Justice Department will no longer defend DOMA in legal challenges
February 23rd, 2011
12:38 PM ET
4 years ago

Justice Department will no longer defend DOMA in legal challenges

Washington (CNN)– President Barack Obama has ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as only between a man and woman, according to a statement Wednesday from Attorney General Eric Holder.

"The president 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," Holder said.

The key provisions in the law "fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional."

"Given that conclusion, the president has instructed the (Justice Department) not to defend the statute" in two pending cases in New York state, Holder said. "I fully concur with the president's determination."


Filed under: Gay rights • Uncategorized
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Allen

    Those who support DOMA are either ignorant or perpetrators of a hate crime.

    February 23, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Roger

    Good for President Obama. About time he stopped defending the Constitutionality of something that's clearly unconstitutional.

    February 23, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Charles Clark II

    It's about time! Soon (hopefully) people across this great land will see that the only thing that is attacking their marriage is DIVORCE – not the gay/lesbian couple down the street.....

    February 23, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Chuck Anziulewicz

    WELL IT'S ABOUT TIME! The Obama Administration obviously dropped its defense of DOMA, because from a Constitutional standpoint there is no defense! DOMA sets up differing legal standards for Gay and Straight couples. Because of DOMA, even Gay couples who are legally married in Iowa or Massachusetts are unrecognized by the federal government for the purposes of tax law and Social Security; obviously this violates the 14th Amendment. Also, such couples become "UN-married" if they move across state lines, so DOMA violates the "Full Faith & Credit" clause. Thank goodness DOMA's days are finally numbered!

    February 23, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. ctrlfreq

    yay!

    February 23, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. XWngLady

    I absolutely do NOT think that a union between two people of the same sex is a "marriage", but if it can't stand up in court then, just like anything else, it doesn't deserve to stay a law.

    February 23, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. chris

    Marriage is strictly between a man & a woman & those who say different are morraly blind, this country is losing its grasp on just about everything these days under obama, he's diggin a hole that we might not be able to get out of, I'm embarrassed to say that I voted for him, I was so wrong in my judgement & for that I appologize, he has no backbone & no morals, our forefathers are rolling over in their graves, this is not what they intended, the costitution was written "SO READ IT" & stop putting your own spin on it!!!

    February 23, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. Jennifer Aument

    Hooray, it's about damn time!!!!

    February 23, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Airdoc

    Didn't like my comment because it didn't match what CNN likes? I'll keep putting this here – Once again, no matter what your side is on this LAW, it is NOT the right of the president to decide which laws to defend or not! It is a law on the books!
    Which law will be next – the pesky old 2nd and 22nd amendments of the Constitution?

    February 23, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. Mucklucky

    "classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny"
    Marriage is not a classification based on sexual orientation. Marriage is the union of 1 man and 1 woman in holy matimony as defined by Biblical law. A husband & wife not a husband & husband or a wife & a wife.

    February 23, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Rev. Schaeffer

    Good for him... defining marriage as between one man and one woman has no basis except that of religion, and as such has no place in government.

    I♥NY!!

    February 23, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. Name Gabriel

    Finally the government will stop wasting taxer money on stripping tax paying citizens of their equal rights, instead spend that money on mental health care.

    February 23, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. gate

    Finally! This is why I voted for Obama. He should have pushed for the repeal of DOMA when he had the votes, though.

    February 23, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. Bob

    Thank you, President Obama. It's about time. DOMA is a shameful, cynical, discriminatory piece of political catnip for the right-wing religious fringe, and the sooner it is consigned to the ash heap of history the better for all Americans - and all marriages.

    February 23, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. Michael

    Obama is a smart person. Good job!

    February 23, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Mucklucky

    Defination of marriage is : the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. Marriage is not a classification based on sexual orientation, it is based on a man and a woman becoming a husband and a wife.

    February 23, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. DeniseJ

    I'm really beginning to regret my choice to vote for Obama. He has shown himself to be weak and spineless time and time again.

    February 23, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. Mike G

    So the Executive branch is now deciding the legality of the laws passed by congress? Isn't this act by the President itself unconstitutional?

    February 23, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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