Remember that Defense of Marriage Act that was such a big deal? It’s now completely defenseless. To refresh your memory, the federal law was passed in 1996 to make same-sex marriage a big legal no-no.
We are no legal experts here at Scene, but it appears that it may be much easier to buy a license for a gay marriage sometime soon — especially if you happen to be in a pro gay-marriage state when you feel like tying the knot. Before you head out to hire a caterer, keep in mind that Ohio isn't one of those states.
Today, President Obama instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the law when it is challenged in court by states or individuals claiming that the ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
The Chief Executive also sent a letter to Congress informing them of the Administration’s new position.
The Republican-dominated House of Representatives is likely not too pleased, and might find this news disruptive to its current preoccupation with budget cuts that leave programs favored by Democrats, like Planned Parenthood, up a creek.
The New York Times has details on the President’s policy shift.
President Obama, in a major legal policy shift, has directed
the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of
Marriage Act - the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of
same-sex marriages - against lawsuits challenging it as
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday sent a
letter to Congress to inform them that the Justice Department
will now take the position in court that the Defense of
Marriage Act should be struck down as a violation of gay
couples' rights to equal protection under the law.
"The 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" a crucial provision of the Defense of Marriage Act
is unconstitutional, Mr. Holder wrote.