BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A team of attorneys from Foley Hoag LLP, GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders), and co-counsel from two other firms won another round late last week in a lawsuit seeking equal federal spousal benefits for married same-sex couples.
The team’s victory came Thursday in a federal lawsuit to overturn portions of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies Federal recognition to the valid Massachusetts marriages of the plaintiffs. A three-judge panel of the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston unanimously upheld a 2010 U.S. District Court ruling that DOMA's Section 3 unconstitutionally denies same-sex couples federal spousal benefits, such as Social Security survivor benefits and the ability to file joint tax returns.
The lawsuit, Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management, et al., was filed on behalf of seven same-sex couples married in Massachusetts and three surviving spouses of those marriages. The court ruled that “Congress' denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest.”
The case is widely expected to end up at the Supreme Court.
The Foley Hoag lawyers working on the case include Claire Laporte, Ara Gershengorn, Catherine Deneke, Amy Senier and Matthew Miller. The 2010 team that helped win the first ruling consisted of Miller, Senier, Deneke, Stacy Anderson, and Vickie Henry. Ms. Henry is now an attorney at GLAD. The text of Thursday’s ruling can be found here.
Foley Hoag’s pro bono program has been a hallmark of the firm since its representation of the plaintiffs in the 1970s lawsuit that brought desegregation to the Boston public schools. The firm is consistently top-ranked in The American Lawyer’s Pro Bono Report. Lawyers at the firm are encouraged to engage in pro bono work and other community activities. In a typical year, the firm devotes more than 20,000 hours to pro bono causes.
GLAD is New England’s leading organization devoted to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.
About Foley Hoag LLP
Foley Hoag is a dynamic law firm that represents public and private clients in a wide range of disputes and transactions worldwide. We have expertise in industries such as life sciences and healthcare, technology, energy and renewables, investment management, and professional services. We also offer our clients market-leading international litigation and arbitration and corporate social responsibility services. From our offices in Boston, Washington, D.C. and Paris, and our Emerging Enterprise Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, we provide strategic legal advice that is tailored to each of our client’s unique goals. Foley Hoag combines powerful regional, national and international practices that share a common emphasis on client service. We are focused on what we do best: helping our clients succeed through the delivery of exceptional legal service. For more information, visit www.foleyhoag.com.