House GOP leaders are appealing a federal court’s decision on Thursday that found a section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional.
The action by the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which moved on behalf of GOP leaders, will send the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which earlier this month ruled against a ban on gay marriage in California.
Democrats are not supporting the appeal. “The Democratic leader and the Democratic whip decline to support the filing of this notice of appeal,” the notice read.
George W. Bush appointee Judge Jeffrey White found the DOMA unconstitutional in the Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management decision. He wrote that it was unconstitutional to offer healthcare benefits to heterosexual couples while denying the same benefits to same-sex couples.
“The court finds that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law,” the 43-page verdict reads in part.
When the suit was originally filed, the Department of Justice was set to challenge Golinski in court, but that changed last year when the Obama administration said it would no longer defend DOMA.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) then took up the fight by hiring a private law firm to represent the House Bipartisan Legal Adviser Group.
DOMA, which was approved by Congress 16 years ago, defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder informed congressional leaders that the Justice Department would not defend a similar section of DOMA that prevents same-sex couples from receiving military benefits.