US Reluctantly Defends Federal Ban on Gay Marriage Justice Department appeals judge's ruling that it's unconstitutional By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Jan 14, 2011 11:35 AM CST 25 comments Comments Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks at the Martin Luther King Jr. commemorative program, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011, at the Justice Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (Newser) – A Justice Department filing yesterday backed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The move appeals a federal judge’s ruling calling DOMA unconstitutional, TPM reports. But the administration asserted that it doesn’t support the act; the filing merely adhered to the executive branch’s traditional duty to defend laws it sees as constitutional, even if it disagrees with them politically. “Indeed, the President supports repeal of DOMA and has taken the position that Congress should extend federal benefits to individuals in same-sex marriages,” the Justice department noted in the appeal. But gay-rights advocates aren’t happy with the administration’s move, despite the caveat. “There are some improvements in tone in the brief, but the bottom line is the government continues to oppose full equality for its gay citizens,” notes one. Click for more reaction.