Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

DOMA No Longer Defended

From the New York Law Journal:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that he had written to House Speaker John A. Boehner that the administration could no longer defend in court the constitutionality of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.


The act absolves states and other subdivisions from the need to recognize, under the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution, same-sex marriages contracted in jurisdictions where they are legal. Its Section 3 defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

"[T]he President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional," Mr. Holder wrote.

If it chooses to defend the law, Congress will now have to hire its own lawyers. But the administration's stance will give added ammunition to opponents of the law.

Read more here.


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