SAN FRANCISCO — Three GOP congressional leaders are appealing a federal judge's ruling that declared a law prohibiting the government from recognizing same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional, according to court papers filed Friday.
Private lawyers for the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group notified the federal court in San Francisco that they are asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision issued by District Judge Jeffrey White this week.
Ruling in the case of a lawyer who works for the appeals court and who had been blocked from enrolling her wife in a family health insurance plan, White said the Office of Personnel Management could not rely on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act to deny the medical coverage.
House Speaker John Boehner appointed the five-member advisory group last year to defend the marriage law from legal challenges after the Department of Justice announced it no longer would back the law in court because the Obama administration concluded it violates the civil rights of gay men and lesbians.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy are joining Boehner in bringing the appeal, the appeal notice states. The advisory group's two Democratic members, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, declined to participate.
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California last year introduced bills to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, but neither has been put to a floor vote.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that the appeal was regarding Proposition 8. The appeal is actually regarding the Defense of Marriage Act.