Obama Justice Dept. Defends Marriage for Man and Woman Only

Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The Obama administration is continuing its defense of the federal law banning gay marriage, claiming the controversial statute is consistent with the U.S. Constitution.
Last July, a district court in Massachusetts struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), arguing that the law violates both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment and provisions under the Tenth Amendment because it interferes with the rights of states to set their own definitions of marriage. DOMA was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996.
In response to that ruling, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal with the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Federal lawyers insist the law is constitutional, stating it is “‘rationally related’” to maintaining ‘consistency in the distribution of federal marriage-based benefits.’”
According to Jurist, “Despite a footnote within the brief stating that the DOJ follows a practice of defending federal statutes even if the administration disagrees with the law, rights groups expressed disappointment with the filing.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Lawsuit against Defense of Marriage Act (First Circuit Court of Appeals) (pdf)


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