The Justice Department filed a motion Thursday night in California to dismiss the first gay marriage case filed in federal court, but the move wasn’t a rallying cry for gay rights, the Associated Press reported today. To the contrary, gay rights activists are livid.
Although President Obama campaigned for gay rights while running for president, the Obama DOJ isn’t using the case of a gay couple who married in California during a five-month window when same-sex marriage was legal as a vehicle to argue for the right to marry. Instead, the DOJ wants the case dismissed because federal court is not the correct venue for a case involving a gay couple married in California, according to The AP. Prosecutors said the case isn’t about allowing gay couples to marry. Rather, the DOJ said it is about whether individual states should give equal rights to gay couples as they do same-sex couples, the AP reported.
“This case does not call upon the Court to pass judgment … on the legal or moral right of same-sex couples, such as plaintiffs here, to be married,” the motion states. “Plaintiffs are married, and their challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act poses a different set of questions.”
The federal 1996 Defense of Marriage Act leaves the decision of recognizing gay marriage up to the states.