The action by the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, which moved on behalf of GOP leaders, will send the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which earlier this month ruled against a ban on gay marriage in California.
George W. Bush appointee Judge Jeffrey White found the DOMA unconstitutional in the Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management decision. He wrote that it was unconstitutional to offer healthcare benefits to heterosexual couples while denying the same benefits to same-sex couples.
When the suit was originally filed, the Department of Justice was set to challenge Golinski in court, but that changed last year when the Obama administration said it would no longer defend DOMA. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) then took up the fight by hiring a private law firm to represent the House Bipartisan Legal Adviser Group.
Judge White's ruling came in a case brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of Karen Golinski, a federal court employee denied spousal health coverage for her wife. The battle dates to 2008 when Golinski, a 20-year employee of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sought to enroll her wife in the employee health plan.
The statute's provision denying same-sex spousal benefits was also declared unconstitutional in a July 2012 Massachusetts case. That ruling is on appeal before the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
And only last week: Attorney General Eric Holder informed congressional leadership that the Justice Department would not defend a similar section of DOMA that bars same-sex couples from receiving military benefits.