Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, 699 F. Supp. 2d 374 - Dist. Court, D. Massachusetts 2010 - G

Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, 699 F. Supp. 2d 374 - Dist. Court, D. Massachusetts 2010 - G

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699 F.Supp.2d 374 (2010) Nancy GILL & Marcelle Letourneau, et al., Plaintiffs, v. OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, et al., Defendants. Civil Action No. 09-10309-JLT. July 8, 2010. United States District Court, D. Massachusetts. *376 Gary D. Buseck, Mary L. Bonauto, Janson Wu, Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, Amy Senier, Catherine C. Deneke, Claire Laporte, Matthew E. Miller, Vickie L. Henry, Foley Hoag LLP, Richard L. Jones, William E. Halmkin, David J. Nagle, Sullivan & Worcester LLP, Boston, MA, Paul M. Smith, Jenner & Block, LLP, Washington, DC, for Plaintiffs. 376 W. Scott Simpson, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, for Defendants. MEMORANDUM TAURO, District Judge. I. Introduction This action presents a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act [1] as applied to Plaintiffs, who are seven same-sex couples married in Massachusetts and three survivors of same-sex spouses, also married in Massachusetts. [2] Specifically, Plaintiffs contend that, due to the operation of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, they have been denied certain federal marriage- based *377 benefits that are available to similarly-situated heterosexual couples, in violation of the equal protection principles embodied in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. [3] Because this court agrees, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [# 20] is DENIED and Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment [# 25] is ALLOWED, except with regard to Plaintiff Dean Hara's claim for enrollment in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, as he lacks standing to pursue that claim in this court. 377 II. Background [4] A. The Defense of Marriage Act In 1996, Congress enacted, and President Clinton signed into law, the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"). [5] At issue in this case is Section 3 of DOMA, which defines the terms "marriage" and "spouse," for purposes of federal law, to include only the union of one man and one woman. In particular, it provides that:
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In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word "marriage" means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife. [6] In large part, the enactment of DOMA can be understood as a direct legislative response to Baehr v. Lewin, [7] a 1993 decision issued by the Hawaii Supreme Court, which indicated that same-sex couples might be entitled to marry under the state's constitution. [8] That decision raised the possibility, for the first time, that same-sex couples could begin to obtain state-sanctioned marriage licenses. [9] The House Judiciary Committee's Report on DOMA (the "House Report") referenced the Baehr decision as the beginning of an "orchestrated legal assault being waged against traditional heterosexual marriage," and expressed concern that this development "threaten[ed] to have very real consequences ... on federal law." [10] Specifically, the Report warned that "a redefinition of marriage in Hawaii to include homosexual couples *378
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