Bennet, Udall Sign Legal Brief to Supreme Court Arguing Against DOMA

Brief calls DOMA "unconstitutional,"? sent to Supreme Court today

Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall today signed onto a legal brief to the United States Supreme Court calling the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional and a denial of equal protection.

The brief, signed by 212 lawmakers from both the Senate and House of Representatives, was filed today in the Supreme Court in the case of U.S. vs. Edith Schlain Windsor, a landmark challenge to Section 3 of DOMA. Windsor is an 83-year-old widow who had to pay over $350,000 in estate taxes because of DOMA.

Section 3 of DOMA defines marriage for purposes of federal law as “only a legal union between one man and one woman,” excluding legally married same-sex couples from all marriage-based federal responsibilities and rights.

The amicus brief filed today makes clear that many members of Congress believe that this section 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.”

“The federal Defense of Marriage Act, which basically says that gay couples are not entitled to the same benefits as their straight peers, discriminates against LGBT Americans and should be overturned” Bennet said. “Loving, committed couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, should enjoy their full rights under the law, just like my wife and me.”

"We must ensure that all Americans are treated equally and fairly under federal law, regardless of whom they love," Udall said. "There is no greater impediment to that ideal than the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and I am proud to stand with more than 200 of my colleagues — and members of both political parties — to call on the U.S. Supreme Court to strike it down. Our laws must respect the long-term — and legal — commitments of same-sex married couples across this country."

A total of 40 Senators and 172 members of the House signed onto the brief.

Amicus curia (literally, “friend of the court”) briefs typically provide courts with unique outside perspectives on issues.

Bennet and Udall have been strong supporters of repealing DOMA. They also championed the successful repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Full text of the brief here.

List of signers:


Tammy Baldwin

Michael F. Bennet

Richard Blumenthal

Barbara Boxer

Sherrod Brown

Maria Cantwell

Benjamin Cardin

Thomas R. Carper

Christopher Coons

William “Mo” Cowan

Richard J. Durbin

Dianne Feinstein

Al Franken

Kirsten Gillibrand

Tom Harkin

Martin Heinrich

Mazie K. Hirono

Tim Kaine

Angus S. King, Jr.

Amy Klobuchar

Frank R. Lautenberg

Patrick J. Leahy

Claire McCaskill

Robert Menendez

Jeff Merkley

Barbara A. Mikulski

Christopher S. Murphy

Patty Murray

Harry Reid

Bernie Sanders

Brian Schatz

Charles E. Schumer

Jeanne Shaheen

Debbie Stabenow

Jon Tester

Mark Udall

Mark R. Warner

Elizabeth Warren

Sheldon Whitehouse

Ron Wyden


Robert E. Andrews

Ron Barber

Karen Bass

Joyce Beatty

Xavier Becerra

Ami Bera

Timothy H. Bishop

Earl Blumenauer

Suzanne Bonamici

Robert A. Brady

Bruce L. Braley

Corinne Brown

Julia Brownley

Cheri Bustos

Lois Capps

Michael E. Capuano

Tony Cárdenas

John C. Carney, Jr.

André Carson

Matthew A. Cartwright

Kathy Castor

Joaquin Castro

Judy Chu

David N. Cicilline

Yvette D. Clarke

Wm. Lacy Clay

Emanuel Cleaver

James E. Clyburn

Steve Cohen

Gerald E. Connolly

John Conyers, Jr.

Joe Courtney

Joseph Crowley

Elijah E. Cummings

Danny K. Davis

Susan A. Davis

Diana DeGette

John K. Delaney

Rosa L. DeLauro

Suzan K. DelBene

Theodore E. Deutch

John D. Dingell

Lloyd Doggett

Michael F. Doyle

Tammy Duckworth

Donna F. Edwards

Keith Ellison

Eliot L. Engel

Anna G. Eshoo

Elizabeth H. Esty

Sam Farr

Chaka Fattah

Bill Foster

Lois Frankel

Marcia L. Fudge

Tulsi Gabbard

John Garamendi

Joe Garcia

Alan Grayson

Al Green

Raúl M. Grijalva

Luis V. Gutierrez

Janice Hahn

Colleen W. Hanabusa

Alcee L. Hastings

Denny Heck

Brian Higgins

James A. Himes

Rush Holt

Michael M. Honda

Steven A. Horsford

Steny H. Hoyer

Jared Huffman

Steve Israel

Sheila Jackson Lee

Hakeem S. Jeffries

Eddie Bernice Johnson

Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.

Marcy Kaptur

William R. Keating

Joseph P. Kennedy III

Daniel T. Kildee

Derek Kilmer

Ann Kirkpatrick

Ann M. Kuster

James R. Langevin

John B. Larson

Barbara Lee

Sander M. Levin

John Lewis

David Loebsack

Zoe Lofgren

Alan S. Lowenthal

Nita M. Lowey

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Daniel B. Maffei

Carolyn B. Maloney

Sean Patrick Maloney

Edward J. Markey

Doris O. Matsui

Carolyn McCarthy

Betty McCollum

Jim McDermott

James P. McGovern

Jerry McNerney

Gregory W. Meeks

Grace Meng

Michael H. Michaud

George Miller

Gwen Moore

James P. Moran

Patrick Murphy

Jerrold Nadler

Grace F. Napolitano

Richard E. Neal

Gloria Negrete McLeod

Richard M. Nolan

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Beto O’Rourke

William L. Owens

Frank Pallone, Jr.

Bill Pascrell, Jr.

Ed Pastor

Donald M. Payne, Jr.

Nancy Pelosi

Ed Perlmutter

Gary C. Peters

Scott H. Peters

Chellie Pingree

Mark Pocan

Jared Polis

David E. Price

Mike Quigley

Charles B. Rangel

Lucille Roybal-Allard

Raul Ruiz

C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger

Bobby L. Rush

Tim Ryan

Linda T. Sánchez

Loretta Sanchez

John P. Sarbanes

Janice D. Schakowsky

Adam B. Schiff

Bradley S. Schneider

Allyson Y. Schwartz

Robert C. “Bobby” Scott

José E. Serrano

Carol Shea-Porter

Brad Sherman

Kyrsten Sinema

Albio Sires

Louise McIntosh Slaughter

Adam Smith

Jackie Speier

Eric Swalwell

Mark Takano

Mike Thompson

John F. Tierney

Dina Titus

Paul Tonko

Niki Tsongas

Chris Van Hollen

Juan Vargas

Marc A. Veasey

Nydia M. Velázquez

Timothy J. Walz

Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Maxine Waters

Henry A. Waxman

Peter Welch

John A. Yarmuth