Saturday, Oct 25, 2014
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 36 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website



Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 

 

Speakeasy Speed Test

 
 
click to go to advertisers website
 
Federal judge dismisses DOMA suit, Smelt v. United States
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
Federal judge dismisses DOMA suit, Smelt v. United States

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A federal judge has dismissed Smelt v. United States - the case in which President Obama's Justice Department filed two controversial briefs defending DOMA. The ruling was handed down on Monday, August 24.

US District Judge David O. Carter ruled the case - the first of several pending challenges to DOMA - must be refiled. Three other marriage cases remain active in federal courts.

Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer were legally married in California prior to passage of Prop 8. They filed suit on March 9 this year to have DOMA and Prop 8 declared unconstitutional. The suit was first filed in a California State Superior Court and then removed to federal court.

Carter dismissed the case without ruling on the constitutional merits of DOMA.

"Because Plaintiffs' claims against the United States must be dismissed on jurisdictional grounds, the court need not address arguments asserted as to Plaintiffs' standing to pursue this case against the United States," he wrote.

Carter's reasoning followed one of the arguments set out by the Justice Department in its brief of August 17 defending DOMA. In that brief, the administration admits that DOMA "is discriminatory," but lays out several reasons the suit should be dismissed.

Carter agreed with the administration's first contention, that the federal court lacks jurisdiction over the case because the state court in which it was originally filed lacked jurisdiction.

"In this case, the California Superior Court, in which this case was originally filed, did not have jurisdiction over this lawsuit due to United States sovereign immunity in state court where there is no waiver of immunity. As follows, this court does not have jurisdiction," Carter wrote.

Lack of jurisdiction is the narrowest ground on which the court could have ruled, and it leaves open the other contentions the Justice Department advanced in its briefs.

The administration also argued that Smelt and Hammer lack standing to sue because they have not suffered any harm as a result of the admittedly discriminatory provisions of DOMA.

"Plaintiffs are married under the laws of California, but they are residents of California and do not allege that any other state has refused to recognize their marriage," the brief says.

The Justice Department also argued that the federal government's interest in supporting the existing law passes the "rational basis" test.

"Congress could reasonably have concluded that there is a legitimate government interest in maintaining the status quo regarding the distribution of federal benefits in the face of serious and fluid policy differences in and among the states," the administration's brief said.

Monday's action was the latest round in a five-year legal battle for Smelt and Hammer. Because Smelt centers on contentions regarding interstate travel, it was considered the weakest of the marriage cases pending. Nevertheless, Smelt's attorney, Richard Gilbert, said he would accept Carter's invitation to refile the suit.

Gill v. Office of Personnel Management et al. is a Massachusetts case challenging only Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages legally conducted in a state where they are permitted. Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders has filed an amended complaint in this case, and the Justice Department's Answer or Motion to Dismiss is due in mid-September.

Massachusetts v. United States also challenges Section 3 of DOMA on the grounds that Congress "overstepped its authority, undermined states' efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards Gay and Lesbian people."

Perry v. Schwarzenegger is technically a challenge only to California's Prop 8, but it could have very far-reaching effects because it is based on the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the 14th Amendment. Should the court agree with Plaintiff in this case, that finding would presumably invalidate both Section 2 and 3 of DOMA as well.

Perry is controversial because it is brought by two private attorneys, Ted Olson and David Boies, on behalf of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, and they have so far prevented national LGBT organizations from taking part in the suit.

Trial date for Perry has been set for January 11, 2010.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Referendum 71: Lawsuit filed to prevent certification, donor names subject to disclosure
------------------------------
SGN exclusive interview: Lt. Dan Choi speaks out on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'
------------------------------
Senator Ted Kennedy dead at 77
------------------------------
Ed Murray - Seattle's next mayor? Possible write-in?
------------------------------
A tale of two obituaries
------------------------------
Barack Obama remembers Ted Kennedy
------------------------------
Seattle forms Gay Flag Football Club
------------------------------
Violent attacks continue on Capitol Hill
------------------------------
Federal judge dismisses DOMA suit, Smelt v. United States
------------------------------
Seattle Gay History: The 922
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------
Iowa Ethics Board Concerned About NOM Activities
------------------------------
Murray won't run for Seattle mayor
------------------------------
Constantine, Hutchison both back state gay-rights law
------------------------------
'Don't ask, don't tell' challenge gets court date
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

 

http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml
copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2009

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News