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Case Name Gill v. Office of Personnel Management PB-MA-0006
Docket / Court 1:09-cv-10309-JLT ( D. Mass. )
State/Territory Massachusetts
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders)
Case Summary
On March 3, 2009, several citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who were or had been married to same-sex partners under Massachusetts law filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2202, and the ... read more >
On March 3, 2009, several citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who were or had been married to same-sex partners under Massachusetts law filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2202, and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 701-706, against several agencies of the federal government. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest and private counsel, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief and for a review of administrative action, alleging equal protection violations. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates Equal Protection by refusing to recognize lawful same-sex marriages for purposes of the laws governing benefits for federal employees and retirees, the Internal Revenue Code, and the Social Security laws, thereby denying plaintiffs protections and benefits that would be available to them were their spouses of the opposite sex.

On July 8, 2010, the Court (Judge Joseph L. Tauro) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. Gill v. Office of Pers. Mgmt., 699 F.Supp.2d 374 (D. Mass. 2010). (The decision was issued the same day as Judge Tauro's decision striking down DOMA on federalism grounds, in Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, 698 F.Supp.2d 234 (D. Mass. 2010), PB-MA-0005, and the two cases were consolidated on appeal.) The court found that there was no rational justification for denying benefits and protections to married same-sex couples that were provided to their opposite-sex counterparts, and thus held that the federal government violated the equal protection principles of the Fifth Amendment by doing so. The next month, the court issued an injunction barring the federal government from applying DOMA against plaintiffs, but on motion by the defendants agreed to stay the injunction for the duration of the appeals process.

On February 24, 2011, the Department of Justice indicated to the Court of Appeals that it had come to the conclusion that DOMA is unconstitutional and would cease defending it. (It would later file a brief in support of the plaintiffs' case on September 22.) In response, the "Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives" intervened to defend the act.

On August 23, 2011, the plaintiffs moved for an initial en banc hearing to expedite the case, but despite a supporting brief from the Department of Justice, the Court of Appeals (Chief Judge Sandra L. Lynch) denied the motion. After hearing arguments on April 4, 2012, on May 31 a three-judge panel of the First Circuit (Chief Judge Lynch, Judge Michael Boudin, and Judge Juan R. Torruella) unanimously affirmed the District Court's judgment in an opinion by Judge Boudin. Massachusetts v. U.S. Dep't of Health & Human Services, No. 10-2204, 2012 WL 1948017 (1st Cir. May 31, 2012). While the Court of Appeals refrained from applying heightened scrutiny, it also declined to employ hyper-deferential rational basis review; instead, the Court held that Supreme Court precedent in cases implicating the interests of historically disadvantaged minority groups (e.g. United States Department of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528 (1973), City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 473 U.S. 432 (1985), Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996)) and cases considering federal action in areas of traditional state concern (e.g. United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000), United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995)) suggested a more searching form of rational basis inquiry (so-called 'rational basis with bite'), and that the rationales given for DOMA did not hold up under this closer scrutiny. Injunctive relief has been stayed pending likely review by the Supreme Court; both the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives and the Department of Justice filed for certiorari review on June 29 and July 3, respectively.

On June 27, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States denied the petition for certiorari. 133 S. Ct. 2884 (2013). On July 1, 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit issued a mandate making the May 31, 2012 judgment the formal mandate of the Court.

