Washington, D.C. — Today the Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued its response to the Advisory Opinion request filed earlier this month by United States Senate candidate Dan Winslow by Arent Fox with support from Log Cabin Republicans requesting clarification on campaign contributions from married same-sex couples. In its statement, the FEC showed their hands were tied and ruled that for now, the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) restricts contributions from same-sex spouses. The ruling says DOMA trumps state laws and campaign finance rules for federal candidates who want to receive dual contributions from same-sex spouses as they can from opposite-sex spouses. Even the Commission noted this was an unfortunate decision, but that other federal laws essentially already decided this case for them.
“It’s sad that in the 21st century the federal government is still denying certain people their First Amendment rights as guaranteed under the US Constitution,” said Winslow. “However, I am encouraged by the FEC’s advice that I return to them as soon as DOMA is overturned and they will happily reverse their decision. I strongly believe DOMA will be overturned by the Supreme Court and I look forward to taking the FEC up on its offer.”
“The Winslow campaign was clearly encouraged by the FEC to find other ways to deposit joint contributions from same sex couples—but they just use the broad allowance given to same sex couples.” said Arent Fox Partner Craig Engle. “The Chairman Ellen Wientraub encouraged the Winslow campaign to come right back to the FEC so they could reverse their decision if the Supreme Court overturns DOMA in June.”
“While not unexpected, it is nonetheless disappointing to see that the FEC has found married same-sex couples do not have the same right to freedom of speech as their straight counterparts,” said Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo. “Now, more than ever, the Supreme Court must see the inequalities perpetuated by the Defense of Marriage Act cannot be allowed to stand—for Mr. Winslow, and for all fair-minded Republicans who seek the support of married same-sex couples in their respective campaigns.”
The full FEC Advisory Opinion can be read at this link.