August 17, 2009
Having it Both Ways on Same-Sex Marriage?
The Department of Justice defended the Defense of Marriage Act again while claiming the law discriminates against gays, according to the Associated Press. "This administration does not support DOMA as a matter of policy, believes that it is discriminatory, and supports its repeal," government attorneys wrote. The DOJ asked the court to dismiss a lawsuit brought on by a gay couple who married in California last year.
"The administration believes the Defense of Marriage Act is discriminatory and should be repealed," said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, because it prevents equal rights and benefits.
The Justice Department, she added, is obligated "to defend federal statutes when they are challenged in court. The Justice Department cannot pick and choose which federal laws it will defend based on any one administration's policy preferences."
The law prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, permitting states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The White House issued the following statement by Obama.
"This brief makes clear, however, that my Administration believes that the Act is discriminatory and should be repealed by Congress. I have long held that DOMA prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and benefits. While we work with Congress to repeal DOMA, my Administration will continue to examine and implement measures that will help extend rights and benefits to LGBT couples under existing law."