August 11, 2010 | by Chris Johnson
GLAD: 60 days for DOMA appeal haven't yet started

The window of time during which the U.S. Justice Department could appeal recent court decisions overturning part of the Defense of Marriage Act is longer than some observers may have initially thought, according to Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

GLAD, the organization responsible for one of the DOMA lawsuits, told the Blade the 60 days in which the Justice Department can decide whether or not to appeal the cases hasn’t yet started.

Carisa Cunningham, a GLAD spokesperson, said the time starts when “judgment is entered,” which she said usually doesn’t happen at the same time a court issues a decision.

“So, we’re still waiting for judgment to be entered, and when it is, then the clock will start ticking,” she said.

Many had thought the 60 days began on July 8 when U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro of the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts issued his decisions striking down part of DOMA.

Cunningham said getting a final judgment means having a document outlining what a court is ordering in a particular case.

“In our case, we thought the most efficient way to get a final judgment would be for both sides to work to an agreed-upon document, and we are working to finalize it right now,” she said.

Cunningham said putting a timeline on when this judgment will be final is difficult, but said the document will probably be finished within a week.

The court determined Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, is unconstitutional in two separate court cases — Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Department of Health & Human Services.

Cunningham said the timeline will be on the same track for both the Gill case and the Commonwealth case.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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