CREW Files Brief in Supreme Court Arguing DOMA Undermines Ethics Laws
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http://pdf.reuters.com/htmlnews/8knews.asp?i=43059c3bf0e37541&u=urn:newsml:reuters.com:20130213:nBw135866a WASHINGTON--(Business Wire)-- Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a friend-of-the-court brief in United States v. Windsor, a lawsuit before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). CREW`s brief, co-authored with George Washington University Law School Professor Alan Morrison, points out the perverse effects DOMA has on ethics, tax, and bankruptcy laws by recognizing only opposite-sex marriages. The First and Second Circuit Courts cited CREW`s arguments in striking down DOMA. "DOMA was not driven by rational considerations, but rather a desire to strike out at same-sex married couples regardless of the repercussions," said Professor Alan Morrison. "In its zeal to discriminate against same-sex couples, Congress inadvertently gave them a free pass to violate the very same ethics laws with which opposite-sex married couples must comply." DOMA`s exclusion of married same-sex couples from the terms "marriage" and "spouse" undermines a host of ethics and other statutes designed to bring transparency and accountability to the government. For example, public officials in same-sex marriages are excused from the Ethics in Government Act, meaning financial disclosure and anti-nepotism laws that apply to opposite-sex spouses don`t apply to same-sex spouses. Similarly, same-sex couples are excused from tax and bankruptcy laws intended to prevent married couples from gaming the system to their financial benefit. "Gay people are neither more nor less ethical than straight people. It is impossible to imagine the Congress that so eagerly passed DOMA would have deliberately exempted same-sex couples from ethics laws if members had considered the issue for even a moment," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. "If DOMA were not already indefensible on its own, its far-reaching impact on federal laws shows just how irrational the law is." Click here to read CREW`s amicus brief Click here to read this release on CREW`s website Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact David Merchant at 202.408.5565 or email@example.com CREW David Merchant, 202-408-5565 firstname.lastname@example.org or Alan Morrison, 202-944-7120 email@example.com Copyright Business Wire 2013