Challenge to Federal Gay Marriage Ban To Be Heard in September | NBC Bay Area

Challenge to Federal Gay Marriage Ban To Be Heard in September

An appeal of the Defense of Marriage Act goes before an appeals court in September.



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    A challenge of the Defense of Marriage Act heads to a San Francisco courtroom in September.

    Equal under the law means equal benefits, too -- as a legal challenge to federal restrictions on benefits granted to same-sex couples would have us believe.

    Last year, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, the Contra Costa Times reported. The Obama Justice Department has declined to defend the government's law, but a cabal of Republicans has forced lawyers into the courtroom to defend DOMA, and they will do so before an appeals court panel in September, according to the newspaper.

    In a twist, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear an argument brought by one of its own staff attorneys. Attorney Karen Golinski challenged DOMA in 2008 because the federal government refused to provide health benefits to her wife after their marriage, according to the newspaper.

    The case appears destined for the Supreme Court. Lawyers for Obama's Justice Department requested the case go directly to an 11-judge panel instead of the initial panel of three judges, but the court system declined.