Metro Weekly

Constitutional Countdown

New moves add impetus to Supreme Court's date with marriage

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joined in applauding the decision as ”another historic step forward in the fight for equality for LGBT Americans,” but couldn’t resist taking a swipe at House Republicans.

”The District Court’s decision marks the fifth time Speaker Boehner has wasted taxpayer dollars on a failed effort to defend discrimination and undermine civil rights,” Pelosi said in a statement. ”The congressional Republicans’ single-minded effort to uphold DOMA at any cost comes at great expense to the American people and rejects our nation’s heritage of equality for all.”

The case was originally filed in the Federal District Court of Connecticut in November 2010 and centers around Joanne Pendersen and her wife, Ann Meitzen. Pendersen, who served in a civilian position for the U.S. Department of the Navy for 30 years, sued the federal government after Meitzen was denied coverage on her federal health insurance plan because of DOMA.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) represented the plaintiffs in the case.

Mary L. Bonauto, GLAD’s Civil Rights Project director, said in a statement, “Judge Bryant’s ruling is very clear: married people are married and should be treated as such by the federal government. There is no legitimate basis for DOMA’s broad disrespect of the marriages of same-sex couples.”

Pendersen said she was thrilled with the court’s ruling.

“I loved working for the Navy for many years, and now that I am retired I now just want to care for my wife and make sure we can enjoy some happy and healthy years together. DOMA has prevented us from doing that,” she said in a statement.

According to GLAD, the case will inevitably be appealed by BLAG to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit sometime within the next 60 days.

Several DOMA-related cases have already been petitioned to the Supreme Court, which are now joined by the Proposition 8 case. As SCOTUSblog reports, it is highly likely some of the cases petitioned will be granted arguments by the Supreme Court.

A ruling on any of the cases would likely come before June 2013 and be the first Supreme Court ruling on the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's former political editor and White House correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @JustinCSnow.