Obama Decides Defense of Marriage Act Is Unconstitutional


Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement today explaining that President Obama will no longer “defend the constitutionality” of the part of the Defense of Marriage Act that bans gay marriages. There are two suits currently filed in the Second Circuit court challenging the law, which will not be supported by the Administration moving forward, in so far as DOMA defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Holder’s statement reads:

[Obama] has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny.

The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional…Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases.

…While both the wisdom and the legality of Section 3 of DOMA will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this Administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court.

Statement of the Attorney General on Litigation Involving the Defense of Marriage Act [Department of Justice]

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