On a quiet winter day a couple of weeks ago, something amazing happened. The United States under President Obama and his Justice Department decided not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act. And why you might ask? Well of course because, it is indefensible!
Marriage is perhaps best described as a free union between those who wish to declare their love for one another and promote that love into a spiritual or legal bond or both!
How could any just society defend a law that would prohibit love?
The Defense of Marriage Act, (DOMA) passed into law, September 1996 by the federal government defined marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. Under DOMA, no state (or other political subdivision within the United States) would be required to recognize as a marriage a same-sex relationship considered a marriage in another state.
After careful consideration, including a review of the recommendation of Eric Holder Attorney General of the United States, the President 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. The President also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases.
This is not the first time a president has decided not to defend an indefensible law or one that on its face is unconstitutional, but it is the first time a president has truly stepped out in front for the LGBT community and said the United States will not support and defend institutional discrimination against those of us who are married Gay and Lesbian. With DOMA unsupported and (DADT) Don’t Ask Don’t Tell eliminated we are on our way to full protection and equality under the law. Of course, we have not yet arrived. And there is plenty of work to be done. But given the full plate of issues on this President’s desk, I for one am very grateful he didn’t forget us. Our issues may have been back-seated, but they were never trunked and they damn well could have been!