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1:09-cv-11156 #27

1:09-cv-11156 #27

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Published by Equality Case Files
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Published by: Equality Case Files on Jun 24, 2011
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COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS,Plaintiff,v.UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTHAND HUMAN SERVICES; KATHLEENSEBELIUS, in her official capacity as the Secretaryof the United States Department of Health andHuman Services; UNITED STATESDEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS; ERICK. SHINSEKI, in his official capacity as theSecretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs; and the UNITED STATES OFAMERICA,Defendants.
Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1, the Commonwealth hereby submits the following statementof undisputed material facts of record.1.
In 1996, Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”). Pub. L. No.104-199, 110 Stat. 2419 (1996).2.
DOMA provides that “[i]n determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of theUnited States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one womanas husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is ahusband or a wife.” 1 U.S.C. §7.
Case 1:09-cv-11156-JLT Document 27 Filed 02/18/10 Page 1 of 14
Prior to DOMA’s enactment, there was no general federal definition of the terms“marriage” or “spouse.” H.R. Rep. No. 104-664, at 10 (1996),
reprinted in
1996 U.S.C.C.A.N.2905, 2914 (Affidavit of Jonathan B. Miller (hereinafter, “Miller Aff.”) Ex. 1);
see also
Affidavitof Nancy F. Cott (hereinafter, “Cott Aff.”) ¶ 65.4.
As of December 31, 2003, there were at least 1,138 federal statutory provisions inwhich marital status was a factor in determining or receiving rights, benefits, or privileges. U.S.Gen. Accounting Office, GAO-04-353R,
Defense of Marriage Act: Update to Prior Report 
 (2004) (hereinafter, “2004 GAO Report”) (Miller Aff. Ex. 3).5.
These rights and benefits pertain to a wide range of topics, including theworkplace, health care, taxes, Social Security, retirement, and intellectual property. 2004 GAOReport (Miller Aff. Ex. 3).6.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that, if marriages between same-sex couples were recognized in all fifty States and by the federal government, the federal budgetwould benefit by $500 million to $900 million annually. Cong. Budget Office,
The Potential Budgetary Impact of Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages
1 (2004) (Miller Aff. Ex. 4).7.
In 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts concluded that excludingsame-sex couples from marriage violated the equality and liberty provisions of the MassachusettsConstitution.
Goodridge v. Dep’t of Pub. Health
, 798 N.E.2d 941, 959-61, 968 (Mass. 2003).8.
On May 17, 2004, Massachusetts became the first State to issue marriage licensesto same-sex couples. Affidavit of Stanley E. Nyberg (hereinafter, “Nyberg Aff.”) ¶ 5.9.
Since May 17, 2004, Massachusetts has issued marriage licenses to approximately15,214 same-sex couples. Nyberg Aff. ¶ 6.
Case 1:09-cv-11156-JLT Document 27 Filed 02/18/10 Page 2 of 14
Since 1789, States (and their localities) have issued marriage licenses andestablished the rules and requirements for entry to and exit from marriage. Cott Aff. ¶¶ 8-10.11.
The ability to procreate has never been an eligibility criterion to enter marriage.Cott Aff. ¶ 11.12.
State marriage rules have changed substantially over time in response to local andregional preferences. Cott Aff. ¶¶ 13-17.13.
Examples of this variation arose in the context of recognition of common lawmarriage, age of consent to marry, hygienic and eugenic restrictions on who can marry,interracial marriage, and grounds for the termination of marriage. Cott Aff. ¶¶ 21-52.14.
These divisions regarding eligibility for marriage have been politically andsocially contentious. Like the opposition to States’ recognition of marriage between individualsof the same sex, changes to state marriage laws, such as permitting interracial marriage andfreedom to divorce for reasons of one’s own, were fiercely resisted when first suggested andwere seen as threatening to destroy the institution of marriage itself. Cott Aff. ¶¶ 38-40, 47-49.15.
Starting in the 1880s and culminating around the time of World War II, somecalled for the establishment of uniformity of marriage rules through federal legislation orconstitutional amendment. Until the enactment of DOMA, none of these efforts was successfuldue to the repeated recognition of state authority to regulate marriage laws. Cott Aff. ¶¶ 18-19.16.
During the twentieth century, Congress chose to make marital status a key markerof eligibility for federal rights and protections under hundreds of federal programs. Cott Aff. ¶12;
see also
2004 GAO Report (Miller Aff. Ex. 3).17.
Prior to the enactment of DOMA, eligibility for federal rights and protectionsaffected by marriage was determined by state marital status. Cott Aff. ¶ 65;
see also
Reply in
Case 1:09-cv-11156-JLT Document 27 Filed 02/18/10 Page 3 of 14

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