


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Charisma Highlights: Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Following are snippets of the top stories posted on over the past week. We encourage you to visit the links to read the stories in full. Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven? Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are...

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

10 Ways to Practice Gratitude With Your family This Thanksgiving

This month we are entering a season which, in the United States, has been devoted to gratitude and thanksgiving for 400 years! While the Thanksgiving holiday has had a long and varied history within the United States, the practice of devoting sacrificial offerings,...

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

Don’t Let Ungratefulness Turn You Into a Spoiled American

My frequent trips to developing nations always help me adjust my attitude. Just when I start to feel spoiled and entitled, I meet people from places like Congo, India and Honduras—and I realize just how blessed I am. This happened to me again last week during a trip...

The Power of Being Thankful

The Power of Being Thankful

One of the best ways to show God we love Him is to be thankful. When we express our deep gratitude to Him, it actually invites His presence onto our lives. Being thankful also neutralizes the enemy and brings victory into our situations no matter what the outcome....

Get Off Your Pew!

Get Off Your Pew!

As God’s clock inches closer to the final hour before His return, many people find themselves filled with angst, anxiety and despair. People are not sleeping well, many have fallen into depression and are feeling hopeless. These are the very days that we have been...

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

The Great Commission Can Set Us Free from Responsibility

Read Time: 4 Minutes 28 Seconds While all of the stories we read in the Torah are meaningful, sometimes the events we read about can seem to hold more relevance, especially for those of us who are followers of Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah. One such event is the calling...


The Church’s Role in Preserving Freedom of Speech in America

Read Time: 3 Minutes 17 Seconds The controversy surrounding Kyrie Irving and his post of a tweet that claims the Jews in Israel are not the real Jews—that Black Africans are the real Jews—raises...
Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Count Your Blessings, For God Indeed is Good

Read Time: 4 Minutes 42 Seconds Thanksgiving Day is just a few days away for U.S. Americans. It is a favorite holiday—perhaps only exceeded by Christmas—to gather with family and friends to watch parades, play (American) “football” and eat delicious food—often from...

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven?

Is Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer in Heaven? Read Time: 3 Minutes, 10 Seconds Is it possible that behind the pearly gates of heaven there are murderers, pedophiles and cannibals walking along the streets of gold? We are taught in the book of Romans, "That if...

Pin It on Pinterest