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Obama Administration Moves To Strike Down Defense Of Marriage Act

Memo Pad National News

Obama Administration Moves To Strike Down Defense Of Marriage Act


The Obama administration filed the first in a series of legal briefs on Friday calling for the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), saying the 1996 law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman is unconstitutional. Previously having only committed to not defending DOMA, the administration has now actively decided to seek its repeal.

“Moral opposition to homosexuality, though it may reflect deeply held personal views, is not a legitimate policy objective that can justify unequal treatment of gay and lesbian people,” said Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the Justice Department’s brief. “The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 [which prohibits the marriage of same-sex couples] is unconstitutional.”

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal in the case of United States vs. Windsor, in which Edith Windsor’s estate tax bill after the death of her wife far exceeded that of heterosexual surviving spouses because the IRS, in compliance with DOMA, did not recognize her 2007 Canadian marriage to Thea Spyer—the woman she’d been with for 40 years—even though they were legally married in the eyes of their home state, New York. Oral arguments begin on March 27.

Another case that will be heard in March deals with Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot referendum in California banning same-sex marriage after the state Supreme Court had conferred the right to marry. Sources say the Justice Department is prepared to file an amicus brief claiming same-sex couples have a Constitutional to right marry, and that Prop 8 violates the fundamental guarantee of equal protection. President Obama is said to be undecided about intervening in a state-level situation.

“The Solicitor General is still looking at this. I have to make sure that I’m not interjecting myself too much into this process, particularly when we’re not a party to the case,” said the president. “I can tell you, though, obviously, my personal view, which is that I think that same-sex couples should have the same rights and be treated like everybody else. And that’s something I feel very strongly about and my administration is acting on wherever we can.”

The Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 1116), intended “to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage,” is expected to be reintroduced in the current Congress.

AP Photo


  1. nobsartist February 23, 2013

    Anything to avoid the mortgage crisis, jobs crisis, health care crisis, gas price crisis, infrastructure crisis or any other real crisis that affects America.

    He does have time though for gun control, marraige and rights for the minority.

    Very admirable but useless.

    1. René Milan February 23, 2013

      Absolutely not useless. Economic conditions change all the time, but human rights issues change slowly. Now is the time to reflect the reality of people’s change attitudes in law and policy. And government has fairly limited control over economic events anyway.

    2. latebloomingrandma February 23, 2013

      Kind of like Republicans in 2010 going on and on about “where are the jobs?”, and when they get into office concentrate on anti-abortion laws?

    3. Mikey7a February 23, 2013

      Times are tough, I’ll give you that. I disagree that all these things are at crisis! Everything you stated, every “crisis” could be easily averted, if the politicians
      would move more toward the middle of the road. I won’t try to say there are no extremes from the left, but daily we witness that the Tea Party Republicans want it their way or no way at all. nobsartist, at times I can agree with you, but “crisis” is a favorite talking point with Faux News, and the Tea Party.

    4. MattofDunelm February 23, 2013

      The president of the United States should have the ability to multitask at minimum. Also, the president doesn’t write or file the briefs himself. That is the job of the attorneys and paralegals in the solicitor general’s office. There is absolutely no reason that the executive branch can not work on all of the issues that you listed simultaneously.

    5. mitchw7959 February 23, 2013

      Having grown up as a member of a demographic minority group, and witnessed and experienced the animus of co-workers and neighbors, the closet, double standards, glass ceilings, hostile work environments, and rejection in employment, housing, accommodations and credit—I wouldn’t—if I were you—be so cavalier about rights for the minority.

      Since those who think as you do are surely and clearly losing ground quickly, once equal treatment before the law and justice for all is achieved—and the sky doesn’t fall and your marriages aren’t destroyed, and those black children are integrated into your kids’ schools—you yourself will become part of a permanent minority and will be thankful for the very necessary protections guaranteed to citizens of a despised and disadvantaged group.

      Maybe you’ll even join me as a dues-paying member of both the NAACP and the ACLU in supporting their work of ensuring the constitutional rights, privileges, and responsibilities of *all* American citizens.

    6. Angela Walker February 24, 2013

      Why is it that some people ignore what is being done in other areas to denigrate what is being done in another? Because without that logical fallacy they’d have to admit they have no reasonable position?

    7. Michael Kollmorgen February 24, 2013

      Not useless at all.

      These types of issues should have been normalized years ago. But, keeping one group against another group is what the Republicans do best. It keeps us at each others throats and keeps us divided as a nation.

      Equality must be for all, or there is no equality for anyone.

  2. Mem February 23, 2013

    The Federal Government has never had an interest or say in marital affairs until the gay marriage issue came up. Marriage and divorce laws were always up to the states. The only time the Federal Government took up an interest in marriage laws was during the civil rights era to defend the right of interracial couples to marry. The Defense of Marriage Act should be abolished. I am one partner in a heterosexual marriage and feel everyone should have freedom of choice in who they marry irregardless of what people’s religion tells them. As for the argument that gay marriage somehow denigrates heterosexual marriage, can anyone tell me how?

