CREW Files Brief in Supreme Court Arguing DOMA Undermines Ethics Laws

Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:13am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

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 or contact
David Merchant at 202.408.5565 or

David Merchant, 202-408-5565
Alan Morrison, 202-944-7120

Copyright Business Wire 2013

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.