In court papers filed in US District Court on Thursday, Coakley asked a judge to deem the law unconstitutional without holding a trial on the lawsuit.
Coakley argues that regulating marital status has traditionally been left to the states. She said the federal law treats married heterosexual couples and married same-sex couples differently; for instance, when determining eligibility for Medicaid benefits and when determining whether the spouse of a veteran can be buried in a Massachusetts veterans cemetery.
The law forces Massachusetts “to engage in invidious discrimination against its own citizens in order to receive and retain federal funds in connection with two joint federal-state programs,’’ Coakley said in the court filing.
I think the highlighted argument above is going to make this interesting. A number of Republicans, including John McCain and Dick Cheney, have argued that marriage should be left up to the states. I suspect that may be a way to tow the party line without being too controversial by promoting a federal ban like some of the more conservative Republicans, or perhaps supporting gay marriage, in Cheney's case. However, it certainly is a common theme of the Republican party to promote state rights over the federal government, so it will be difficult for opponents of gay marriage to argue against it. It gives me hope.
I'm glad to see Coakley taking this head-on. Even though she may not have won the Senate seat, she'll have a real effect on federal law. I'm looking forward to the results of this motion.