CREW Files Brief in Supreme Court

A friend-of-the-court brief has been filed with the Supreme Court in the case challenging the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government (CREW), a government watch-dog group.  

The brief explains how DOMA's exclusion of same-sex couples from the Federal definitions of "marriage" and "spouse" results in the exemption of same-sex couples from requirements and limitations under the Ethics in Government Act, the tax code, and bankruptcy laws that apply to opposite-sex couples.

For example, the Ethics in Goverment Act's prohibition on nepotism applies to spouses of public officials in opposite-sex marriages, but does not apply to spouses in same-sex marriages. CREW argues that there is no logical reason for DOMA to exclude public officials in same-sex marriages from such nepotism prohibitions and, therefore, Congress lacked the Constitutionally required "rational basis" for the provisions enacted in DOMA.

The brief also explains how the Ethics in Government Act's requirements for disclosing gifts to the spouses of public officials in opposite-sex marriages do not apply to gifts to spouses in same-sex marriages because of DOMA.  Similarly, limitations on deductions and credits applicable to opposite-sex couples under the tax code do not apply to same-sex couples because of DOMA.

For example, tax deductions available for expenses incurred to adopt a child may not be used when a person adopts the child of a spouse in an opposite-sex marriage, but a spouse in a same-sex marriage can deduct adoption expenses when adopting a spouse's child. Additionally, the income of spouses in opposite-sex marriages, but not those in same-sex marriages, is considered when determining whether a person can claim an Earned Income Tax Credit and in determining a person's assets in a bankruptcy proceeding.

Florida's failure to allow same-sex marriages results in similar incongruous results, which SAVE Dade opposes.  For example, a gay state senator in Florida does not have to disclose large cash gifts given to the senator's partner by a lobbyist or constituent. In Florida, gay mayors can appoint their partners to high level positions within city governments without violating prohibitions on nepotism.

SAVE Dade stands for Safeguarding American Values for Everyone.  SAVE Dade believes that both the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage should apply equally to opposite-sex marriages and same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court should strike down DOMA, as unconstitutional, so that the Federal government recognises same-sex marriages and Florida should allow same-sex couples to marry.

http://www.citizensforethics.org/legal-filings/entry/crew-files-brief-in-supreme-court-arguing-doma-undermines-ethics-laws

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