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Obama DOJ Abandons DOMA Defense

February 23, 2011

Since it was passed, I’ve believed that some passages of DOMA were flat unconstitutional.  Eric Holder has a press release out saying that he agrees with me, and the President agrees with him, and the Department of Justice will no longer be defending DOMA.  There’s some language about how it turns on which standard applies, which I’d like to decipher for the non-legalese literate, but I don’t have time just now.

I suspect this is not just good policy but good politics.  One of the biggest strikes against Obama among LGBT folks and allies was that he let his DOJ keep defending bigoted laws while saying they were wrong.  Now, he’s telling Congress to go do it their damned selves.  With the House in GOP hands, this could spur them to make rampant and hateful statements on an issue where the tide of history is clearly against them (for all the reasons I stated here), but they may not be able to actually muster a defense in court  (short on time, haven’t analyzed what they’d actually have to do).  Society has come so far that marriage equality is pulling even and discrimination polls poorly, and while synicism may not be the best reason to do the right thing, I’ll take it.

[Edited to add link to Resistance is Futile]

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jonathan permalink
    February 24, 2011 6:10 am

    They are no longer defending DoMA in court, but they are still enforcing it. That’s a key caveat in the letter.

  2. Hershele Ostropoler permalink
    February 24, 2011 11:26 am

    What happens, now, when a same-sex married couple tries to plead spousal privilege in a Federal court, or files a 1040 as a married couple (it being that time of year, after all)? Has that changed?


  1. Breaking: Obama pronounces DOMA unconstitutional, asks DOJ to cease defending the law

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