Family Research Council Sues Obama Justice Department for Documents Regarding Decision Not to Defend Defense of Marriage Act
Judicial Watch Represents Family Research Council in Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit over Justice Department’s Undermining of DOMA
Contact Information: Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305
Washington, DC — August 31, 2011
Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on August 29, 2011, against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) on behalf of the Family Research Council (FRC) for records related to the DOJ’s decision not to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in any pending or future litigation (Family Research Council Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 11-1550)).
FRC seeks documents from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to determine the purported basis for the decision and the possible influence of homosexual activists on the decision. In a separate lawsuit, Judicial Watch attempts to obtain some of these same documents (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 11-803)).
On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Obama DOJ would not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples. Less than three hours after Attorney General Holder’s announcement, litigants seeking to strike down California’s traditional marriage definition filed a motion to vacate the stay of its case with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In its motion, the litigants cited to, and quoted from, Attorney General Holder’s letter to the Congress.
On June 2, 2011, the DOJ informed FRC by letter that it had searched and identified 357 pages of email chains responsive to the FOIA request, 27 pages of which were claimed to be exempted and were withheld. On June 27, 2011, FRC filed an administrative appeal of the withholdings but the DOJ has not responded despite being required to do so by law.
“When Barack Obama became president, he took an oath to uphold our laws – and not just the ones with which he personally agrees. If he’ll undermine this law, which one is next? This isn’t just a threat to marriage. It’s a threat to the entire democratic process. If the Obama administration has nothing to hide, then why stonewall?” stated Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. “We have serious concerns that the Justice Department wants to hide evidence that it was doing the bidding of campaign donors and homosexual activists from whom Obama will need assistance for his reelection.”
“Once again the Obama administration is playing politics with the Freedom of Information Act to avoid telling the American people the truth about one of its indefensible positions,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The evidence suggests the nation’s highest law enforcement is refusing to enforce the law to appease another special interest group.”