    1. whodatbob February 23, 2013

      Maybe the Federal Government needs to step back and let the states regulate those things our Constitution did not give authouity to the Federal Government. Oh! I forgot we fought a Revolution by the eleven Southern States to up hold states rights and they lost. The Strong Central Government forces won. 148 years after the end of that War our Country continues to be controled by a Central Government.
      I only wish our Central Government would govern from the center. Also,move to the center of our Country, we need the jobs.

      1. Michael Kollmorgen February 24, 2013

        We live in “the United States”, not a conglomeration of individual fiefdoms. Hence the need for a strong federal (central) government.

        In regards to basic human rights and dignity, all states should follow the same exact law. There used to be many many years ago where Local Conditions was the reason for many of these state laws. But, no longer. Because of communication the way it is today, the advancement of technology, local conditions have been virtually wiped out. This country today is very homogeneous from one place to another.

        Actually, the phrase “states rights” is more of misnomer these days than anything else. The only area I can see where states rights could hold sway is with death sentences. But, even here, they should follow federal law.

        I know of one case where in Ohio, someone was sent to prison for something where in their native state, it wouldn’t have been illegal. If you wish, I could disclose the case in full. It’ll make you sick.

        Ever wonder why, on a federal level, all these affirmative action and hate crime laws were instituted? The reason for their being instituted was because these states sometimes wouldn’t even enforce their own state laws in regards to murder, abuse, gross discrimination, harassment. So, the Federal Government had to step on and make these state enforce their own laws by passing many of these laws. If these states would have enforced their own laws, there would have never been a need for federal legislation, at least in this regards.

        1. whodatbob February 24, 2013

          We have a misunderstanding. I must not have been clear. The US has and shuld have a strong central Government. My point is those pushing for a smaller weaker Federal Government lost the fight in 1865. The frist line is tongue in cheek. Whatever you want to believe caused the Civil War the end result was a strong and dominate Federal government.

          My second ismple statement, “I only wish our Central Government would govern from the center,” stands. The government seems to swing to the left then swing to the right. The center would be better.

          Move the seat of Federal Government to the center of country would save lots of money. Property is less expensive, cost of living is lower (saleries could be reduced) plus other savings. Will this ever happen? NEVER! Just a dream.

          1. Michael Kollmorgen February 24, 2013

            Oh, I absolutely agree, it should govern from the middle. But, honestly, hehe, I doubt that’s going to happen for a long time.

            You know, moving the entire national capital to a centralized location isn’t that bad of an idea either. I like it. It was proposed in the 1800s I think.

            We do have a much weaker Federal Government than we had just 20 years ago. If you take into consideration all of the departments which lack proper funding, reducement of their enforcement powers, the federal government’s powers have been reduced quite a bit. The FBI is claiming they are lacking proper funding now a days. Even our Border Guards say they aren’t properly funded.

            All of these departments, EPA, FTA, FDA, an entire string of them, haven’t been properly funded since Obama took office the first time. To this day, many of these agency heads have not been confirmed.

            This is one of the Republicans’ agendas, weaken the federal government to the point where it nearly becomes null and void.

  3. tobewan February 23, 2013

    There is nothing “equal” about individuals that ignore the biological nature, purpose, and design of male and female anatomy, which is obviously meant for the propagation of the human race. Evolution could never develop the He and She intrigate anatomy of humans.
    Innate proof that humans were design from the beginning. Designed to mate to propagate.
    Two He’s together or She’s together is an abnormality, a disfunction, and a sabotage of that design. Homosexuals are not able to consumate a marriage, and have no place in the sacredness and sanctity of marriage. Laws should never be made t0 make that legal or sanctioned.
    What they do behind closed doors is their business, but its not part of the design and biological purpose of human marriage and the continuity of our race, which by their action denies.

    1. I Zheet M'Drawz February 24, 2013

      WHY is everyone so interested in what other people do in their bedrooms?

      If two people want to get legally bound to one another let them. It doesn’t hurt anyone.

    2. Angela Walker February 24, 2013

      So tell me, tobewan, should we forbid marriage between couples who don’t wish to have children? Is procreation the only or most important result of two people joining together? Your argument holds no water and makes no logical sense.

      1. whodatbob February 24, 2013

        Tobewan may have a point. If memory is not failing me a marrage is not leagle untill it is consumated. That said a marriage between two males or two females could not ever be complete. The rest of his post seem meaningless. Seems there are more important issues in need of the Presidents attention.

        1. Michael Kollmorgen February 24, 2013

          What you refer to is religious belief and enforcement of that belief through law.

          Marriage today is a government function, not a religious one. Try getting married today without a Marriage Licence. You can’t do it legally. In all 50 states, as far as I know, it is not a legal marriage in any church without a Marriage Licence being present first at the ceremony. This is why we don’t need a church to perform the marriage rite anymore.

