GLAD Responds to Petition for Supreme Court Review in Gill v. OPM

“There is a Need for Supreme Court Resolution”

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) today submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court brief in response to two petitions for certiorari arising from GLAD’s victory at the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, which challenges the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Responding to the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group’s (BLAG) petition for certiorari, BLAG v. Nancy Gill et al. (No. 12-13) and a separate petition filed by the Department of Justice, U.S. Dept. of HHS v. Comm. of Massachusetts (No. 12-15) GLAD agreed that Gill raises questions of national importance, and that “there is a need for definitive Supreme Court resolution of those issues.”
In a decision called a “blockbuster” and a “game-changer,” the First Circuit ruled unanimously on May 31 that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional with respect to the claims brought by the seven married same-sex couples and three widowers in Gill.
“Our plaintiffs are robbed of dignity and equality every day by DOMA and so are tens of thousands of other married couples and widowers across the country,” said Mary L. Bonauto, GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director and lead attorney in the case. “We hope the damage wrought by DOMA will soon be ended once and for all.”
GLAD’s filing noted, however, that in considering whether to grant review in Gill, “The Court should not be swayed by the arguments on the merits that BLAG chose to present in its petition… [A]s multiple courts have recently recognized, there are compelling arguments that Congress violated the equal protection guarantee when it decided for the first time to deny all recognition to a single class of state-sanctioned marriages.”

Working with GLAD as co-operating counsel are Jenner & Block LLP (Washington, DC), Foley Hoag LLP (Boston), and Sullivan & Worcester LLP (Boston).

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Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.