Christopher Schad - 12/07/2012
Claire Lally - 02/22/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Social Security Retirement and Death Benefit
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Office of Personnel Management
Social Security Administration
The United States of America
U.S. Postal Service
Plaintiff Description several citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who were or had been married to same-sex partners under Massachusetts law
Indexed Lawyer Organizations GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2013 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-MA-0005 : Massachusetts v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (D. Mass.)
PB-MA-0009 : Hara v. Office of Personnel Management (No Court)
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:09-cv-10309-JLT (D. Mass.)
PB-MA-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/19/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Brief in Response to Nancy Gill Et. Al
PB-MA-0006-0009.pdf | Detail
Date:
Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive or Other Relief and for View of Agency Action
PB-MA-0006-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/03/2009
Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive, Or Other Relief, and for Review of Agency Action [ECF# 1]
PB-MA-0006-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/03/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Re: Nancy Gill, et. al. v. Office of Personnel Management, et. al.
PB-MA-0006-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/15/2009
Second Amended and Supplemental Complaint for Declaratory, Injunctive, or Other Relief and for Review of Agency Action [ECF# 65]
PB-MA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/25/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 70] (699 F.Supp.2d 374) (D. Mass.)
PB-MA-0006-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/08/2010
Amended Judgment [ECF# 74] (D. Mass.)
PB-MA-0006-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/17/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Department of Justice Letter Regarding Defense of Marriage Act Litigation [Ct. of App. ECF# 89]
PB-MA-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/24/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Superseding Brief for the Office of Personnel Management
PB-MA-0006-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/22/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (682 F.3d 1)
PB-MA-0006-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/31/2012
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Appeals From the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts [Ct. of App. ECF# 89]
PB-MA-0006-0022.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/31/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petition for Certiorari
PB-MA-0006-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2012
Petition for a Writ of Certiorari [ECF# 112-2]
PB-MA-0006-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petition for a Write of Certiorari
PB-MA-0006-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2012
Petition for Certiorari
PB-MA-0006-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/03/2012
PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI
PB-MA-0006-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/03/2012
Response of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Support of Certiorari
PB-MA-0006-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/20/2012
Response of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Support of Certiorari
PB-MA-0006-0019.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/20/2012
BRIEF IN RESPONSE OF NANCY GILL ET AL.
PB-MA-0006-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/02/2012
BRIEF IN OPPOSITION
PB-MA-0006-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/31/2012
Reply Brief for Petitioner
PB-MA-0006-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/11/2012
REPLY BRIEF FOR THE FEDERAL PETITIONERS
PB-MA-0006-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/08/2012
Mandate [Ct. of App. ECF# 332]
PB-MA-0006-0023.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/01/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Boudin, Michael (D.D.C., First Circuit)
PB-MA-0006-0006 | PB-MA-0006-0022
Lynch, Sandra Lea (First Circuit)
PB-MA-0006-0006 | PB-MA-0006-0022
Tauro, Joseph Louis (D. Mass.)
PB-MA-0006-0002 | PB-MA-0006-0003 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Torruella, Juan R. (First Circuit, D.P.R.)
PB-MA-0006-0006 | PB-MA-0006-0022
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bickett, Samuel P. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001
Bonauto, Mary L. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0013 | PB-MA-0006-0018 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Buseck, Gary D. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0013 | PB-MA-0006-0018 | PB-MA-0006-0021 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Cox, Melissa A. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0018
Deneke, Catherine C. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0018 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Dunne, Matthew J. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0018
Eshghi, Nima R (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0013 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Gershengorn, Ara B. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0018
Halmkin, William E. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-9000
Henry, Vickie L. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0013 | PB-MA-0006-0018 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Jones, Richard L. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0013 | PB-MA-0006-0018 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Laporte, Claire (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0013 | PB-MA-0006-0018 | PB-MA-0006-0021 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Miller, Matthew E. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0013 | PB-MA-0006-0018 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Nagle, David J. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0013 | PB-MA-0006-0018 | PB-MA-0006-0021 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Platzer, Luke C. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0018
Senier, Amy (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0013 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Smith, Paul M. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0018 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Wu, Janson (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0001 | PB-MA-0006-0009 | PB-MA-0006-0013 | PB-MA-0006-0018 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bartolomucci, H. Christopher (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0007 | PB-MA-0006-0011 | PB-MA-0006-0015 | PB-MA-0006-0016
Clement, Paul D. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0007 | PB-MA-0006-0011 | PB-MA-0006-0015 | PB-MA-0006-0016
Davenport, Christine (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0007 | PB-MA-0006-0011 | PB-MA-0006-0015 | PB-MA-0006-0016
Delery, Stuart F. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0008 | PB-MA-0006-0010 | PB-MA-0006-0020
Dugan, Conor Brendan (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0007 | PB-MA-0006-0011
Flentje, August E. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0005 | PB-MA-0006-0008 | PB-MA-0006-0010 | PB-MA-0006-0020
Kingsley, Benjamin S. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0004 | PB-MA-0006-0005 | PB-MA-0006-0008 | PB-MA-0006-0010 | PB-MA-0006-0020
Kircher, Kerry W. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0007 | PB-MA-0006-0011 | PB-MA-0006-0015 | PB-MA-0006-0016
Kopp, Robert E (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0005
Kruger, Leondra R. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0008 | PB-MA-0006-0010 | PB-MA-0006-0020
Moran, Philip D. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-9000
Nelson, Nicholas J. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0007 | PB-MA-0006-0011 | PB-MA-0006-0015 | PB-MA-0006-0016
Ortiz, Carmen M. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0005
Pittard, William (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0007 | PB-MA-0006-0011 | PB-MA-0006-0015 | PB-MA-0006-0016
Shah, Pratik A. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0008 | PB-MA-0006-0010 | PB-MA-0006-0020
Simpson, W. Scott (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0012 | PB-MA-0006-9000
Singer, Michael Jay (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0005 | PB-MA-0006-0008 | PB-MA-0006-0010 | PB-MA-0006-0020
Srinivasan, Srikanth (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0008 | PB-MA-0006-0010 | PB-MA-0006-0020
Tatelman, Todd B. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0007 | PB-MA-0006-0011 | PB-MA-0006-0015 | PB-MA-0006-0016
Verrilli, Donald B. Jr. (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0008 | PB-MA-0006-0010 | PB-MA-0006-0017 | PB-MA-0006-0020
Walker, Mary Beth (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0007 | PB-MA-0006-0011 | PB-MA-0006-0015 | PB-MA-0006-0016
West, Tony (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0004 | PB-MA-0006-0005
Other Lawyers Barry-Smith, Christopher K. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019
Boyle, Brian J. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019
Coakley, Martha (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019
Ellsworth, Felicia H. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019
Fleming, Mark C. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019
Healey, Maura T. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019
Jacobson, Joshua D. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019
Miller, Jonathan B. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019
O'Grady, Margaret E. (Massachusetts)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019
Schoenfeld, Alan E. (New York)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019
Wolfson, Paul Reinherz (District of Columbia)
PB-MA-0006-0014 | PB-MA-0006-0019

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