          Another point, even if you could get married in a church without a marriage licence, all the benfits and responsibilities that come with the marriage, the state and federal government would not enforce.

          There have been couples who were married in church without a marriage licence. Years later it was found out they were not legally married all along. It made a hell of a mess with inheritance issues.

          Whoever performed those marriages should have know that it wasn’t a legal marriage in the eyes of the law.

          1. whodatbob February 24, 2013

            So my memory has failed again. What’s new? I am old and do not care what gay people do, it does not effect me. I do not think a person gets up one day and decides he wants to be gay, who would chose that life with all the baggage that goes with it. A more reasonable thought is people are born gay. For all of us who are religious if God created you gay, God will love you as He made you. It is not ours to judge.

          2. Michael Kollmorgen February 25, 2013

            I personally don’t believe there is god in any form that we THINK god is. And, I don’t believe man will ever know exactly what it is as long as we remain alive. All these priest, sages, ministers, seers, traveling snake-oil side-show hawkers are just speculating and feeding off everyone’s fears of the unknown.

            Yes, to some degree, these people have brought comfort to some. If you personally find solace within your belief, that’s great. I applaud you:)

            In the history of the world however, it has mostly brought pain, suffering, murder and mayhem on a massive scale. Factually, Religion in and of itself has caused more death than all the wars ever fought. In fact, most wars and civil wars were perpetrated on religious grounds in the past. Some still do today. Us against them, good versus evil, my religion is better than yours, my cause is more holy than yours therefore I am justified, on and on. Look at the Middle East, parts of Africa and parts of Asia, or even in Ireland just a few years ago. These are all perfect examples of how religion can be so dangerous and detrimental to all societies as a whole.

            Science can answer many questions, but this one, IS THERE A GOD, will be the ultimate mystery that will never been answered. All Religions do no better.

            If there is a god, and if what is said in the bible about god creating us is found to be true, that means he created every single one of us with all the problems, all the frailties, all the good and bad that is within us. This means he gave us the ability to be what we are, not what someone’s perceived belief (there are around a 100 different beliefs) of what some other human wants us to be – end of story.

            Personally, I would rather be judged by my fellow animal species. They make a lot more sense:)

            Yes, you are right, none of us are in the position to judge another. This is my general policy. I try not to judge anyone unless they first judge me or something really ticks me off. And, it takes a whole lot for me to do that. I won’t judge someone on their bedroom antics, who they love, or who they want to spend their life with.

            I can’t anyway, I’m a gay male, 63 years old and have been in a committed relationship with my companion for well over 15 years now. If I judge someone else and I unfortunately do on rare occasions, I lower myself down to the level of the common bigot. And, I try like hell not to be a bigot.

          3. whodatbob February 25, 2013

            Thanks for the thoughtful response. You are a youg man, only 63! I am a 70 year old man, well maybe less of a man then when my prime, married to the same lady for 45 years. I hope your relationship is as loving, carring and joyful as ours has been.

            I agree with your post. Religious wars, I have never understood how people of faith, or profess to be people of faith, can kill other people of faith because their beliefs or not in perfect alinment. Crazy!

            As for believing, I came to that crossroad early. My choice was to believe and stay with the Faith in which I was raised. Twelve years of Catholic schools, and a Catholic University. As a doubting Thomas since age 9 I heard what was being said and thought BS to a lot of it. If a Supreme Being exist and He/She is all living how can any soul be sent to hell.

            Have a Great Day!

          4. Michael Kollmorgen February 25, 2013

            Yes, you are right in many ways.

            I have to question any belief that says if you don’t believe what I say, you’re going to go to hell.

            It seems totally contradictory where a god would place feeling and beliefs counter to what he intended into people. He’s created a place called hell to send you IF you don’t obey, totally. This is the Archilies Hell of nearly all beliefs in one way or the other.

            Why would any god create beings that experience so much pain and suffering and ON PURPOSE? god as we think we know him is one perverted SOB, or better yet, the bulk of people who believe in it.

            George Carlin said it so much better; “Yet at the same time, he loves you”!

            Wow, 45 years married to the same woman! Congratulations and I wish you and your loved one long life:)


    3. Michael Kollmorgen February 24, 2013

      I’m not even going to give you the dignity of a reply. Consider this one and the only one.

    4. whodatbob February 24, 2013

      We are all equal in the eyes of God. And American law also states that we are all equal. Get off your high horse. Who are you to judge others?

      1. tobewan February 24, 2013

        No judgment cast, whodatbob & IZheet. In the past they were legally bound by a “Union” and was acceptable for them, and still ought to be. Their invasion into the marriage arrangement is a violation of marriage as given to us from the beginning. So they should continue in their unions. Marriage is a religious ceremony, and making laws to allow their corruption is an offense to all who hold “One man, One woman” as the basis for marriage. Sodomy (e.g. men with men working that which is unseemly) is an aberation to the original design and purpose, and violates the sanctity of marriage.


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