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Equality news round-up: A list of some of the amicus briefs filed in Supreme Court challenges to Prop 8 and DOMA

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By Scottie Thomaston

EqualityOnTrial has been reading the briefs in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases, and covering many of them. Since there are well over 100, I thought a round-up of some of the briefs we haven’t covered would be useful.

– Joe My God highlights the brief filed by 212 Congresspeople, and quotes from a press release:

The amicus brief filed today makes clear that BLAG does not speak for Congress, and that many members believe that Section 3 should be struck down because there simply is no legitimate federal interest in denying married same-sex couples the legal security, rights and responsibilities that federal law provides to all other married couples. As the brief explains: “DOMA imposes a sweeping and unjustifiable federal disability on married same-sex couples.”

– A brief from former FEC commissioners argues Section 3 of DOMA affects free speech:

The brief says that DOMA, when imposed over campaign finance laws, prevents married gay individuals from using the personal funds of a spouse for campaigns and from attending certain political meetings and contributing to political action committees for unions and corporations that employ their spouse. The former commissioners argue that the burdens DOMA creates for gay candidates and donors should lead the Supreme Court to uphold the appeals court decision finding DOMA to be unconstitutional.

“Sexual orientation should never affect any American’s First Amendment right to free speech and association,” former FEC chairman and Caplin Drysdale lawyer Trevor Potter said in a statement. “Because of DOMA, though, discrimination is embedded in the very rules that shape political involvement. The Brief informs the Court of this fact to aid its deliberations on the constitutionality of DOMA.”

Potter was joined in the brief by a bipartisan collection of former FEC commissioners including Arent Fox lawyer Craig Engle, Skadden, Arps lawyer Kenneth Gross, Covington & Burling’s Robert Lenhard, Americans for Campaign Finance Reform president Lawrence Noble and Dickstein Shapiro’s Scott Thomas.

– Almost 300 businesses filed a brief which the Boston Globe highlights:

A who’s who of corporate America signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief filed Wednesday. The group of 278 businesses includes the Bay State’s EMC Corp., State Street Corp., Akamai Technologies Inc., and a number of law firms and health insurers.

“The federal law forces an employer to put its employees in two different castes,” said Sabin Willett, a partner with the Boston law firm Bingham McCutchen, which wrote the brief. “DOMA is bad for business.”

– Several briefs were filed from people and organizations who had previously filed briefs in Lawrence v. Texas and were cited in the Court’s majority opinion in the case: the Cato Institute (in Windsor and in Perry, as well as a brief from William Eskridge, whose writings were cited by the Court. h/t Kathleen for these links

– The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a brief which says:

The brief cites the anti-gay advertising employed during the Prop 8 campaign as ample evidence of animus against LGBT people. Among the citations are claims that pedophiles would be able to marry children and that humans would be able to marry horses.

– NFL players Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo filed a brief opposing Prop 8.

– California’s Assembly Speaker filed a brief opposing Prop 8.

– Massachusetts and several other states filed a brief opposing Prop 8. They argue that:

Proposition 8’s exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional. Denying gays and lesbians the opportunity to wed the partner of theirchoosing does not advance any legitimate governmental interest.

h/t Kathleen

– The NAACP and Howard University filed briefs in the cases discussing the history of civil rights law in the country. Summaries of those and others are here.

1 Comment

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