Next year, the Supreme Court will have its first opportunity to weigh in on same-sex marriage, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has filed an appeal in one of the many cases in which the Defense of Marriage Act has been found unconstitutional. Though numerous cases are advancing, House Republicans appealed the pair of cases from the First Circuit: Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. HHS. In the filing, Boehner’s attorneys continue to ignore the reality of same-sex families, arguing that Congress did nothing to harm or discriminate against them:
DOMA does not bar or invalidate any marriages but leaves states free to decide whether they will recognize same-sex marriage. Section 3 of DOMA simply asserts the federal government’s right as a separate sovereign to provide its own definition which “governs only federal programs and funding.”
Congress, of course, did not invent the meanings of “marriage” and “spouse” in 1996. Rather, DOMA merely reaffirmed and codified the traditional definition of marriage, i.e. what Congress itself has always meant — and what courts and the executive branch have always understood it to mean — in using these words: a traditional male-female couple.