Chadbourne & Parke has represented OutServe-SLDN in the filing of an amicus curiae brief with the US Supreme Court in the case of US v Windsor, arguing that the so-called Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) harms military families and compromises national security.
Oral argument is scheduled for 27 March 2013. The brief, filed by Chadbourne partner Abbe Lowell and counsel Christopher Man, urged the court to strike down the law as unconstitutional.
The brief explains that the military provides numerous benefits and support services to the families of its service members, but the DOMA prevents the military from recognising and extending benefits to certain military families by essentially nullifying otherwise legal marriages between service members and their spouses of the same gender.
The brief also argues that the issue is more than just about fairness but also impacts on national security.
Chadbourne is currently co-counsel with OutServe-SLDN in a landmark suit filed in October 2011 in federal court — McLaughlin v Panetta — on behalf of eight gay and lesbian military families challenging the constitutionality of DOMA as applied to the military benefits provided by Title 10, Title 32 and Title 38 of the US Code.
The McLaughlin case is stayed while the Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of DOMA in the Windsor case. The Windsor case argues that DOMA and other federal statutes prevent the military from providing equal recognition and support to same-sex military spouses.
Chadbourne represents OutServe-SLDN pro bono on both cases.