By PAUL ELIAS
SAN FRANCISCO – The Obama administration is appealing a bankruptcy court ruling that found the federal ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.
The Justice Department filed the appeal Monday even though President Barack Obama said he agrees that the ban, called the Defense of Marriage Act, is unconstitutional.
Nevertheless, government lawyers said Obama has ordered them to defend the ban “unless and until” Congress repeals the act or there is a final judicial ruling striking it down.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Thomas Donovan in Los Angeles called the ban unconstitutional on June 15 when he overruled government attempts to block a same-sex married couple from filing a joint bankruptcy. The couple married in 2008 during the brief window when gay marriage was legal in California.
Nineteen other judges on the bankruptcy court signed the ruling.