On Sunday, The Washington Post published an editorial criticizing the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) and its arguments for upholding the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.”
BLAG is defending DOMA on behalf of the United States House of Representatives, led by Speaker John Boehner, in a federal court case brought by Edith Windsor. Windsor is seeking a refund of the more than $350,000 estate tax bill that she had to pay because her marriage to her late wife was not recognized by the federal government. The Washington Post Editorial Board discusses BLAG’s claims as to why Windsor’s case should be thrown out. Last week, many of these claims were exposed as stemming from both misconstrued and discredited research.
In regards to DOMA, which dictates that the federal government does not recognize marriages of same-sex couples, BLAG lawyers argue that the policy is not discriminatory, saying, “DOMA simply defines ‘marriage’ for the purpose of assigning federal benefits and burdens.” The issue, of course, is that DOMA only assigns those benefits to opposite-sex married couples – leaving people like Joanne Pedersen, a federal government employee of roughly 30 years and legally married in Connecticut, unable to insure her wife on the federal health plan that her straight married colleagues benefit from. Like Windsor, Pedersen filed a lawsuit in federal court through the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), challenging the constitutionality of parts of DOMA.
In their search for “evidence” supporting their position, BLAG has cited “research” that was rejected by both the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. The group also used the work of developmental psychology Professor Lisa M. Diamond, who subsequently released an affidavit stating that BLAG misconstrued and distorted her research findings. The Washington Post Editorial Board draws attention to the overwhelming lack of credible evidence in BLAG’s argument, writing, “If defending DOMA requires making assertions that are clearly false, the law is not defensible.” GLAAD commends The Washington Post for highlighting this issue, and encourages all media outlets to hold BLAG accountable for its claims.